On the one hand, I am definitely in favor of promoting outdoor activities. I used to be a Sierra Club hike leader. It’s great that we have such a popular destination as Mission Peak.
On the other hand, the very heavy demand combined with the small parking lot hasresulted in significant impacts to the surrounding neighborhood. I’ve been there on weekends and seen the steady stream of people swarming the neighborhood from well before dawn to well after dusk in the summer. Also, the large number of hikers, especially those that are creating their own ad hoc paths, has caused a lot of damage to the park.
Using permit parking is not an ideal solution to the problem but it’s the only one that was a realistic short term option. I feel it’s a reasonable compromise. There will still be over 200 parking spaces available on the local neighborhood streets. People will still be able to come and hike. There will just be less spaces for people to park.
There is also an adequate alternative which is to use the Ohlone parking lot. I prefer this way to hike Mission Peak myself as it allows one to get a bit of shade and it’s not such a direct route up.
There are long term plans to build a 280 space parking lot right to the inside of the current entrance. An EIR was done for that last year. It was noted at our liasion meeting that the Final EIR has been delayed but is expected to be released some time this year.