The 8th Street Under-freeway Parking Lot was discussed at the ANC 6B meeting last week.
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DDOT parking manager Damon Harvey was there to discuss the lot’s future. My friend Lance was in attendance and gave me the scoop.
The lot is currently occupied by the Marines residing at the 8th and I Marine Corps Barracks, under a memorandum of understanding with the District. According to Mr. Harvey, the memorandum is expiring and the Marines are not interested in renegotiation. The ANC discussed what to do with the parking lot once the Marines are no longer parking there.
Mr. Harvey proposed leaving the fence around the lot, because (1) the fence was of a higher quality than he would be able to build if the fence were removed and then the community later wanted to fence the lot off, and (2) he believed that a fenced lot would be more secure than an unfenced lot.
In the end, the ANC resolved to take the fence down. Some of the arguments were that the fence is detrimental to the appearance of the community, that people inside the fence might feel trapped, and that a fence to protect cars makes the neighborhood look more dangerous than it actually is.
Mr. Damon stated that the proposed use of the lot is market-based pricing using either adjustable stick meters or multi-space meters. In response to a question from a community member about whether the time limits would be longer than on the 8th Street retail corridor, Mr. Damon stated that the time limit would be at least 2 hours and at most 4 hours because "he doesn’t want commuters parking there".
I disagree. I think that time limits shorter than 24 hours are inappropriate for this lot. That way, employees of the 8th Street restaurants would be encouraged to park there as opposed to trying to constantly shift cars around in the local resident permit areas or on 8th Street itself. Redwood City actually sells permits for employees to park at meters in their garages in order to entice them out of the convenient curb spaces. As long as the District is getting a fair price for the use of a parking space, why not allow all-day parking?
The fate of the adjacent lot off of 7th Street wasn’t clear. Mr. Harvey mentioned that this would be done one piece at a time, because "people fear big changes". I think people would have little to fear from a change from no parking to paid parking. It’s more options for people working at, visiting or living in the Barracks Row area.