SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The SFMTA has oversight over San Francisco streets and parking. This week, the agency’s board of directors found themselves making a difficult decision affecting homelessness.
The board voted to decide whether it wants to put restrictions on an area where more than 100 unhoused people are living in vehicles.
The board voted to add a four-hour parking limit on two roads near Lake Merced and San Francisco State University. That seems like a simple change, but it’s happening where people are living in RVs and cars along the road.
The board wants to give some time before the four hours is enforced.
Winston Drive and Buckingham Way in San Fransisco run just north of SFSU. According to Supervisor Myrna Melgar, more than 100 parked RVs and cars along the road have created issues for years.
From the disposal of sewage in public places to the use of generators on dry grass.
“We can not do no enforcement and pretend like we’re doing something good for this community when we’re really not,” Melgar said.
The supervisor took her concerns to the SFMTA board of directors on Tuesday — asking them to approve a plan put forth by SFMTA Director Tom Maguire.
The plan will create a four-hour parking limit along the roadways from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. That is a plan some residents support.
“Since these RV’s came, there’s been destruction of my cars, I’ve been run over, I’ve been hit by a car,” said San Francisco resident Mike Kissinger.
The majority of public comments were made by those against the parking changes, including from Jennifer Friedenbach who is the Executive Director of the Coalition On Homeless.
“What’s on your shoulders is a decision whether or not to evict 120 households,” Friedenbach said. “That’s what you are decision today.”
SFMTA board members not taking that decision lightly.
Emily Cohen, who is with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, was asked what the city is doing to find a safe parking site for those living in RVs and cars near Lake Merced.
According to Cohen, the city has identified one possible option.
“It could take several months to get a safe parking program up and running,” Cohen said.
After several hours of presentations, public comment and questions, the SMFTA Board of Directors voted to approve the four-hour parking limit, but with the amendment that it not be implemented until December.
Board member Manny Yekutiel says the three months should be plenty of time for the Department of Homeless and Supportive Housing to find and open a safe parking site.
“We want to do what’s best for as many people as possible and I think what you saw on Tuesday night was we are just trying to bring the humanity of this these decisions. We understand when we make these decisions that real human beings are affected by them, which is why we delayed it three months,” Yekutiel said.
Supervisor Melgar says changes to the roadways are especially urgent because since RVs have moved into the area, there have been two traffic-related deaths. One was a cyclist and the other a pedestrian.