Mission moves upscale with valet parking

No, there aren’t white tablecloths in taquerias just yet. But a host of new, fancy restaurants have slid into the once-gritty Mission, with no slowing in sight.

When more bars and restaurants pop up in an already-crowded ‘hood, a tough parking situation becomes a flat-out nightmare. That’s why many of the new swanky joints — and even some of the old swanky joints — are offering valet parking to their patrons.

While some lots for valet parking are available in the area, there’s just not enough. At the current pace of growth, more will be needed.

A parking lot at Builders Exchange on South Van Ness near 20th Street is awaiting approval for just that. The lot, which can hold 50 vehicles, will be the next valet lot in the Mission, if approved.

Pending approval, a parking company would run the lot from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., thereby alleviating parking issues for the growing restaurant business in the Mission. The plan would also keep a few designated spots for car sharing companies.

But of course, not everybody is content about the valet parking trend. Bicyclists — no doubt a powerful faction in the Mission — are none to happy with cars lined up blocking their lane.

Ryen Monzet, co-owner of Pristine Parking, currently handles valet for Foreign Cinema, Andalu and Locanda. A bicyclist himself, his company got some unwanted negative attention after a Mission Mission posting in November about a blocked bike lane in front of Locanda.

The comment thread inspired a spate of negative reviews to his Yelp page — since removed — but illustrate online complaints to SFMTA regarding the bike lanes being blocked. He told Mission Local he wished bicyclists would contact him directly. He’s aware of the safety issues and is taking measures, including hiring more people, to address the issue.