SFMTA Budget Proposal Includes Metered Parking on Sunday Afternoons

The SFMTA unveiled its proposed two-year budget today, and it includes extending car parking meter hours to Sundays between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m., but not during evenings. On those afternoons, the proposal promises to curb the congestion that results from drivers cruising for free parking when it’s in high demand. The measure is one of many budget gap-closing components in a plan that avoids raising transit fares.

Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/goincase/3174822087/##goincase/Flickr##

SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said parking meters wouldn’t run on Sunday mornings because there isn’t enough demand for commercial parking spaces at those times. When asked if church leaders had persuaded the agency not to charge for parking in the morning, he claimed the hours were only chosen to reflect commercial demand.

“The most concerns about Sunday mornings was that [they] start later than Saturdays, and it’s a little bit of a different business model, so we felt like this was the right approach,” said Reiskin. He also said complaints about church members needing to leave Sunday sermons to pay meters, which Interfaith Council member Rev. James Delange voiced to the SFMTA Board earlier this month, have largely died down because time limits would be three to four hours long, and many churches don’t even have metered parking.

Reiskin also said that Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors seem more receptive to extending meter hours than the last time around. “I’ve been working on educating folks at City Hall as to the policy rationale and operating benefit of it,” he said. “I think when you just throw something out there, you know — ‘Do you like more taxes? Do you want to pay more for something?’ — everybody, of course, is going to say no.”

Running meters past 6 p.m., however, has drawn more resistance from car commuters who want to park for free after arriving home from work, said Reiskin. But he conceded that there is “an equally compelling argument” for pricing parking during the evening as there is on Sundays, and that “most of the cities across the country” price parking as late as 11 p.m. He also admitted that not metering high-demand parking in the evenings, which often forces drivers to circle for spots and slow down Muni, goes against the city’s transit-first policy.

Still, there’s cause for optimism that the days of evening parking dysfunction might be numbered. Reiskin said some businesses have been asking for evening meter hours, and that the SFMTA may still “pilot” evening meters in some districts “in the next year or two.”

“We’re trying not to do too much at once,” he said. “It was really, frankly, just a pragmatic decision, listening to the feedback we were getting. We’ll do a little bit more due diligence on the evening side before considering really jumping fully into it.”

The budget would also add 500 to 1,000 parking meters throughout business districts where parking is in high demand.

The budget goes to the SFMTA Board of Directors next Tuesday for approval.

  • mikesonn

    So close, just add evenings if there are businesses open nearby!! But thank you for at least proposing Sunday metering.

  • Firestar94127

    The Mission would be the perfect pilot area for evening metering…

  • As would 24th Street in Noe Valley.

  • And 9th & Irving

  • mikesonn

    Just caught this:

    “We’re trying not to do too much at once”

    Hasn’t the cost of Muni monthly passes gone up 40% in the last 4 years? Sounds like a lot in a pretty relative “once”.

    And this: “Reiskin said some businesses have been asking for evening meter hours”

    If businesses expressly asking for evening meter hours won’t get it done, what will?

  • Guest

    Let’s try this.. if we really cant push a unified, citywide policy because too many people are against it then it is to the consumer’s loss if we choose a haphazard parking policy that leaves drivers confused and more likely to be ticketed because they “just didn’t know”. 

    It makes the most sense to have the same time limits citywide but charge rates depending on demand per the SFpark model. If evening demand is low, then make it 25cents or a dollar an hour instead of two. We can find the tipping point. Given SFpark gives you the 4 hour limit or so, extend hours to 9pm. Restaurants one busy commercial corridors could actually benefit as many patrons just dont go because there is no where to park.

    Sadly we’ll have to keep waiting… SF should be leading the pack and if absolutely necessary pilot the extended hours in busy commercial corridors. It’s really worth it, but we need to push the facts. Longer time limits and prices that reflect demand. It’s simple and it makes sense.

    We cant afford not to.

  • potrero

    SFMTA is spending $60 Million a year on overtime. Why not fix that?

  • mikesonn

    I have raised my concerns to the SFMTA board about how the discussion surrounding  extending parking meter hours always comes up during budget discussions. This frames the debate in a monetary manner and opens the door to questions/concerns like this.

    However, we need to be talking about how to correctly manage the very limited resource that is our public right of way space. Furthermore, parking meters were originally designed to create turn over in busy commercial districts. In this respect, I’m very pleased to see businesses inquiring about extending metering and I hope that the SFMTA begins to take an objective look at the handling our street space.

  • Just because some businesses ask for it, that doesn’t mean the business community is asking for it.

  • Anonymous

    In my neighborhood we have a real problem with people using up street parking to park their cars starting on Saturday night and leaving them until Monday morning. That does NOTHING for business owners and many get frustrated when they see the same ones on Irving and some of the side street spaces with meters.

    It is crazy to think that every single person can have a car, and drive right up to the front of the business they are patronizing, get out, do their business, and then hop back in. There are simply not enough spaces to do that. And no, no one is going to demolish homes in neighborhoods to build more parking garages – the land is too expensive and that is NOT going to happen. I think using the on demand pricing more productively would be better for everyone. I also don’t like relying on parking tickets as a revenue source – it’s too risky and that’s not the point – they are supposed to be issued when people are causing real problems (like blocking disabled spaces, etc) not just issued willy nilly because Newsom (and now Lee) loot the agency with bogus work orders.

  • mikesonn

    @OctaviusIII:disqus That’s right, Chamber is probably still very much against their membership’s best interest.

  • The city is already doing “too much” with the Central Subway project, to which SF is contributing $123 million in scarce transit dollars.
    http://centralsubwaysf.com/content/project-fundingbudget 

  • Anonymous

    Totally agree with @mikesonn:disqus  in that the issue is *not* about budgeting but about deciding what is best for our city. The budget needs to be made to fit what works best for our city, not the other way around. Free parking, as this website has pointed out time and time again, has done a lot to destroy the livability of our city by encouraging car driving and hence discouraging walking, cycling, and public transit. So the primary goal here is ending this give-away, with a secondary goal being to reduce the time those that do decide to drive have to spend looking for parking.

  • Aheath333

    The budget is the true issue for the SFMTA and Ed Lee. You should focus your attention on where our money is going. It should be funding transit but it is going to overtime. They are telling you it is a green initiative to get your support for increasing revenue rather than cutting expenses.

  • mikesonn

    @8b1ca4b24413cbd7e68f746a495ebdb6:disqus It’d be nice if you at least read what we wrote.

  • potrero

    I did. I think that you can’t see the forest for the trees. And that’s just what they are hoping will happen. You have valid issues about cars but I think you are being played. This is happening because of money and the SFMTA is grateful for your support.

  • mikesonn

    I know you are upset and part of the reason is that the SFMTA can’t frame their agenda correctly.

  • Davej

    I’ll reluctantly deal with longer meter hours, just make them ALL take debit/credit cards.  Quarters run out fast.  And dimes and nickels – basically give you as much time as it takes to actually feed them into the machine.

  • Anonymous

    I like the fact that Ed Reskin noted that Muni is not free on Sundays as part of the rationalization for Sunday meters. He actually gets ‘Transit First’, it’s refreshing to see.

  • I’m completely in favor of this, and as an occasional driver I’d love to see evening meters in places like along Valencia- some nights, I’d be *more* likely to patronize businesses if I knew I could reliably get a parking spot.

    However, as I’ve noted previously (will try to make it short!), the SF meter plans are still missing a key part of the Donald Shoup model, which is that tangible new benefits should be provided to areas getting new/extended meters- sidewalk steam cleaning, security patrols, landscaping enhancements, etc. Yeah, it’s a little bit of a “bribe,” but it gets us past the “meter money just goes to bloated salaries” argument, and lets the inherent benefits of market-based parking pricing have a chance to work.

    More from Shoup:
    http://www.streetfilms.org/dr-shoup-parking-guru/ 

  • On 24th street the tangible benefit would be a drastic reduction in double parking which blocks the 48. But that doesn’t give a tangible benefit to the driver who is paying the meter, I guess.

  • Make it so.

  • Heatherec

     There are many things missing from the plan!  Sadly, SFMTA is only choosing to implement the portions of Shoup’s theories that benefit them, not residents.  As residents, we will NEVER see any of the improvements you bring up because meter revenue is going to prop up Muni.

  • Heather Cottingham

    Sure, but then we lose 3% to credit card companies!!!  We need more innovative options.

  • mikesonn

    Heather, you say that like residents = drivers when in fact there is a very large portion of carfree households in SF. And how is paying for Muni an improvement in which drivers will never see any benefit from? These are all old hashed out arguments, but you bring up the point that Streetsblog needs a page or article that can be easily referenced when the same responded to comments/questions come up time and again.

  • Sprague

    And Divisadero from Haight to McAllister…

  • Anonymous

    Mikesonn, I said, “we will never see the improvements you bring up.”  Specifically, you mentioned “sidewalk steam cleaning, security patrols, landscaping enhancements.”

    If you’re happy with simply propping up Muni and not getting any of the other benefits you mention, you will not be disappointed! 

    The benefits that the SFMTA talks about are just to distract us from the real problem – $20,000,000+ of red ink.

    Parking meters are a temporary mostly-monetary drop in the bucket.  Notice I didn’t say FIX?  They’re not going to take care of the problems in my neighborhood or the rampant overtime or over-inflated salaries or any of the other problems the SFMTA suffers from.  SFMTA is $20M+ in the red EVERY YEAR.  Parking meters are only estimated to net us $1M two years AFTER they are installed.  How does this add up?

    For the record, I’m a resident and a driver, but I hardly ever drive in the city.  Too much hassle.  I’ll take BART/walking over Muni any day.

    And if these arguments were really hashed out we wouldn’t be having them, would we?  The SFMTA keeps giving us new examples of how they’re incompetent or corrupt.

  • Anonymous

     I think, in this case, the 3% is fully worth it.

  • Anonymous

     I think it would be a very good idea (and demonstrate good faith) for all new meters and new meter hours, including sunday and evening meters, to start at 25c/hour and gradually adjust upward. Mitigates the impact of the change, and gives people several months to adjust their habits as the rates adjust. And there’s really very little reason NOT to do it.

    I don’t think we need the same time limits citywide. I think people are used to there being different rules at different locations, and as long as the meters clearly indicate what’s what, there’s no problem.

  • Anonymous

     If your point is that SFPark isn’t a solution to Muni’s financial problems, then I agree. Muni needs better management, fix its problems with overtime, etc (and I do think there are a few hopeful signs in that direction).

    But so what? SFPark is a solution to parking problems. Sunday metering is a solution to Sunday parking problems. That it results in some extra revenue is ancillary.

  • mikesonn

    HeathereC, I never mentioned any specific items. And managing parking will benefit Muni by removing drivers that are circling for parking, the meter monies is indeed a drop in the bucket compared to reduced operating expenses.

    And again, the SFMTA needs to learn how to frame the discussion. Metering, whether it be weeknight, weekend, or SFPark, needs to be discussed separately from the budget. This is about managing a scarce resource that is in high demand.

  • chanvv

    Many of us going to Chinatown Churches and parking at downtown area on Sundays.
    Church service and activity usually take 3 to 4 hours, how can you ask people to walk down several blocks from Chinatown to Downtown to feed the meter every hour ?

  •  You can’t. That is why SFTMA won’t.

  • mikesonn

    The meter time limits will be extended, this was discussed at a recent SFMTA board meeting.

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