MARINA COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
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The Marina Community Association recently held its first board of directors meeting of 2011. As we poured through the agenda, we were struck by the number of issues that are currently affecting our neighborhood. It’s a challenge for us to keep up with the numerous committee meetings, commission hearings, public comment periods, and other assorted opportunities for civic involvement. But if it’s difficult for an 11-member board of directors, it must be almost impossible for individual residents of the Marina.

In the past, the MCA has used this column to delve more deeply into a single issue of concern, and has relied on other communications – website, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – to keep our members abreast of current events. This month we felt it might be worthwhile to try a change in format by touching on all of the issues that you may or may not know about, but which will affect life in the Marina District.

• Presidio Trust: The Presidio Trust recently finalized a programmatic agreement (PA) outlining plans to revitalize the Main Post of the Presidio and included a lot of neighborhood input. The PA no longer includes plans for a contemporary art museum, but it still retains scaled back plans for a lodge.

• King Edward II Inn: The King Edward II Inn has been sold to the Community Housing Partnership (CHP) with the backing and financial support of the Mayor’s Office of Housing. The plan is to convert the inn to housing for “at risk” young adults. One significant point of contention between project sponsors and the neighborhood is the need to rezone the parcel to accommodate substantially more residents than would be permitted under existing city planning codes.

• Yacht harbor: The renovation of the Marina Yacht Harbor is proceeding, now at a breakneck pace in anticipation of the America’s Cup sailing race. A last-minute change in the plans included a floating breakwater anchored well outside the harbor in front of the Marina Green, creating a potential visual impediment to the waterfront.

• Parking and traffic: You might have noticed the impressive new parking meters along Chestnut Street (did they really have to include flashing lights?). These, along with those little white boxes buried under each parking spot, are part of a variable pricing parking study being conducted by SFMTA. By studying parking patterns along neighborhood business districts, SFMTA will determine how to vary parking rates to moderate demand. And those little white boxes? They tell SFMTA whenever a parking space is occupied, vacant or “in transition.” On a side note, the system will also allow them to cite cars for exceeding the two-hour limit, even if you put more money in the meter.

• Busses: There have been numerous complaints about busses violating the bus restrictions that are posted for most of the residential streets in the Marina and Cow Hollow. Some are tour busses or “bar crawl” events, but a majority of the violators appear to be corporate shuttle busses creating ad hoc bus stops to shuttle employees to offices on the peninsula.

• Muni E-Line: Plans continue to move forward to extend the historic E-Line through the tunnel under Fort Mason, despite the general opposition of the neighborhood and the enormous cost. While an extension to Fort Mason may only be a mild nuisance, buried in the fine print are plans to extend it to the Presidio through the neighborhood – possibly along Cervantes Street, Bay Street, Marina Boulevard, or even Alhambra/Francisco Street.

• Exploratorium parking: One downside to the accelerated plans for rebuilding Doyle Drive is the negative impact on the Exploratorium. (In a related matter, the Exploratorium will be relocating to the waterfront near Fisherman’s Wharf in the future.) The Exploratorium will lose most of their parking lot for roadway construction, pushing their customers to other locations. Plans have already been approved to move some bus parking into the Presidio and auto parking to the Marina Green near the yacht clubs, but there is still concern over the future of the “Richardson Triangle,” an area that serves as a landscaped traffic buffer but which might be converted to additional parking.

• Gravity: Many of you have heard about the shooting incident several months ago at Gravity, a club on Scott Street between Chestnut and Lombard. Since then – plans were already underway before the incident – the facility was sold to new owners who so far have plans only to operate it as a bar rather than a nightclub. However, there is still some trepidation in the neighborhood about the appropriateness of entertainment permits.

There is more, but like our last board of directors meeting, the number of issues exceeds the allowable space. You can get more information at the MCA website at www.sfmca.org, and if you are a resident of the neighborhood, consider joining as an active member. You can also contact the MCA via e-mail at info@sfmca.org.

John Millar is president of the Marina Community Association. You are eligible to join the MCA if you are over 18 and a resident or owner of a dwelling within the Marina. Visit www.sfmca.org for more information.