Wednesday: A Conversation About Parking Woes in North Bernal


Amid all the highly energized conversations happening in Our Faire City about scarce housing, a growing population, a booming economyexclusionary zoning, and nativist resentment, it’s somewhat remarkable that there has been so relatively little anxiety expressed in recent years about street parking in Bernal Heights.

Apart from the usual tempo of passive aggressive parking note gems, the Bernalwood Public Sentiment Tracking System has not detected much recent change in the intensity of conversation about street parking — other than to say that the conversation is always somewhat intense. But beneath the surface, tensions have come to a boil. According to a new handbill circulating in North Bernal, the parkopalypse is here, and the time for an Urgent Conversation About Street Parking is now.

Tomorrow, June 24, at 7 pm in the Precita Neighborhood Center, an ad hoc group of Bernal neighbors will gather to commiserate about street parking and discuss what is to be done. If that sounds like your kind of thing, then this may be just the kind of thing for you.


Oh, and if you go, please report back here on the outcome.

PHOTO: Above, Neighbor Simon; below, Telstar Logistics

79 thoughts on “Wednesday: A Conversation About Parking Woes in North Bernal

  1. The neighborhood should also consider street cleaning. This would help move the cars that sit in the same spot for months at a time!

    • Street cleaning was proposed on Virginia Avenue a few years ago. Some protested and it was never implemented.

  2. Thanks. I’d like to attend but I cannot. For me, it’s time for parking permits in North Bernal. Too many people are leaving their cars for days on end. And that, coupled with more people/cars in general, is problematic to new levels of hassle. Please let us know how it went.

  3. I am hoping it won’t be a screaming match. I say it is time to decide-either you want permit parking or you don’t & then majority rules. It is long past time to make the decision, talks have been going on for years, it is time to act. If you live in North Bernal & you drive & you don’t have a garage you are screwed. We have become one of the last free range parking areas since we have no permit parking or street cleaning so cars just sit and sit and we are known as the perfect place to park your car all day or for a week with no restrictions. Many times I have had groups of people ask if this was a “safe” place to park because they are on their way to…..New York or wherever for a vacation!! When my now 29 yr old was young we couldn’t leave the house after 7pm so this has been a long term problem that is only getting worse.

  4. “If that sounds like your kind of thing, then this may be just kind of thing for you.”

    The best line of the post 🙂

  5. why is this just about bernal north? Sounds like all of bernal should be talked about

    • we would welcome other streets but we are starting at Shotwell/Mirabel and need a 1 mile radius of contiguous streets, not sure what block you are on but hopefully you can tag on to ours or start one where you are. it is a long, arduous process but we are ready to get the signatures.

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  7. owning a car is stressful, as is parking it. for some, owning a car is a choice, for others a necessity.

    nobody likes a lousy parking situation. not the car owners, not the non-car owners.

    i believe the streets belong to everyone who lives in the community, car owners and non-car owners. therefor, parking a car on a public street is privilege, not a right. and sometimes “free” privileges must go away and a “fair” solution is needed. quotations are there because the devil is in the details.

    if you find yourself at the meeting, please do not shout.

  8. I confess that when I used to live in the Mission 10 years ago, it was a relief to use north Bernal for long term parking.

    Now the Mission is even more cramped, and needs Bernal overflow parking more.

  9. I am leaving SF this Aug. (for many reasons other than skyrocketing rent and 75$ parking tickets). I’ve lived her just 2 years but I’d have to say that I see people and report on people that park here for weeks long vacations. I also see people use Bernal as a commuters parking lot. Where they park all day and take BART downtown. There is rarely parking even during the day because of this. I also have neighbors with 2-3 cars per household. It has been infuriating. I need my car for work related purposes. So I have to have one and I’d like to not have to park 4 blocks from my house after 30 mins of circling the block.
    I believe this side of Bernal needs 4 hour limit permit parking. That in my mind will solve the commuter/vacation parkers. Street cleaning won’t stop them. They will just go to the opposite side and screw us that live here even more.

    4 hour max parking limits is the only solution. IMHO.

    • That would mean I couldn’t take public transit, or my bicycle, to work, leaving my car at home for the duration of one work day.

      That makes no sense for a residential neighborhood. Maybe a commercial street. Maybe.

      • I think she means it would be a 4-hour limit unless you are a neighborhood resident with a neighborhood permit. In that case, the time limit would not apply.

  10. How about enforcing the laws against parking on the sidewalks and in crosswalks while we’re at it?

    • It seems it’s usually a “green” non-enforce because Teslas and other plug-in cars are often the ones blocking the sidewalks. If a family has two electrics and a one-car garage it’s a bit difficult, the power cord is a tripping hazard.

      Note everyone, there is a 72-hour parking limit in SF. You can call to get an abandoned auto stickered and then towed. So vacationers park at their own risk.

      Street cleaning will flush out the vacationers and some of the dailies. Now this is publicized, I doubt the situation will get better until RPP enforcement is approved. It may have to be Bernal-wide lest the issue migrate.

      Still in favor of the Eugenia funicular.

  11. If you have a garage and don’t park your cars in it because it’s filled with junk then you are part of the problem.

    • How’s that? I park my car in front of my garage. I don’t take any space that anybody else can legally park in. I don’t see how this makes me a “problem”.

      • that’s fine, but my neighbors get a ticket if they park in their driveway and often isn’t enough space to park parallel

      • There is no such thing as a “driveway”, only a sidewalk. And it’s illegal to block the sidewalk.

        So, if you can’t park parallel in front of your garage, then you can’t park there.

      • I believe the above is not 100% true. You can park in your driveway, potentially on some of the side walk, as long as the legally required sidewalk width (I think 6ft) is still clear.

      • A lot of people on my block do not use their garage for parking, luckily parking is not bad where I live on the Eastern Slope. However there are times when I need to park over a block away, if it’s late and or I have a bunch of stuff or the kids I will occasionally park in front of a garage I know is not used for parking. I heard and then confirmed with the DPW if a garage is not used for parking a vehicle the curb cut out is considered abandon. If you are not using your garage the spot in front of it is not exclusively yours anymore. If you get ticketed and know the garage is not used you have have DPW ask the resident to prove the garage can fit a vehicle. If it can not you can’t be ticketed.

        I have not been in a position where I have had to use this and I hope I never do… but fair is fair. My 100+ year old house was built without a garage.

        In an email from DPW;
        A driveway is considered abandoned if it can be shown that a vehicle, usually a car or truck, can’t be stored behind the property line.

      • No, fair would be for you to buy a house with a parking space if you expect to have one.

  12. It’s probably time for permits, they’re inexpensive and provide a good balance between residents and local businesses.

    Tangentially; while looking into this I also learned that the city’s 475,000 on-street spaces amount to a total length greater than California’s coastline. That’s a crazy visualization.

    • wow… hundreds of miles of parked cars… in one city… makes me see we have a collective mental problem.

      475,000 spaces x ~15ft each = 1,350 miles of parked cars

  13. Oh, and the city max four permits per address seems crazy. Two is fair, even generous. A separate issue, but…

  14. We would be supportive of permit parking as well. We recently had some construction (so couldn’t park in our garage) and had to travel FAR to find parking for our one car.

    • Yeah, I’d like to know what areas this meeting is discussing. I live half a block from where its taking place and so would probably stop in if its about my hood.

      I’m also all for parking permits, as long as they are dealt with sensibly. I have a garage and use it for my car, however if motorcycles count as one of the permits allowed for an address then we’d need at least three permits to be legal for our household (3 people, 2 cars and 2 motorcycles)

    • we are starting the process on Shotwell/Mirabel and need to get 250 signatures in a 1 mile contiguous area. Anyone who is further out can join in as long as it is contiguous. We were thinking Shotwell, Montuzuma,Mirabel, Bessie, Mancheter, Coso, Bonview, Coleridge, Powers, Lundys

  15. Yes, please, more NIMBYism! Let’s privatize this public resource to keep out those awful people who don’t live on the hill. Well, don’t live on the *right* side of the hill, anyway.

    If you want a guaranteed parking space, you should buy or rent one. Otherwise, take your chances with everyone else. Stacking the deck in your favor with what is essentially a free permit ($.30/day) is un-neighborly and unsporting.

    Everyone thinks they have a legitimate reason to use street parking, but doesn’t give others the benefit of the doubt. What if that car you just know has been left there by some craven outsider actually belongs to someone who lives a block or two over? Screw them, I guess. They should really make sure to introduce themselves to everyone within a five-block radius.

    There is already a law in place to address the issue of cars long-term street parked. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the 72-hour rule, yes?

    These parking permits don’t solve parking issues, they just push them a few blocks over so they’re someone else’s problem. We need only see the list of grievances on the flyer for proof of this.

    • that is the problem— it has been pushed to our problem because every other neighborhood has restrictions. I wish it hadn’t come to this, but it has and we need to address it.

      • You can address by not expecting the city to provide a free parking space for your car or motorcycle.

      • To Brandon below — street parking is a good thing. Parked cars provide a safety buffer from traffic, protecting both pedestrians and homes. Asking residents who use the street parking near their homes for a few dollars to do so seems very reasonable, and has the positive side effect of discouraging superfluous car ownership.

      • I have no objection to street parking. I have an objection to the notion that anyone has a right to the street parking near his or her home. Parking permits, as seems to be clear from the comments above, are readily available, so they do nothing to discourage “superfluous” car ownership. (And who gets to decide whose car ownership is superfluous?) To do that, you’d need to sell only as many permits as there are spaces and at a price such that demand and supply were in equilibrium. I suspect there aren’t many takers for that round these parts, though.

        The proposed parking permits merely serve to reduce competition for parking from people who don’t live here but have perfectly valid reasons to park here during the day.

    • that is where I am and I am bringing The sign up sheets to the meeting in hopes of getting someone on each block to take and get signatures on their block. Hopefully I will get enough people to cover the area we want to start with which is a 1 mile radius contiguous to Shotwell/Mirabel.

  16. I was always totally opposed to permit parking, but I’m on board now. So many people leave their cars here and go on vacation and whatnot. If we get home after 5:30 that means a long time circling around trying to find parking. Enough is enough.

  17. I own 7 vehicles just because i feel like it and i park my cars in the garage on the street and sometimes far but im not going to die for walking home …. i swear all these dumb new people who compleain about everything get a hobbie walk a few blocks who cares its STREET parking

    • well, what if every house had 7 cars? where the hell would we all park them?? Sometimes you have to think of others. I have lived here for 35 yrs and “I am not a dumb new person complaining about everything”. Please refrain from being insulting.

  18. If you are against permitted parking, you can also have a petition for signatures against it. Getting a permit does not mean you get a space if just means you’re paying the city for competing against your neighbors for a space.

  19. PARKING IS LIKE THIS: Any registered vehicle (California or elsewhere) may park at the curb for up to 72 hours. It doesn’t matter if they live in the neighborhood or they live in Oakland or wherever. If you want to be sure that you always have a parking space, rent one from someone. SF has been a “transit first” city for over 40 years. One thing this means is that a builder is not obligated to build one parking space per unit anymore. The emphasis is on doing things to make other forms of transit more desirable, such as by building bike parking spaces in buildings, etc.

  20. OH…ONE MORE THING: Thank your lucky stars you don’t live in cities such as San Marino or Studio City where parking is not allowed on any city street!

  21. Some folks in Bernal have a sense of ownership for the curb in front of their house. We didn’t realize how cruel some people are in this neighborhood. My wife and I are already strapped and went on a 5 day vacation. We were towed and left with a 600.00 + fee because the home owner decided to invoke the 72 hour rule. They could have simply left us a warning note. There is a huge sense of entitlement going on around here and especially in the bricked area of Winfield. Another time I actually had a guy come out and tell me not to park my scooter in front of his house. Another time some other neighbor told me how to park correctly so the home owner could block her driveway properly… Wow people! We all have to deal with the parking woes. Please stop making it worse and drop your “I own the street” stance.

    • ” Another time some other neighbor told me how to park correctly so the home owner could block her driveway properly”

      You had a problem with that? why?

      • I was in the process of taking my infant child out of the back seat of the car. Would you really ask a parent to move their car back two feet if you saw that Ken? I like how you took that out of context of my whole entitled parking point as well. You would do well as a politician. Any other granular items you would like to pick apart from the whole argument?

      • You gave three anecdotes. I questioned one. Now that you’ve explained the full context of what occurred there, no, of course I would not ask that.

        When you say, “out of context,” that is not what happened. You had not explained the context. I took what you actually wrote, and questioned it.

        I would do well as a politician? Other granular items? Please. I quoted the entirety of the anecdote. There was nothing granular there. You wrote what you wrote. Nobody is a mind reader.

        And now that you’ve said some jerky stuff to me? Tough luck, dummy. Don’t park your car for five freaking days in a row. It’s against the law.

      • Thanks Ken. You gave me my first big chuckle of the day.

        Are you 14 or 40. Hard to tell. Nice debate tactics. I’ll be sure to write you in for 2016. I was looking for a little healthy debate and ran into Bernals only cave dwelling citizen. Save it for the pulpit troll.

  22. Debate, now. Heh. A “healthy debate” you say. One where a guy who quotes you, verbatim, and asks a flat question? and you respond with aggro characterizing words based solely upon your own navel gazing, misused words “granular,” “pulpit,” “context” (where it was you who left out the freakin context, hotshot) even “debate.” Let alone “politician.”

    Whatever, dude. You want a back and forth, for real? OK. You lied about the five days thing.

    Here’s the rule:

    You were gone at least a week. What, they called on you, on day one? Nobody does that. It takes two days to get them out, they mark your tires with yellow chalk, then you have three days to react. That’s five. Naaah. You were gone a week plus, scofflaw. Bad job by you.

    • You can’t assume that. I’ve had my car’s tires chalked a couple of hours after parking. If there’s some busybody neighbor “protecting” the block from outsiders, the car absolutely could be towed in five days.

      • It usually takes AT LEAST a week for a car to be towed and usually the person is back from his/her trip by then and off they go. I know this because I have called on many a car & always for legitimate reasons i.e parked over 72 hrs. and I have rarely seen them actually towed. Plus if you have a good relationship with your neighbors you tell them if you will be gone & I have personally moved neighbors cars for them. We all need to abide by the rules. If you have a problem with a “nosy” neighbor- talk to them and don’t leave your car parked for 5 days and not expect your car to be marked.

      • Fair enough. It could theoretically take five days if someone calls right away, and DPT does everything like clockwork, and the hours of the days in question align. So again, dude is stretching the truth. And he’s a dick, or at least plays on on the internet, so whatever.

      • I don’t tow my neighbors, actually. So there’s another bullshit thing you’re trying to hang on me. Why can’t you write about the things that are being said? You know, without inserting your own ideas into everything? in a hostile way? so weird the way some people are on these here internets.

        No, bro. If I recognize the car I leave a note. After four, five days. A note. But I did just go on the website to blow the whistle on this van that’s been in front of our place for 10 days, yes.

        Would that seem OK to you? 10 days? Because it’s a fact that we have been having car break ins around here, and a car left derelict for a week and a half attracts bad actors.

        Now I’m done. Go on ahead and insert/deflect yourself deep within your own inner space in peace.

  23. I went to the meeting and it was very informative. We had 2 reps from MTA explain the process of permit parking. There were about 50 people attending and the great majority were on board. We are waiting on MTA to streamline the online process which they said should be within weeks and then we are going to get the signatures which is the beginning of the process. I will be sure that when we have more info it will be posted.
    P.S. there was no snarkyness or yelling

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