South City proposes residential permit parking with BARTBy Michael Flaherty
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO
As the BART-SFO extension project nears completion, businesses and communities surrounding South City's new BART station are bracing for a commuter invasion.
With an estimated 15,000 people per day traveling in and out of the station, parking spots will be at a premium in the thousand-space garage. Furthermore, with BART pondering a $1 or $2 per day parking fee, residents fear that the extra cost offers commuters further incentive to cruise neighborhood streets and lots looking for free spaces.
"The issue is not 'do we need parking permits?' The issue is 'how far does the permit perimeter extend?'" asked South City Police Sergeant Mike Brosnan.
In an effort to keep outsiders from hogging spots, the Police Department will present at this week's City Council meeting a restricted parking policy for neighborhoods located near BART's new station. South City's existing restricted parking policy focuses only on the downtown area.
Based on prior studies, the city anticipates a quarter mile permit radius surrounding the new BART station, located at El Camino Real and McLellan Drive. But the higher the parking price, the more commuters are willing to walk the extra mile, according to the police department.
"We might have to increase the radius," said Sergeant Mike Newell, of plans to possibly double the size of the permit boundary. The neighborhoods most affected by commuter influx will be Sunshine Gardens and Buri Buri.
Although not yet formalized, the permitting process may involve the city offering a sticker for every vehicle registered to the address within the quarter mile, or half-mile boundary. For vehicles without a permit, signs will indicate a two or four hour parking limitation.
"If you're a commuter, that won't work for you," said City Manager Mike Wilson. The city has not determined what the penalty will be for cars violating the new parking rules.
El Camino High School, Costco and Kaiser Permanente are also vulnerable to zealous commuters. The large parking lots around these buildings will be irresistible to BART goers when the station opens in January 2003.
"We do have parking issues and it is a concern of ours," said Kaiser's public affairs officer Steve Wahl, who called the estimated amount of daily passengers at the new BART station, "big numbers."
The South City Police Department held one meeting and plans to hold another regarding parking concerns in the communities surrounding BART. Wilson mentioned that there are residents on the periphery who do not want parking restrictions on their streets.
"If we don't need it, why have it?" noted Wilson of some of the feedback he has received.
Copyright ©2002 Independent Newspapers. Published 08/10/2002.