SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— About 300 people attended a community meeting Monday night where a San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency director tried to quell public grumbling over a plan to remove 20 blocks of parking along Polk Street in order to install bike lanes.

The debate is far from over and the outcry is getting louder from residents and business owners alike in the Mid-Polk Street neighborhood.

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The plan would take out street parking along a 1.3-mile stretch from City Hall to Union Street. When SFMTA Transportation Director Ed Reiskin threw out a possible number of spaces eliminated, an uproar of boos ensued.

“The biggest proposed parking loss would be something like 170 spaces or 200 spaces. Just answering the question,” he said.

According to city officials, the Mid-Polk area has a high rate of car versus bike and car versus pedestrian accidents.

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“What we’re aiming to do is to try to help make a great street even better and improve the transportation for everybody who uses it,” Reiskin added.

Merchants worry about driving away shoppers while residents complain of making it too easy for people use their cars.

The public had an opportunity to speak at the meeting and made points about climate change and the fact that there are more cars in the city than spaces available. Some added that the cars aren’t going away.

The MTA suggested a possible trial run of the no street parking in the designated area during the two to three weeks of the America’s Cup. Any permanent changes can be made when the street is re-paved in 2015.

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