SFMTA to Hold Hearing for Additional 1310 Parking Meters

Parkign_meter_photo_small.jpgPhoto: Thomas Hawk.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has scheduled an administrative hearing later this month so it can move forward with the installation of 1310 new single-space parking meters that accept credit cards, while extending time limits at those meter locations to four hours. The meters are expected to net the agency approximately $1 million annually, some of which will go to fund Muni.

The June 18th hearing is part of the public process for adding additional meters, which the agency routinely does each year. According to SFMTA documents, the agency adds approximately 400- 500 new meters on average each year.

Some of the 1310 proposed new meters are in SFPark pilot areas, some are not, and the SFMTA insisted the installation of the meters be separate from the innovative parking management trial.

"The locations proposed for new meters were prioritized based on several key factors, including where there already are existing time limits and blocks that that are immediately adjacent or within existing metered areas, in part to reduce circling for free parking in certain areas," said SFMTA spokesperson Murray Bond. Bond called the overlap with SFPark areas coincidental.

The new meters are also not part of the controversial proposal to extend parking meter hours on Sundays in select commercial districts, a move that the SFMTA will not likely consider until September at the earliest.

While these new meters are not part of the SFPark pilot, they do share a new technology associated with every SFPark meter: They will accept credit cards, a convenience the agency hopes will ease frustration with meters, reduce parking citations and improve payment options.

"We add parking meters year in, year out," said Bond, which he argued improved conditions for drivers and transit riders.

After the hearing, the SFMTA Board of Directors will presumably assent to adding the meters, which would be installed by January 2011. In the process of approving the 2010-11 SFMTA budget, the board accepted the proposal to add an additional 5,400 meters in the near future, which would bring the city's total meter count to over 30,000.

Though this is significant, a recent parking census found there are more than 440,000 public parking spaces in San Francisco, so the metered spaces are still a small fraction of the total.

The majority of the newly metered spaces are proposed for areas that currently have time limits of one, two or four hours. According to the SFMTA, time limits are difficult to enforce, so the meter installation will help to better manage parking demand in those areas.

Meter rates will match existing rates in proximate meter zones where that is applicable. In areas where there are no current meters, the rates will start at $1 per hour and will be adjusted based on demand. These include parts of SoMa, Civic Center, Cathedral Hill, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Mission, according to the SFMTA's documents.

"Parking management in San Francisco requires many different customer convenience and engineering strategies," SFMTA CEO Nat Ford said in a statement. "We want to make parking easier and more flexible in order to reduce traffic congestion, emissions and to help business districts thrive."

Fishermans_Wharf_expansion_small.jpgClick to enlarge map of proposed new meters near Fisherman's Wharf. Image: SFMTA.
Eastern_Soma_Meter_Expansion_small.jpgClick to enlarge map of proposed new meters in SOMA. Image: SFMTA.

Civic_Center_meter_expansion_small.jpgClick to enlarge map of proposed new meters in Civic Center. Image: SFMTA.
Meter_extension_Inner_Mission_small.jpgClick to enlarge map of proposed new meters in Inner Mission. Image: SFMTA.