Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Institute on Aging's Parking Clout
Finding a legal parking spot for residents and visitors in the Civic Center neighborhood can be challenging, what with confusing signage, shortly timed meters, smash-and-grab thieves who break into car windows without any response from the police department, plus a cavalcade of events in the surrounding cultural institutions that can create a perfect parking storm.
This Sunday, there was a new wrinkle, when signage suddenly appeared on McAllister Street between Van Ness and Franklin Streets announcing that nobody was allowed to stop from 9AM to 4PM without any explanation.
It seems there was a 21st annual "Cable Car Caroling" fundraising party for the Institute on Aging being held for families in the Green Room at the Veterans Building (click here for more info on the event).
From what I could piece together, an Institute on Aging board member asked for a favor from a ranking friend at the police department who unilaterally decided to prohibit all parking on the block during the day on Sunday so that motorized cable cars would have a place to hang out before and after they took family groups to go caroling at various senior centers.
So, if you were hoping to arrive early on Sunday and snag a parking spot before going to the opera or the symphony that afternoon, forget it.
Or if you happened to live on the block and wanted to use a car that afternoon for grocery shopping, you could also forget it.
The Institute on Aging is a large nonprofit that grew out of the Goldman Institute on Aging that has set up shop in the inner Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco, and just torn down the Coronet Theatre in anticipation of building a huge senior housing and research center in a manner that has alienated most of their neighbors (click here for a 2006 Fog City Journal article about that kerfluffle). I've talked to the War Memorial administrators and to the p.r. people at the Institute of Aging, and none of them were even aware that this parking disaster was taking place, so let's just hope it was a momentary lapse on Sunday, because this kind of behavior is certainly not winning them any friends.
Update: I wrote earlier on this post that the The Institute on Aging was an offshoot of the infamous Buck Trust from Marin County, but I was misinformed and have updated the preceding paragraph. There is also a long comment from Cecily Peterson, Communications Director of the Institute on Aging, that takes issue with my characterization of what happened.