Proposal would reduce Polk Street parking spots

March 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A controversial proposal to reduce parking on San Francisco's Polk Street has spawned a recall effort of Supervisor David Chiu even though he's not the one behind the plan. The Municipal Transportation Agency wants to eliminate parking on a 20-block stretch of Polk Street from McAllister Street to Union Street.

Fadi Berbery has been in business for 18 years. His smoke signals shop carries a more and more rare commodity -- print publications, 2,000 of them. It's on the busy stretch of Polk Street where the SFMTA is thinking of doing a complete street makeover, which could include eliminating some of the metered parking.

"I remember I was shocked when I learned they're planning to remove parking," Berbery said. "What are they thinking?"

What the SFMTA is thinking is taking advantage a planned major re-paving project to make the street safer for all who use it through some combination of lane widening, bike lanes, and parklets. That would require a reduction in metered parking spaces.

"Each proposal has a different amount of parking loss, or bike lanes," SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said. "Right now they're just proposals. We want to listen to the community, get it right before move forward with that."

Sherri Ziesche's Beauty Company is a full-service salon on Polk. She says she's all for making the street slower, greener, safer and more beautiful; she just wants the parking to stay.

"I'm totally adamant about not removing any parking," Ziesche said.

Bow Wow Meow owner Mitchell Bearg wants to pursue other ways of achieving the city's goal.

"We'd like to sit down with SFMTA and Supervisor Chiu and some up with alternative plans that are more acceptable to residents and merchants of the neighborhood," Bearg said.

"The removal of parking is always controversial," Chiu said. "We havecertainly heard from merchants and other residents on those issues and those concerns and I know that feedback will be taken into account with what the SFMTA is considering."

Chiu is the supervisor for District 3, which includes Polk Street. He says he has not yet decided if he will support the proposal.

A community meeting is being held Monday evening to address the issue.