Hastings College looks to build a large parking garage in the Tenderloin. Residents, Housing Advocates, and even Hastings students condemn the school for not looking to the neighborhood when making these choices.
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THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Hastings Is Fighting the Tenderloin and Some of Its Own Students Over Two of San Francisco’s Hottest Issues: Parking and Housing
Hastings College of the Law students sipped brews at a school kegger on the terrace of Snodgrass Hall as college security guards gave the bum’s rush to a homeless man trying to mount the terrace steps to join the party.
“It was shocking to me,” said Nina Rowland, a second-year student who witnessed the episode last year. “And I saw how the school real-ly separates us from the community.”
Rowland belongs to a cadre of students and alumni who contend Hastings is likewise cold-shouldering a neighborhood outcry against the school’s plan to build a seven-story, 863-stall parking garage on the southeast corner of Larkin Street and Golden Gate Avenue.
The opponents’ slogan: “Homes for people, not for cars.”
College administrators insist they are sensitive to the local populace and haven’t ruled out an alternative design offered by a coalition trying to derail the garage project.
“We do want to be good neighbors,” said Hastings Dean and Chancellor Mary Kay Kane.
The anti-garage coalition was put together by Hastings graduate Randy Shaw, of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic.
State Sen. John Burton, D-San Francisco, has asked the school to extend a period for public comment on the plan, according to Shaw and to Hastings officials. “It’s his district and he’s interested,” one administrator said.
Shaw hopes the Senate’s powerful president pro tem will step in as he did earlier this year on the side of residents in his own Potrero Hill neighborhood who objected to the size of a planned 17 story student dorm at UC San Francisco’s new Mission Bay Campus. At Burton’s insistence, the building’s size was reduced, according to published reports.
Burton, whose San Francisco office is in the state building across Larkin Street from Hastings’ proposed garage, did not return calls seeking comment.
The garage dispute lies at the intersection of familiar San Francisco emotional fault lines involving economic inequality, affordable housing and the challenge of finding a place to park.
The rude reality is that Hastings’ 1,207 students pay as much as $20,353 a year for their education in an urban enclave where residents’ median annual income is about $10,000, according to Shaw.
It’s a classic town vs. gown rumble replayed on inner city streets where the act of parking itself can be a provocation.
“Space for 800-some cars would lessen places for the less privileged to stay,” said Josh Kaufman, a homeless man who spoke at a March 6 environmental impact hearing on the garage proposal.
XING XIANG ZHOU/Daily Journal
RANDY SHAW – “Hastings owes the Tenderloin 85 (housing) units,” says the director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, a Hastings graduate himself,