Supes Delay Action on Motion to Reject MTA Budget

avalos_today.jpgSupervisor Avalos on parking enforcement: "The more I think about how we need to do what’s best for the environment and what’s best for riders my position has changed."

The Board of Supervisors will try again on an MTA budget, voting 7-4 this afternoon to delay a motion to reject it. Instead, they’ll hold a special meeting Wednesday, May 27th, at noon.

The delay, requested by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, came after Supervisor Sophie Maxwell indicated a change of heart on parking. Maxwell, considered a swing vote on the rejection motion, had previously indicated she was against adding Sunday and evening parking enforcement, measures Supervisor John Avalos, some of his colleagues and transit advocates have demanded be put back in the budget to more equitably balance it between drivers and Muni riders.

“I too have come to a different feeling about parking. I mean, I was one who said I don’t know about Sundays and I don’t know about 10 [p.m.] but I am reconsidering and I think a lot of other people could too, so I think it’s something that should really be put on the table.”

Maxwell asked MTA Chief Nat Ford how soon an MTA study on parking would take. As part of a "compromise" reached with Board President David Chiu last week, Ford agreed to study increasing parking enforcement downtown from 6 to 8 p.m. Advocates, however, have proposed that Ford’s original plan to enforce parking until 10 p.m. be added back in.

“My concern is that without pressure maybe the discussion won’t happen because the parking issues are something that we need to look at and I want to look at it sooner rather than later," said Maxwell.

Ford indicated that more parking measures will be studied and brought before the MTA Board, especially in light of the fact that the agency is now facing an additional $13 million gap, due to the recent rejection of an SEIU contract and more state budget impacts.

While not giving a specific time line, Ford responded: “It will be something that we’re looking at very quickly.”  He had earlier indicated additional parking measures would not be added without consultation with the MTA Board and the Mayor’s office, which is opposed to adding more parking revenue in the budget.

Maxwell’s comments came after Avalos, who told Streetsblog San Francisco he gets around mostly by car but occasionally rides Muni and his bicycle, said he believes "times have changed" on parking enforcement.

"I think that there’s a different feeling on moving forward on revenue from parking that didn’t exist before. We have the Chamber of Commerce, which is actually supportive of Sunday and evening parking metering and enforcement," Avalos said. "I would say that my opinion has evolved as well. I actually saw some of these things as the third rail, which would never fly, but the more I think about how we need to do what’s best for the environment and what’s best for riders my position has changed and I think other colleagues have as well."

Supervisors Bevan Dufty, Carmen Chu, Michela Alioto-Pier and Sean Elsbernd voted against delaying the rejection motion.

Said Dufty: "Given the lack of investment that this city has made in its own transportation infrastructure over many years and many politicians using Muni as a whipping post to gain and score political points the reality is in this country there has never been the type of investment that we’ve seen in European countries.”

Chiu, meantime, responding to a question from Elsbernd, seemed to indicate support for his colleagues trying to force more changes in the MTA budget.

Elsbernd to Chiu: “We have four members of the Board who have already articulated they’re supporting the budget. Supervisor Maxwell has indicated she is interested. This is only worth doing if you are interested in reopening this budget. You said you wanted to table the budget based on the compromise last week. Supervisor Maxwell said she’s open to changing. If you are not interested the votes will not be there, we do not need to go through this exercise of scheduling a meeting."

Chiu responded: "I will tell you at this time I still think there is a lot of room for us to talk about where we can move things forward and like Supervisor Maxwell I do think there is additional information we can get from Mr. Ford to illuminate this and hopefully get us to a budget that we do not have to reject."

  • Josh

    I just got back from Pasadena, where meters run until midnight.

  • marcos

    Elsbernd should know that when one side doesn’t keep up with its end of a bargain, the deal is off. Didn’t the Mayor neglect to provide a MOU between the MTA and the SFPD within 24 hours as promised. Indeed, one week has elapsed and still no signs of a MOU.

    Why should Chiu be expected to keep to a deal when the Mayor did not? One might conclude from this that the Mayor had no intention of keeping his end of the deal and was waiting to run out the clock.

    The Board should simply dispense with the SFPD work order nonsense and use those millions to keep fares down by $0.25.

    -marc

  • Meters at night would certainly give me an incentive to take Muni. Even though I tend to be incredibly cheap when it comes to parking, I wouldn’t necessarily mind paying the rate, but so many meters are only 1 hour which isn’t nearly enough time for dining, seeing a show, etc. If they want to rake in the big bucks on evening parking, they’ve got to give people the option to put three or four hours of time on the meter.

  • David Schneider

    Perhaps there is some movement in the right direction spearheaded by Supervisor Avalos and others, but you could get real sick if a doctor gave you an improper dosage. Perhaps all this parliamentary maneuvering is a bargaining chip, but the danger is fares still go up and services get cut . . . a formula worthy of G.H.W. Bush’s kinder, gentler America or hyper capitalism soft.

    Since there may be local bus funding, including including operating expenses from the DOT, and since it’s possible for Pelosi to introduce an omnibus public transit bailout bill, do you think our sometimes crack supervisors have done all they can to protect the public trust or are they taking us for a little ride?
    Call them and tell them to reject the Muni budget when it comes up next Wednesday essentially preserving the status quo.

  • theo

    There’s no right to park your car overnight in a commercial zone.

    That’s one of the major problems with places like Polk Gulch, the Haight, and the Mission. People get off work, get home at 6 or 8, and dump their cars in metered spaces. Meanwhile, no one who wants to go to a restaurant or club can find parking. It’s one of the reasons the Haight is so derelict at night.

    8 PM would be a good start. 10 PM would be better. Both would massively decrease congestion while also being good for business.

    Although I’d also like to see it implemented with sensitivity to local parking conditions; I hope Ford’s ready to take on that issue.

  • SfResident

    Big props to supervisor Maxwell who voted for this delay and expressed a change of heart regarding parking meters and such. The city deserves a better budget.

    @Marcos: I’ll buy you a round of drinks if we see an MOA before this budget comes up for a vote. I just don’t see it happening. . .

  • Pat

    Someone call Donald Shoup

  • CBrinkman

    “I think that there’s a different feeling on moving forward on revenue from parking that didn’t exist before. We have the Chamber of Commerce, which is actually supportive of Sunday and evening parking metering and enforcement,”

    Sounds like the Chamber of Commerce already read Donald Shoup.

  • All in all an encouraging outcome. I glad to see how Supervisor Maxwell has listened to the arguments, and is coming around to the idea that better management of on-street parking can generate needed revenue – while creating more parking availability to the merchants who depend on parking turnover.

    Alas, Supervisor Dufty brought little but tortured logic to the discussion. Our historic lack of investment in public transit has left us far behind our more urbane European (and Asian) peers. His solution? Promote an MTA budget that further disinvests in public transit. Whatever, Bevan…

  • “Our historic lack of investment in public transit has left us far behind our more urbane European (and Asian) peers. His solution? Promote an MTA budget that further disinvests in public transit. Whatever, Bevan…”

    This comes up again and again and is rarely pointed out, thank you Mr. Radulovich.

    It’s extremely frustrating (if not surprising) that this debate has been so skewed toward the interests of motorists. Our City Charter mandates that decisions like these be made in the interests of pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders, not cars (Section 8A.115):

    “7. Parking policies for areas well served by public transit shall be designed to encourage travel by public transit and alternative transportation.

    8. New transportation investment should be allocated to meet the demand for public transit generated by new public and private commercial and residential developments.

    9. The ability of the City and County to reduce traffic congestion depends on the adequacy of regional public transportation. The City and County shall promote the use of regional mass transit and the continued development of an integrated, reliable, regional public transportation system.”

    The Charter is analogous to our Constitution as a city. This decision has already been made, it ought not to be a matter of finding the political will to touch the ‘third rail.’

    The current budget is in violation of the City Charter, and the Supes must reject it.

  • marcos

    @Josh, the City ignores laws and charter all the time. Section 101.1 of the Planning Code is one good example: http://www.municode.com/content/4201/14139/HTML/ch001.html

    And, of course, my favorite from the Charter:

    SEC. 8A.109. ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF REVENUE.

    (a) To the extent allowed by law, the Board of Supervisors may, by ordinance, dedicate to the Agency revenues from sources such as gas taxes, motor vehicle licensing taxes or other available motor vehicle-related revenue sources.

    (b) The Mayor, the Board of Supervisors, and the Agency diligently shall seek to develop new sources of funding for the Agency’s operations, including sources of funding dedicated to the support of such operations, which can be used to supplement or replace that portion of the Municipal Transportation Fund consisting of appropriations from the General Fund of the City and County. Unless prohibited by preemptive state law, the Agency may submit any proposal for increased or reallocated funding to support all or a portion of the operations of the Agency, including, without limitation, a tax or special assessment directly to the electorate for approval, or to the owners of property or businesses to be specially assessed, or to any other persons or entities whose approval may be legally required, without the further approval of the Mayor or the Board of Supervisors. The Agency shall be authorized to conduct any necessary studies in connection with considering, developing, or proposing such revenue sources.

    -marc

  • @marcos

    Maybe the next structural reform of the MTA ought to include mandatory standardized testing on the language of the Charter:

    “New transportation investment should be allocated to meet the demand for:
    (a)Private autos
    (b)MTA board members
    (c)public transit”

    The answer is always (c)

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