Muni’s Impact on Small Business
From transit-only lanes to the loss of parking spaces, neighborhood activists have been using the Commission as a venue to criticize San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for projects that they say put small business in jeopardy. This meeting was no different.Staffpeople from various departments within the SFMTA gave presentations on a variety of topics, including the agency’s public outreach—focusing on small businesses—the residential parking permit program, capital projects and improvement projects on Lombard and Mission streets.
Neighborhood activists attended the meeting to speak during publicly on all items. They represented commercial corridors on which SFMTA has ongoing or recently-completed projects including Mission Street, Geary Boulevard, Lombard Street and Taraval Street.
Safety was consistently cited by SFMTA staff as the reason behind all their improvement projects to heavily-used corridors.
The criticisms of those who commented on each item centered largely on the agency’s re-engineering of streets to accommodate transit, bicycles and pedestrians over private automobiles, leading to reduced auto traffic along commercial corridors and an attendant loss of parking spaces.
Bob Starzel, a representative with the Greater Geary Merchants and Property Owners Association, laid out the small business perspective of transit changes as a counterpoint to the City’s Transit First policy approach.
“If we took [SFMTA’s] numbers, and they were right, and only 30 percent of people drive, think to yourself what it means to your business if now some good proportion of that 30 percent is not gonna come to do business with you,” Starzel said. “What that means is your profit margin is hurt.”
SFMTA staff will continue appearing before the Commission to address how their projects and programs affect small business for the next few months.
When the Small Business Commission heard the latest parking scheme from the SFMTA’s SFPark department, and the reaction was not what the presenters expected. Watch the reaction here of the Commissioners – Item 7 http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=45&clip_id=25585