Merchants along Polk Street are meeting March 18th to discuss their concerns about SFMTA’s “Save Polk Street” Project. SFMTA has drafted proposals to reduce Polk Streets parking spaces by more than 50% in an effort to decrease the number of collisions on the street. 53 pedestrian and 69 bicycle collisions occurred on Polk Street between Union and McAllister streets from April 2006 to March 2011. The significant decrease in parking spaces will create a safer path for cyclists on one of their busiest commuting streets.
A couple of different changes have been proposed (all eliminating parking) and it is expected that one plan will be implemented by 2015. In order to see the short-term effects on businesses there will be a temporary trial run on a few blocks during the America’s Cup this summer.
Polk Street merchants are more than a little worried about the affect of the changes on their businesses. “It’s going to kill business,” said 90-year-old Rita Paoli, owner of City Discount, a kitchen supply store at 1542 Polk St. “Go pick up a few dishes. Just weigh them. You try and carry them.” However, advocates of the change have cited numerous studies in San Francisco and New York City in which similar renovations have actually helped businesses.
Meeting: Concerns about ‘Save Polk Street’
Who: Polk Street Merchants
Where: It’s A Grind coffee shop on Polk and Washington streets
When: 6:30 p.m. March 18