SFPark Mission Bay Plan Sees Backlash from Potrero Hill Residents

An SFMTA plan to put a rational price on car parking around the developing Mission Bay area has run into fierce backlash from residents and merchants from the Potrero Hill, Dogpatch and northeastern Mission neighborhoods.

Image: SFPark

The SFPark program’s Mission Bay Parking Management Strategy is “meant to address the existing severe parking availability issues and to get ready for the future,” said SFPark Manager Jay Primus, who sat in on a three-hour hearing on the plan at City Hall today. “These are neighborhoods where we’re going to see the majority of the city’s growth in the years to come.”

The plan was approved for recommendation to the SFMTA Board of Directors, save for a few blocks which the hearing officers recommended for re-evaluation.

Included in the plan’s Mission Bay “Parkingshed” area are existing and planned developments that are drawing more and more commuters, including the University of California San Francisco, AT&T Park, and Caltrain stations at 22nd and Fourth Streets. It also encompasses impacted “buffer areas” like the Dogpatch and Potrero Hill neighborhoods, and SFPark expansions are also planned in the Mission around a park that’s set to replace a parking lot at 17th and Folsom Streets.

But among the complaints, residents defended subsidized free parking, claiming meters would impose an undue burden on drivers in areas with poor access to transit and more residential and industrial uses than retail.

“No doubt these are complex neighborhoods,” said Primus, “but they’re predominantly commercial, mixed-use PDR [production, distribution and repair] areas. That doesn’t mean that MTA should leave this parking utterly unmanaged. This is parking that is close to BART, Third Street light rail, and that businesses depend on for their economic vitality.”

But even some supporters of SFPark, like Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association President Tony Kelly, criticized the SFMTA for a lack of outreach to neighbors.

“We do not have space for everybody in their car to drive to work, so we need parking management,” said Kelly, “but for god’s sake, if you’ve got 2,000 people in the neighborhood saying you haven’t talked to us, then maybe you need to talk to us.”

Primus defended the outreach efforts, saying staff does its best “to engage with every individual.”

“We’ve reached out to every large group we could in these areas,” said Primus. “It’s impossible to reach everyone. Judging by the meeting today, clearly, the word has gotten out there, and that’s great. This is part of a healthy process for SFMTA.”

“Sometimes you feel like you could send an engraved invitation and people would still say they’ve never heard about it,” said Cheryl Brinkman, a member of the SFMTA Board of Directors. She pointed out that even though flyers were put on every door in the outreach for the Masonic Avenue redesign project, some still complained it wasn’t enough.

“I think as city dwellers, we sometimes underestimate what people are willing to do for free parking,” she added.

Among the organizations supporting the plan are Livable City and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, who sent letters to the SFMTA this week encouraging staff to move it forward.

“The expansion of metered spaces will provide the parking turnover that neighborhood-serving businesses need,” wrote Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich in his letter. “SFPark metering and pricing will also reduce cruising for parking in these neighborhoods. Cruising for parking generates traffic which delays Muni, produces greenhouse gas emissions, and distracted drivers making multiple turns endanger pedestrians and cyclists in these increasingly pedestrian- and cycling-oriented neighborhoods.”

But ending the subsidy of free parking rarely comes without a fight, and opponents seemed geared up to return when the plan goes before the SFMTA Board of Directors for final approval in February. Contrary to the doomsday predictions of critics, Primus warned that the plan’s approval will be crucial to the success of those neighborhoods.

“Mismanaging parking in this area is going to hold back the economic growth and vitality in the city,” said Primus, “and that would be a shame.”

We will be off for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Have a great weekend, and we will see you back here on Tuesday.

  • mikesonn

    Thank you Aaron. The interwebs are afire with misinformation about this project.

    Hell hath no furry like a driver “losing” “free” parking. [Both losing and free are used loosely, sadly furry is not.]

  • please consider signing the petition to stop parking meter installation in Potrero Hill http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/stop-parking-meter-installation-in-potrero-hill/

  • perhaps you mean “fury” no? 

  • Interesting that my first comment mentioning a petition against parking meter installation in potero hill was deleted.

  • marcos

    The Eastern Neighborhoods plan calls for curbside parking to be managed for existing residents in residential neighborhoods.  Most folks who live in my neighborhood of the North Mission are still moderate income who cannot depend on regional transit to get to and from work.

    The MTA adopted a minimalistic approach in our neighborhood to interpreting “residential,” the tie always went to non-residential with a meter to be installed.  The MTA did not take an inventory of existing off-street parking and of demand by existing residents for on-street parking to establish a baseline to minimize impacts on existing residents.

    The compromise solution is to establish and overlay a residential permit zone onto the meters so that residents can still park close to home and that there can be turnover and revenue in those spaces when residents are not using them.  The permits should not be made available to new condo residents.

    I don’t drive, friends who do rarely have trouble finding space.  But I do object to the MTA and Planning treating our community as an opportunity site, a tabula rasa devoid of existing residents, who can serve as infinite sinks to mitigate the downsides of growth and steamrolling us with a meaningless process.

    When the MTA is seeking new revenues, some of which will have to go before the voters, they’d best take care to not make too many enemies, as it does not take much to crater a 2/3 vote requirement.  The MTA is antagonizing the disabled, seniors and now residents in moderate income communities.

    Also, wasn’t Shoupianism designed to facilitate turnover to increase availability in commercial areas?  What’s the benefit to residents of higher availability arbitrated by market pricing in residential neighborhoods?  These slivers of residential are wedged amongst Neighborhood Commercial Districts.  It appears that our neighborhoods are being programmed for parking overflow for a rapidly gentrifying Mission/Valencia corridor, just as our streets were widened 70 years ago to provide for ample parking for the Miracle Mile.

  • Anonymous

    “Cruising for parking generates traffic which delays Muni, produces greenhouse gas emissions, and distracted drivers making multiple turns endanger pedestrians and cyclists in these increasingly pedestrian- and cycling-oriented neighborhoods.”

    Poorly researched statement by Tom. Unfortunately MUNI service to this area is very minimal.

    Hopefully this might get MUNI to consider some sort of express to Caltrain service from Bernal/Noe/Castro/Mission. How about a petition from Potrero Hill asking for that? The easiest defense against meters is fewer cars! I’d sign it!

  • marcos

    When I was on the TEP CAC, I suggested a line from Church Street Station to CalTrain via Duboce, 13th, Division and Townsend.  The TEP ended up instead recommending that the 47 turn at South Van Ness and Division to CalTrain.

    There is no cruising for parking in our neighborhood and won’t be until the City entitles hundreds of new condos with less than 1:1 parking while not making the level of investment in transit that it would take $25/hr meter fees to begin to finance.  Regionally, rapid transit connectivity is even more elusive.

    Here’s a spreadsheet of transit times (year 2010) from 20th and Mission to the top-25 employers in the Bay Area that have headquarters or major office complexes:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ag0ZOiUd3t_3dHd4QkVibkt6YVQza3RCVkoxeDlCRUE&hl=en_US#gid=1

    Until this is fixed, parking around new luxury condos is going to be a major issue that we can’t just make go away with livable streets rhetoric and dogma.

  • Anonymous

    It seems that the SFPark people are trying to do a pre-emptive installation here, in that the parking problems are not terrible, but could get worse. So they’re starting with a 25c an hour fee, with no time limits, so you can park all day if you like. It may be that people wouldn’t object as much once they see the implementation, since it’s a sort of a new idea– we don’t have any 25c parking meters in the city yet.

    But then again, they may. I don’t object if people in a neighborhood prefer hard-to-find parking over paid parking. But, that said, I don’t think they should demand that new construction should include a lot of parking (or be forbidden altogether) to “preserve” their free parking, either.

  • mikesonn

    Yeah. Guess your argument wins. Shoot.

  • mikesonn

    Clicking “post” can be difficult. I can assure you that Aaron didn’t delete your comment. I’ve previously posted a link to your petition on this site when I first saw you put it on twitter.

  • mikesonn

    “The permits should not be made available to new condo residents.”

    I find this comment interesting. Why should they not receive permits? Is it because their units won’t have sufficient (in your opinion) off street parking? Why shouldn’t current residents, who’s buildings don’t have sufficient off street parking, also be denied parking permits by that logic? A lot of the arguments against this parking management plan seems to tainted with “well, we got ours and you best not take it away.”

  • Anonymous

    The argument that there is poor public transit to the area and hence parking should be free is illogical and simply a way for people who like to drive to convince themselves that they aren’t being selfish. The vast majority of commuters that drive to 22nd St Caltrain, for example, haven’t been out there pushing for improving public transit. They could care less about it and are happy in their car (as long as all the negative effects of driving are subsidized for them, of course). If these people had truly been pushing for public transit long before this issue, I might be inclined to believe they truly care about public transit and aren’t just superficially appropriating the cause to try and give themselves credibility. But the reality is, they don’t want to take the bus and wouldn’t take it even if they were efficient and quick, as they love the “freedom” of their car and are pissed that suddenly the subsidized parking they are used to is going away. Trying to appropriate the cause of public transit just sounds desperate.

    Further, for those who have been pushing for public transit but are still against this plan, this also makes no sense. Why should precious real estate in the 2nd most dense city in the US be free? How can one justify that? The car-culture is so utterly used to being subsidized that motorists can’t even think clearly. I can tell you this: if parking had been made more expensive long ago in this area, you wouldn’t see all the development out in these neighborhoods without good public transit in the first place. It is a catch-22: the city made parking free, and so the development followed suit and of course prioritized the car above all else. You can’t then turn around and blame the city for trying to change that. If you want good public transit, put something nearer to the true cost of driving and suddenly you’ll be amazed at how development follows public transit, bike lanes, etc instead of trying to do it the other way around.

    There is no doubt that the city needs to improve MUNI in this area (I especially like the idea of express buses to Caltrain), but to say that parking should be free is nonsense and selfish.

  • Anonymous

    I think they should have stuck with Mission Bay and stayed north of 16th and east of 7th with these plans. I would like to see SFPark implemented where it is needed most, like Chinatown, North Beach, the Richmond (Clement, Geary).

    SFPark is one of the best programs I’ve seen SFMTA implement – demand-based pricing is exactly what we need with the number of cars who come into our eastern SF neighborhoods on the weekdays to park and take a bus in to the last mile. If only residential parking permits could be priced closer to the demand level, that’d be a better solution for some streets, but that’s not an option right now… And we have to work within a reality of current options.

  • mikesonn

    2nd Chinatown and North Beach for SFPark. Why they weren’t included in the pilot program is beyond me.

  • marcos

    The impetus for the North Mission SF Park project is the conversion of a parking lot at 17th and Folsom to a Rec and Park open space park.  The MTA was concerned that in-bound commuters forced from the surface parking lot would cause problems in the neighborhood.  So they carved out a swath of the NE Mission north up to 13th Street, involved businesses south of 16th and PODER a connected nonprofit who nobody knows and decided to work their will on our neighborhood north of 16th as well. 

    I don’t think that existing residents, my neighbors, are adverse to parking management.  They have built lives around existing circumstances and should not have to have their budgets busted because a bunch of new luxury condos that nobody but SPUR and developers asked for are slated for our neighborhood will cause parking problems in the future.  Nor should existing residents who have lived with very little open space have to shoulder a disproportionate burden of the costs of that open space that the City owes us, like every other residential neighborhood gets.

    Having this thrown on them with institutional contempt does not create a climate of respect.  Prioritizing issues surrounding in-bound commuters while ignoring issues surrounding out-bound commuters, residents, is not balanced in approach.  RPP overriding meters for existing residents solves the problem, folks would pay for parking just like so many other residential neighborhoods.

    The idea that circling for parking delays Muni any more than the increased traffic caused by “parking availability” as achieved by more rapid turnover is laughable.  Thousands of new luxury condos delay Muni, Planning and the Board of Supervisors signed off on CEQA statements overriding the significance of transit delay impacts of this zoning in 2008, all for Transit Oriented [sic] Development.

    Liberal consensus has collapsed and respect for technocrats evaporated.

  • marcos

    The impetus for the North Mission SF Park project is the conversion of a parking lot at 17th and Folsom to a Rec and Park open space park.  The MTA was concerned that in-bound commuters forced from the surface parking lot would cause problems in the neighborhood.  So they carved out a swath of the NE Mission north up to 13th Street, involved businesses south of 16th and PODER a connected nonprofit who nobody knows and decided to work their will on our neighborhood north of 16th as well. 

    I don’t think that existing residents, my neighbors, are adverse to parking management.  They have built lives around existing circumstances and should not have to have their budgets busted because a bunch of new luxury condos that nobody but SPUR and developers asked for are slated for our neighborhood will cause parking problems in the future.  Nor should existing residents who have lived with very little open space have to shoulder a disproportionate burden of the costs of that open space that the City owes us, like every other residential neighborhood gets.

    Having this thrown on them with institutional contempt does not create a climate of respect.  Prioritizing issues surrounding in-bound commuters while ignoring issues surrounding out-bound commuters, residents, is not balanced in approach.  RPP overriding meters for existing residents solves the problem, folks would pay for parking just like so many other residential neighborhoods.

    The idea that circling for parking delays Muni any more than the increased traffic caused by “parking availability” as achieved by more rapid turnover is laughable.  Thousands of new luxury condos delay Muni, Planning and the Board of Supervisors signed off on CEQA statements overriding the significance of transit delay impacts of this zoning in 2008, all for Transit Oriented [sic] Development.

    Liberal consensus has collapsed and respect for technocrats evaporated.

  • marcos

    The impetus for the North Mission SF Park project is the conversion of a parking lot at 17th and Folsom to a Rec and Park open space park.  The MTA was concerned that in-bound commuters forced from the surface parking lot would cause problems in the neighborhood.  So they carved out a swath of the NE Mission north up to 13th Street, involved businesses south of 16th and PODER a connected nonprofit who nobody knows and decided to work their will on our neighborhood north of 16th as well. 

    I don’t think that existing residents, my neighbors, are adverse to parking management.  They have built lives around existing circumstances and should not have to have their budgets busted because a bunch of new luxury condos that nobody but SPUR and developers asked for are slated for our neighborhood will cause parking problems in the future.  Nor should existing residents who have lived with very little open space have to shoulder a disproportionate burden of the costs of that open space that the City owes us, like every other residential neighborhood gets.

    Having this thrown on them with institutional contempt does not create a climate of respect.  Prioritizing issues surrounding in-bound commuters while ignoring issues surrounding out-bound commuters, residents, is not balanced in approach.  RPP overriding meters for existing residents solves the problem, folks would pay for parking just like so many other residential neighborhoods.

    The idea that circling for parking delays Muni any more than the increased traffic caused by “parking availability” as achieved by more rapid turnover is laughable.  Thousands of new luxury condos delay Muni, Planning and the Board of Supervisors signed off on CEQA statements overriding the significance of transit delay impacts of this zoning in 2008, all for Transit Oriented [sic] Development.

    Liberal consensus has collapsed and respect for technocrats evaporated.

  • mikesonn

    “My current life is built on the assumption of free parking and now that things are changing I’m really upset. Actually, very upset. Why can’t I keep getting 300+ sq ft of public property for free? I mean, getting charged to park my car isn’t in my lease. Where is free-parking-control? Or can this be lumped in with rent control? I’m so mad that other people would want to live and work in my city. I was here first! Etc Etc Etc”

  • Anonymous

    That spreadsheet is bunk. I worked at AMD – 95 minutes door to door bike/Caltrain from Noe Valley. The drive time listed is pure fantasy – accomplished at midnight maybe.

  • Johngarrney

    How do we sign a petition to speed up parking meter installation in Portrero Hill?

  • marcos

    mikesonn, the new condos were granted height and density bonuses because they were to have fewer parking spaces because they were to be transit oriented development.  That was the deal.    If you live in a new soulless crappily constructed RBA condo, then you can expect difficulties in parking.  If you live in the existing neighborhood as it has been since it was rebuilt in 1908 with Mission neighborhood character, then the rules are different.

  • marcos

    The spreadsheet is 511.org from 2010.  I’m sure that you’ve got a better transportation network time algorithm than 511.org because you are so smart.

    Few people are going to be commuting 3hr each day via transit if it only takes 90 min to do so by car because if they can afford to service the notes for new luxury condos, they deem their time more important than that.  If you all want to make a political fight of this then you are going to lose by the numbers.

    If you want to make a policy fight of it and approach it from a politically strategic perspective, then you can make it work.  Regional transit is poor enough and people’s budgets are tight enough that you all risk all sorts of wins by approaching parking reform in this manner given that most other residential neighborhoods have RPPs and few other NCDs have meters in adjacent residential neighborhoods.  There are compromises here that are easy to reach, RPPs overriding maters for residents of existing housing that matches up well with existing curbside parking, which is consonant with the Mission Area Plan.  Do you expect for the City to undergo an almost decade long planning process only to abandon what was agreed to?

    Please let me know where Ed Reiskin is buying his crack, the way that he’s picking fights with constituency after constituency while seeking more revenue for the agency.  Existing neighborhoods should be treated equally no matter where their income falls relative to the median or whether our new park is going to be carved from an existing off-street parking lot.

  • marcos

    @mikesonn:disqus, what part of the neighbors want to replace uncontrolled street parking that costs nothing with a NPP that costs them money to park?  Why do you insist upon jousting at strawpeople?

    Nobody expects a free lunch, but we do expect for TOD to live up to the conditions upon which developers were granted lucrative development bonuses.

  • mikesonn

    @86883e1d8289f5b704d6504ff6f52ab9:disqus Welcome back. You weren’t so missed.

    I’m just calling it like I’m see it. The city is changing and the argument that people bought/rented on the basis of “free parking” is a joke. The cost of living goes up, whether it be housing or transportation or both. Popular city, high demand, increased prices. Why should the city be forced to continue to subsidize poor transportation choices just because they did in the past?

  • marcos

    What part of the neighbors are willing to pay for RPP stickers are you missing?  I did miss your density.  Few others are as incapable of subtlety, nuance or the perceiving the zen of politics.

    The City is subsidizing luxury condo development from both an city services operations as well as an infrastructure, including transit, standpoints.  Reducing the amount of on-street parking by installing meters in the way proposed simply shifts resources from the pockets of residents into the pockets of developers and businesses.  The Mission Area Plan calls for transitioning away from free parking and prioritizing the use of curbside spaces for existing residents. 

    The MTA did a fantastic job of outreach for our Home Zone traffic calming project last year.  The MTA did not leverage those neighborhood contacts to run this plan by us to hear our thoughts.  That shows me that the existing residents were not part of the MTA’s thinking when they proposed this specific project.  The pro-forma public hearing on Friday that did not entertain any of the compromises put forth was insulting.  Irrespective of how you feel about the underlying policy, it is that kind of process disrespect further alienates San Franciscans from the MTA and makes pulling the system out of the death spiral all the more difficult.  The deal cut here between advocates and the MTA seems to be: give us parking fascism and marquee bike projects and we’ll let you run the Muni into the ground and ignore bike and pedestrian safety.

  • mikesonn

    RPP is still nearly free and the plan seems like meters are only being added to mix-used streets (haven’t been shown an example otherwise, please share if you have one). I still don’t buy the argument that the “city is subsidizing luxury condo development” as the existing building were built with the same subsidies.Again, why should existing residents have access to free on-street parking but not new building residents? Maybe if the SFMTA can preform EIRs on a ATG standard, the improvements and fees could more accurately provide services.

    And this neighborhood, fat on free parking, has sat idly for many many years when it comes to requesting and advocating for increased Muni service. I would suggest now being a great time to start since increased demand for parking is coming, better management or not.

  • marcos

    @jamiewhitaker:disqus , there is consensus that SFPark is appropriate for Neighborhood Commercial Districts to price turnover and create availability. So where does the MTA choose for the first rollout in the MIssion, Valencia?  Mission Street?  24th Street?  No, the MTA chooses a moderate income residential district!

    @mikesonn:disqus the Eastern Neighborhoods and Market Octavia plans slowed down and increased crowding on Muni lines under the guise of TOD.  The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors signed off on accepting those unmitigatable [sic] environmental impacts, impacts only knowable via LOS style network analysis.  This is because these units will bring cars, they will be searching for parking and they will be hitting the freeway 5 days a week.  Convenient how all luxury TOD just happens to be within 1/4 mi of a freeway ramp, eh ?

    EN and MO also fail to cover their infrastructure impacts as well as their operations impacts.  Other neighborhoods were not developed during times of contractionary scarcity.  This means that existing San Franciscans will see their crumbling infrastructure falling apart and not being fixed faster so that infrastructure can be paid forward for new highly profitable development.

    Perhaps in some magical world in which you inhabit, this is all just, a swindle of TOD being used to justify trashing neighborhood character with the intent of forcible social engineering is a good thing.  The notions of bringing folks along in the environmentally desirable direction appears alien to you, perhaps you prefer proving how correct you are by imposing your designs on people without their buy in.  But we know how that movie ends in a democracy, it ends in a way that runs counter to our common sustainability goals.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Marc! I agree with you…. The streets that need demand-based pricing the most are the commercial corridors of Mission, Valencia, and 24th (maybe 18th?).

  • marcos

    What really gets me is this pervasive and insular groupthink and self satisfied sense of superiority not shared by the general public.  That mindset was instrumental in sinking the economic and social progressives in SF and threatens to sink the enviros as well.

    The LOS analysis might be expensive, but in the bike plan LOS revealed that removing auto lanes for bike lanes would slow down particular Muni lines on particular street segments.  Since removing auto lanes for bike lanes does not add any auto trips on its face, then there would be no mitigation to the transit delay because it would not be known.  An ATG analysis does not think it through to the next level, Muni delay being unknown, that removing auto lanes for bike lanes might indeed add car trips because slowing transit elicits mode shift to cars.

    We were wrong on ATG, it is yet another developer demand for public subsidy for development.  It is quite likely that ATG replacing LOS can be successfully enjoined on environmentally legitimate legal grounds.  The TEP is fortunately doing an LOS network analysis to ensure that even though TEP recommendations promote transit improvements, alterations to any complicated network likely carry unintended negative consequences.  The City needs to beef up its capacity to perform network analysis so that the incremental cost for each study is minimized and so that it can be intimately familiar with the transportation network through accurate models.

    Almost free is not free.  RPP costs people some money.  Words have semantics.  Change along these lines can only be incremental until transit capacity, reliability and speed both locally and regionally can offer an attractive alternative to private autos.

  • D_timlewis

    Pennsylvania between 18th and 22nd is completely residential. As is the top of the hill at 20th. Tell me where in Noe, Castro or Hayes Valley for that matter are there meters like this? Certainly in the main streets like 24th, but do you see meters along ALL of Jersey, Elizabeth or Grove? We pay for residential parking stickers like everyone else in the city to park near out homes!

  • I’m one of those Dogpatch residents in a building that’s nestled between 2 commercial printers.  We were included in the X Permit area ~3 years ago, but then the businesses complained so that was removed.  (Though they sold the permits and renewals for a while, anyway.)  Parking’s always been hard-ish to find in the day, but not at night.  We see quite a lot of people parking their cars and jumping on the bus or T-Third (probably Caltrain, too) to go to work.  Today there’s reversed signs posted for an event 1-4PM for Dogpatch studios and the street is clear–my conclusion is that it’s because none of the commuters will be back to move their car at 1PM.  (Thanks to Dogpatch Studios for getting real permits for their events instead of faking them–unless they’re still faking them.)

    I haven’t been following the progress of events too closely, but there’s been a lot of “we’re all going to die” going around the neighborhood, putting in meters is expected to push people further down the line.  Even if one has “X Permit or 4hour parking” in front of their building, it’s unlikely to be enforced.  I’ve been assuming it’s not going to be too big of a hassle to find local resident parking for my car, but there’s been plenty of conflicting stories from the populace and I’ve not seen a map that makes sense and is consistent.  The report from the last SFMTA meeting was “they met, heard complaints, and then said ‘yeah, we’re not changing the plan, let’s go'”.

    This’ll also have the “clean-up” effect of moving a lot of habitation vehicles (and the bus with Nevada Press 2010 plates which likes to live in the neighborhood) which extend from the 4th&King Caltrain down to Chavez, I wonder where they’ll be going to…

  • magnuson

    I second this very sensible comment from @jamiewhitaker:disqus.  This initiative from SFPark does make logical sense, and it could be a great solution for the many areas of this city that have huge parking shortages.  It is probably also a very sensible approach for the new Mission Bay district, which is the bulk of the area affected by the proposal.

    However, the residential section of Potrero that was included in this plan is NOT an area that has parking shortages.  As such, there are literally ZERO beneficiaries of converting 30-50% of spaces to meters, as proposed in this plan.  Whether you think people deserve free parking or not, the only outcome of this plan in this part of Potrero will be that you will suddenly have tons of people circling for parking here (looking for a free spot, instead of a metered spot), where that NEVER happens today.  This is bad for pedestrians (especially those of us with small kids), bikers, and of course the environment.

    The only people I have seen supporting the meters in Potrero fall into one or both of these categories:

    1) They are not from this neighborhood, and thus are making the errant assumption that there is a parking problem here (like everywhere else in the city) that needs to be solved.  From what I can see, the entire MTA and their board falls into this category.  This point of view makes logical sense, but they are working under a faulty assumption with regards to this section of Potrero which, absent SFMTA intervention, will not have any parking shortage for the foreseeable future (ie, the next 3 years).

    2) They are approaching this from a purely utopian perspective without regard for pragmatic considerations (eg, @mikesonn:disqus).  They would seemingly accept an ocean of under-utilized public property (in the form of even more unused parking spaces than we have now) together with increased auto congestion and pollution from the aforementioned “circling for parking” that will result, in the sole hope of inconveniencing those people with cars enough that they will clamor for (and begin using) more and better public transportation.  This point of view lacks any kind of pragmatism.  It is like suddenly putting a 100% sales tax on food as a way to encourage people to grow more of their own food and demand more community garden space from their local government. 

    This second camp is willing to create a problem for their fellow citizens just in the hopes that it will socially engineer these people toward a behavior that they believe to be superior.  In effect, they are willing to trade direct and material costs to others for indirect and highly speculative benefits to them — and the best part is, they consider the others “selfish”!  Only in utopia could logic work like that…

  • magnuson

    @a96e75625fbcf26e5f6500a20b2ab318:disqus — Not sure.  How do we screw things up in your neighborhood that we know nothing about and that have no impact on us?

  • mikesonn

    Only a very small bit of Pennsylvania between 18th & 22nd is proposed meters. The rest is proposed residential parking permits if requested.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that meters shouldn’t be used in residential areas and only in commercial areas. However, from pg 7 of the report
    http://sfpark.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Mission-Bay-Parking-Mngmt-Plan.pdf

    it doesn’t appear there is permit parking on Pennsylvania except between 20th and (almost) 22nd. That’s not acceptable.

    Further, all the red in this map indicates that in fact you do *not* pay to park in your neighborhood the same as many other neighborhoods (like Noe). Of course, the Dogpatch gets off the hook of paying permits much more so than Potrero.

    The city needs to decide what blocks it is going to call “Caltrain parking” and meter those (Indiana and Pennyslvania between 22nd and 23rd only?), and then everything else should be permitted. Motorists will be pissed, but they’ll get used to it like motorists in just about every other neighborhood (and hopefully drive less). I’m quite tired of this “let’s get up in arms” attitude about being asked to pay just small fraction of the externalized cost that comes with driving inefficient, polluting, space-hogging, and dangerous machines. Motorists should be happy they got away with free rides, literally, as long as they have.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that meters shouldn’t be used in residential areas and only in commercial areas. However, from pg 7 of the report
    http://sfpark.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Mission-Bay-Parking-Mngmt-Plan.pdf

    it doesn’t appear there is permit parking on Pennsylvania except between 20th and (almost) 22nd. That’s not acceptable.

    Further, all the red in this map indicates that in fact you do *not* pay to park in your neighborhood the same as many other neighborhoods (like Noe). Of course, the Dogpatch gets off the hook of paying permits much more so than Potrero.

    The city needs to decide what blocks it is going to call “Caltrain parking” and meter those (Indiana and Pennyslvania between 22nd and 23rd only?), and then everything else should be permitted. Motorists will be pissed, but they’ll get used to it like motorists in just about every other neighborhood (and hopefully drive less). I’m quite tired of this “let’s get up in arms” attitude about being asked to pay just small fraction of the externalized cost that comes with driving inefficient, polluting, space-hogging, and dangerous machines. Motorists should be happy they got away with free rides, literally, as long as they have.

  • Guest

    I have read a lot of comments from people on this issue, and some seem to think the primary complaint is about “free parking” being taken away. While I think that is part of the problem, and one that will disproportionately hurt the less well-off , the larger issue for many is the impact on quality of life. It is not reasonable to expect someone to wake up every morning at 7am so they can plug the meter half a block away where they parked the night before. And what if you have to drive your vehicle home during the day and then leave, etc… You must then time your activities around the meter fare, or overpay if you don’t stay as long as anticipated. It is just another layer of urban frustration and stress that is absolutely unnecessary. There is already a mechanism in place to charge for parking:  residential parking permits. If the current rate is too low, raise it. If you want to protect low income people, you can help subsidize the permit costs for them. Meters are indiscriminate. Unless you absolutely need meters for retail business turnover, they are the worst possible solution for capturing some of the costs associated with street parking.
     
    And, one final point about the concept of “free parking”. I am also a property owner. I pay property taxes. I must maintain the sidewalk in front of my property. Apparently, I must also now maintain trees planted on the street in front of my property http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/16/BAKE1MONVK.DTL. So, I must maintain the sidewalk, the trees, the plants, but the parking is somehow “free” to me?  And, before someone screams about some rich landlord (which I am not) and their obligations, I would add that every renter is paying the equivalent property tax and maintenance costs through their rent.
     
    Residents should not be treated like transient retail customers. We live in the community, pay taxes in the community, and have a stake in the way our neighborhoods operate. Meters make sense if you are trying to blindly recover some of the costs associated with street maintenance, because you are targeting everyone, including those people who don’t live in SF, or in the particular neighborhood. But, if extracting those costs materially damages the quality of life of our city’s residents, then it is not good policy.
     
    The proponents of this plan also keep pushing the red herring of “less circling”, which has no application in a neighborhood like Dogpatch. We are not a retail corridor. We only started getting any decent services in the last two to three years. Is this the punishment for finally being able to get a decent cup of coffee in the neighborhood?

  • Anonymous

    @45be3e2a2ae3d37a75b9a3fcf0e9eb53:disqus wrote “It is just another layer of urban frustration and stress that is absolutely unnecessary.”

    Wrong: it is necessary. For too long, we have so externalized the cost of cars that we have made everything else (public transit, cycling, and walking) a huge pain in the ass (while polluting our air, killing and maiming motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists, and all-around making our cities less livable) while making driving as easy as possible. Your attitude is exactly what the SFMTA (and many people on this blog) are trying to change. It should *not* be convenient, and certainly not cheap, to own a car in an urban area like SF. That is the basic premise to your argument, and where many disagree.

    And again *residential* parking permits, being for residents, are not appropriate for area that is dedicated for Caltrain *commuters* (who are not residents), e.g., Pennsylvania between 22nd and 23rd. I agree that Pennsylvania above 22nd, for example, is another story. But let’s just look at all the free parking on Indiana and Pennsylvania between 22nd and 23rd which has got nothing to do with residents since there are no residential buildings here. That should be metered, not permitted. It certainly makes no sense for it to continue to be free.

    And regardless, going by the flyers posted at the 22nd St Caltrain station, most people are in fact simply pissed because they, not surprisingly, don’t want to pay for parking. Most don’t really care about the nuances of urban design. They are just used to be a motorist with everything subsidized for them. And when people try to change that, they are just trying to defend their actions. Doesn’t make it right, but it is certainly understandable. But there is nothing nuanced about it.

    “So, I must maintain the sidewalk, the trees, the plants, but the parking is somehow “free” to me?”

    No, it’s free for the *motorist*. This is the point: the person doing the driving is the one whose costs are externalized. People out there are most certainly paying the true cost of driving (from taxes subsidizing free parking, to everybody subsidizing roads, to people who pay with their health from polluted air or car accidents, etc.), but the problem is that the people causing the problems, the motorists, are not. i agree that you alone as a landlord should not have to bear all the costs. It’s time motorists start paying for the damage they cause and the resources (like space) they consume.

  • marcos

    I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is that under CA law, since we live in a chartered city/county, that the property lines actually go to the street center line and that the sidewalk and street are taken as a public right of way.

    So, yeah, technically the sidewalk and street frontage is the public right of way but it is private property.

  • maguson – you can start by screwing up NoPa by pushing for the Masonic redesign. Stick it to them!

  • Marcos, I’m not a lawyer either, but I’m pretty sure it’s not generally true in San Francisco that the street is part of the adjacent property.

    I say this first of all because of the “50 vara lots” and “100 vara lots” that the northeast portion of the city was originally subdivided into, a measurement that refers only to the interior of the blocks, not to the streets.

    There is also plenty of documentation in the Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors about land (not just easements) being acquired for new streets and street widenings.

    And finally, there are a few streets, like College Terrace, that are part of private property but are open as public rights of way, and are signed to indicate that this is the case.

  • peternatural

    “…there are literally ZERO beneficiaries of converting 30-50% of spaces to meters, as proposed in this plan.”

    You mean, besides the taxpayers 😉

  • I’m a supporter of market-based parking in general and SFPark in particular, but don’t fully buy into this plan, at least for south of 16th Street. My thoughts as a resident of Potrero’s north slope and a 22nd Street Caltrain commuter (via walking):

    – Outreach to Caltrain patrons/management has been pretty lame. I pay attention to this stuff, and it’s been hard to know what’s happening, why, when, and how to get involved. Key info shouldn’t be buried on p.17 of a PDF, I’m sorry. On the report’s list of stakeholder outreach, there’s nothing about working with the Caltrain Board or CAC.

    – More generally w/r/t SFPark- a key part of Donald Shoup’s parking theories is that you should dedicate some portion of parking revenues to the affected community (e.g., sidewalk repair/cleaning, planting trees, etc.). Aside from the claim that parking turnover will improve (see next point), there’s no clear benefit to this area. If some revenue was actually dedicated to Caltrain or 48-Quintara service, for example, you might see more support. 

    – The “turnover” argument does not hold water, except for short retail segments of 18th and 22nd Streets. For better or worse, the overall area has developed with dependence on all-day parking for employees/commuters. If the main thing that changes is now they have to pay, what’s the benefit?

    – The stated basis for this whole plan (Mission Bay overflow) makes sense for areas around 16th, but down by 22nd-23rd? I really don’t see people parking there to walk down to UCSF or Salesforce.com’s future campus. Is this really the priority area for SFPark expansion?

    – A couple of smaller points- even if meters are added for weekdays, I can’t see any reason for Saturday meters in Potrero/Dogpatch (most of these commercial streets are ghost towns on weekends); the number of planned motorcycle/scooter spots (7) at the 22nd Street station seems too low.

  • magnuson

    Hi @peternatural:disqus I think you were being tongue in cheek, but to address the point nonetheless:

    1) Taxpayers won’t benefit from metered spots sitting empty, which in the residential section of Potrero being targeted here is what would happen with most of these spots most of the time

    2) As others have pointed out, if the goal is simply to raise revenue, adding meters is simply a stupid way to do it in a residential area that has abundant parking.  It would make infinitely more sense to simply raise the price of the residential permits — this would raise revenue, save the cost of installing, enforcing, and collecting from meters, and cut down on residents “circling” for unmetered spots.  The only situation where meters should ever be used is where turnover needs to be forced due to shortages in parking.

    So, I do feel it is fair to say that “there are literally ZERO beneficiaries of converting 30-50% of spaces to meters [in the NE corner of Potrero, which is the only area I know well], as proposed in this plan.”

  • It would make infinitely more sense to simply raise the price of the residential permits…

    Except for the pesky fact that this would be against state law….

  • marcos

    @c41dc132c0b311d07c00350f75a85294:disqus I heard an attorney make such a statement at a land use body in the 2000s.  Where the property line lies has no real bearing on reality on the ground because the ROW prevails. However it is not technically correct, from my knowledge, to claim that private individuals are making claim on public property by insisting that they park their cars curbside.  Tenants and owners pay property taxes for those roadways, so there is also a fiscal claim.

    @jd_x:disqus I agree with you in the direction that we need to go. The issue is how do we get there given the infrastructural and financial constraints that are in fact political constraints.  The Muni is being actively disinvested, those dollars shunted off to pet projects.  The Muni is actively shedding its transit dependent customer base in favor of transit choice riders.  The regional transit network is neither rapid nor reliable. 

    When the MTA takes steps to crap on disabled and senior riders by eliminating stops and not taking any steps to ensure that the number of shelter seats is conserved on remaining stops, the MTA is having the most vulnerable transit dependent demographics walk twice as far for half as many seats.  Seniors and the disabled vote.

    When the MTA takes steps to crap on residents of a moderate income neighborhood where boosters and developers have their eyes on windfall profits and then have the gall to claim that we choose to move to a vibrant, up and coming neighborhood, they alienate another constituency of likely voters.  The MTA did not bother to involve our neighbors in this project even though there were reasonable compromises available.

    When the MTA indicates that it wants to raise revenues to improve Muni service and the MTA indicates that it operates with what appears to be contempt for our neighbors, they take a politically inartful approach that exposes any revenue plans that must go before the voters and requires 2/3 vote to ruin.  Even with a well funded Muni, that only gets you to the city’s borders.  For the jobs outside of the BART and CalTrain corridors, there is no reliable rapid regional transit.

    I think we’ve seen how unsustainable social change is when run by and for the needs of zealots.  So long as we keep our compass points clear and continue in the right direction, incremental changes move us further faster than what appears to be the more direct route that just energizes opposition to environmentally sound policies.

  • I’m in complete agreement that the new condos should not be allowed to gain RPP privileges, but you’d be fooling yourself if you think this restriction will actually work.  Ten years from now when you have a different bunch of addled geriatrics on the Land Use subcommittee, and the residents of that new building come to the hearing with their proposal to establish or expand RPP coverage to their building, the subcommittee will rubber-stamp that proposal.  It happened with the Area Y expansion to Clementina — RPP Area Y was expanded to a Live/Work building that is not supposed to be entitled to such things.

  • Roy, can you comment more on the establishment of the Area X residential permit?  Supposedly the city is not supposed to allow new RPP areas that are not contiguous with other areas, but it looks like the Supervisors ignored this detail of city policy, as usual.

  • mikesonn

    “If you live in the existing neighborhood as it has been since it was rebuilt in 1908 with Mission neighborhood character, then the rules are different.”

    I wonder how curb cuts and garage conversions fit into this.

  • Even if one has “X Permit or 4hour parking” in front of their building, it’s unlikely to be enforced. 

    This is not an argument against the plan. This is an argument for better enforcement.

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The SFMTA has given up on its neighborhood-scale plans to install parking meters in the Dogpatch and Portrero Hill, while parking meter approvals in the northeast Mission move forward at a snail’s pace. After two years of tangling with the city, the defenders of dysfunctional free parking have effectively caused a huge setback for progressive […]

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The SFMTA announced yesterday that it would no longer include areas of the Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, and Mission neighborhoods in its pilot expansion of SFPark after pushback from a vocal group of opponents. However, SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said the agency is still proposing to install conventional parking meters, which lack the technology that allows […]

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The SFMTA recently upgraded all of SF’s 29,000 parking meters to “smart meters” that are enabled for demand-based price changes throughout the day, a la SFpark. Now, the SFMTA plans to expand its smart pricing program that has curbed car traffic to more existing meters. “SFpark showed that demand-based pricing can improve parking availability without increasing double parking, congestion, […]

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Mayor Ed Lee stood behind the merits of the SFMTA’s SFPark program at a Board of Supervisors meeting today when questioned about the recent backlash against parking meter expansions in the Dogpatch and Potrero Hill neighborhoods. Those proposals have been put on hold while the SFMTA conducts more outreach to neighbors and merchants. During the […]