Today’s Headlines

  • Overtime Pay “Still Draining” the SFMTA’s Budget (SF Examiner)
  • Housing Master Plan Before the SF Planning Commission Today (SF Gate)
  • Bike About Town: “Family Cycling: “Chance to Bond, Teach Kids Safety”
  • Oakland Bike Program Launches Photo Contest (Living in the O)
  • Novato Moves to Secure Redevelopment Funds (Marin IJ)
  • Mountain Bikes v Equestrians Debate Pops Up in Malibu (Malibu Times)
  • When Fighting Parking Tickets Online, Who Will Drivers Yell and Wag Fingers At? (NYT)
  • NY Parks Dept. Revokes 15 MPH Cyclist Speed Limit in Central Park (NYT via Sblog NY)
  • Give Streetsblog Some Love and Vote Us Best Transpo Site at Treehugger

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Nick

    I dislike the union-busting tone of some of these MTA budget articles and comments. You think Streetsblog would not only care for sustainability and the environment, but also be a champion of the people who have to live in it.

    Our goals are intertwined. Imagine if you had 2,000 operators demanding the MTA enforced parking in a bike lane as a way to raise revenue (instead of simply scapegoating them and their CBA).

    Don’t you think that would help cyclists out? The SFBC hasn’t been able to accomplish this on their own for whatever reason.

  • I still don’t see how ticketing revenue is down. The DPT sure isn’t enforcing bike lane, bus stop, sidewalk or double parking. Or how about the SFPD enforces bus lane violations? Or speeding? Or failure to stop?

  • icarus12

    I know enforcement is way up in my own neighborhood and nearby shopping areas from South of Market to Cow Hollow. I think ticketing revenue is down because drivers are being more careful about getting tickets. The citation fees are very high, so drivers (some 9.5% who are unemployed) are pretty anxious about getting even one. While compliance is good for collecting meter revenue, I really doubt it has caused a decrease in overall car use. The only way a person drives substantially less is by giving up one or more of the family cars. The SFMTA really needs to hurry along its market pricing of parking and move away from relying so much on citations.

  • I neglected to add this story about Clipper card today, but you have to pay for it: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/03/23/BA0I1IEO8I.DTL&tsp=1

    Nick, the purpose of the headlines is to give you a rundown of what the mainstream media is covering. Providing a link and headline is not an endorsement of a story.

  • SteveS

    Tying MTA funding to citation revenue is a ludicrous system in the first place. Should we fund the SFFD based on how many notices the fire marshal hands out? This crazy system is the reason why there is a lot of enforcement around activities that have no safety impact whatsoever but which can easily rack up a lot of citations with minimal effort (meters, 2 hour parking, street cleaning), and virtually no enforcement of dangerous behavior like blocking transit and bike lanes.

    If we want some radical reform, how about all ticket money goes into the general fund, but a new set-aside is created that requires the city to pay Muni a flat rate subsidy for every passenger trip they provide (the data to do this will be available starting next month with the elimination of paper fast passes). In this way Muni’s goal would have to become to deliver more trips via transit to gain more revenue, which will require enforcing things like bus lanes and double parking to speed the system to attract more riders.

  • david vartanoff

    pointing out that on any given day, 1 in 4 Muni drivers are no shows is not union bashing. Anyone can check the Daily Reports on the SFMTA website to check the figures. While scheduled vacation time and various other reasons are legit, having to employ extra drivers to cover that level of absenteeism is a huge budget drain.

  • @SteveS, it may not be structurally stable to use tickets as a revenue source, but the MTA is under-ticketing as long as drivers break the law without being cited.

    The MTA can’t count on ticket revenue to meet a structural deficit over time, but as long as people are being cited, it’s perfectly appropriate for that money to do toward improving Muni operations.

    And this isn’t directed at you in particular, but at anyone who raises the “we should ticket more because ticketing can’t generate stable income because people will stop breaking the law if you issue tickets” argument. Has anybody ever tried to test that argument out by actually increasing ticket revenue? Did it actually a) decrease law-breaking, or b) result in lower revenue over time?

  • david vartanoff

    @ Josh, the basis for ticket revenue v enforcement goes back locally to then Berkeley Mayor Loni Hancock who during a City Council mtg asked since revenue from neighbrhood parking was so good, should the city hire another PCO to increase revenue The city manager explained that revenue depended on perceived chances of escaping ticketing. He said that if you believed you were certain to be ticketed, you would not park illegally thus reducing fines. This was sometime in the early 90s. I should add that as a citizen, I was, and remain outraged at these attitudes toward laws. enorcement

  • I was not trying to argue that you cannot increase revenues by increasing certain kinds of enforcement. I was arguing that the goal of enforcement should be to maximize compliance, not to maximize revenue. Thus does not mean there should be less enforcement: in SF I would argue compliance is pathetic and much more enforcement is needed, but it is needed in different areas.

    The result of making enforcement a revenue tool instead of a compliance tool is a lack of focus on dangerous behavior In favor of focus on behavior that is easy to catch, e.g. parking enforcement spends a tremendous amount of time on street sweeping and almost zero time on double parking in bike lanes.

  • david vartanoff

    @SteveS. Fully agree that approaching enforcement as revenue streams is wrong. Not only does it distort what is enforced (path of least resistance/easiest ticket writing) it undermines citizen respect for ALL enforcement. Deliberate toleration of double parked delivery vehicles in transit/traffic lanes whether SF or Berkeley is a REAL policy as opposed to the “transit first” babble. When autos are blocking sidewalks with no repercussion, the attitude toward peds/wheelchair users is very clear.

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