SFMTA Sinks to new low, shows true colors

OpEd

SFMTA Uses Homeless a Bait to convince Showplace Square merchant that they will get some relief from homeless if they accept parking meters in the area.

Last Friday I attended my first meeting at a Sustainable Streets hearing. There hearings used to be called Engineering hearings and they were the last resort to stop an action by the SFMTA, or try to mitigate a detail of a project, by convincing one of the engineers the idea was not viable.

Now the meetings appear to be part of the public comments process used to assess the public attitude about a plan. If no one objects, it goes to the SFMTA Board with a recommendation. If there are objections, the objections are noted.

Some of use found this meeting about the parking plan for Showplace square in poor taste due to the large number of complaints about the homeless problem around Showplace Square. It is not immediately obvious what homeless residents living in cars and over-sized vehicles have to do with parking meters, but, the SFMTA seems to be using them as bait. The merchants were told that the only way parking restrictions would be enforced was if they accepted parking meters in the neighborhood.

As most citizens are painfully aware there are a lot of homeless people living on the streets, sleeping on the sidewalks, setting up tent cities. The fortunate ones have a cars or  over-sized vehicles. What this has to do with parking enforcement, when the police ignore the situation, is hard to fathom, but, it appears that the SFMTA has convinced some people they can do what the police cannot, and remove them from the area. Presumably the will ticket and tow vehicles, forcing the undesirables to leave that neighborhood for good, or force them to sleep on the sidewalk or pitch their tents where their cars used to be before they were towed.

As many complaints were already filed with the police, it seems unlikely the sidewalks can be cleared by the SFMTA, but maybe they can free up some parking spots for them if they chase the cars out. Hopefully SFMTA will not fill in the parking spots they clear bulbouts or parklets right away. That can come later. We have noticed a lot of parking spots on 16th Street marked for removal, so the actual total of new spots could be minimal at best, as the SFMTA prepares to clear lanes for the BRT on 16th Street.

The merchants of Showplace Square, once home to a thriving interior design and supply scene, may soon find themselves forced out of their neighborhood, due to the designs the Mayor and his developer friends have on that land. It is much too valuable to leave to the merchants when hundreds of units of market rate housing with retail on the ground floor can be built on that property. Or handed over to the banks to add to their treasure chest of enticing properties. See “Your Rent Check” for details on the derivatives market being created now that may burst the next bubble.

 

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