SFMTA Abandons SFPark Expansion in Favor of Conventional Meters

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.

This misleadingly labeled website, ##http://sfpark.info##sfpark.info##, is chock-full of some pretty outlandish claims about SFPark. Should San Francisco bend to this kind of hysteria?

However, SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said the agency is still proposing to install conventional parking meters, which lack the technology that allows the agency to measure demand and adjust prices accordingly. At upcoming community meetings, SFMTA staff will also discuss residential parking permits (RPP), which give residents priority for street parking in those neighborhoods, Rose said.

An SFPark statement reads:

Many neighbors in the 12th & Folsom, 17th & Folsom, Dogpatch, and Potrero Hill areas have expressed uneasiness about being part of the SFpark pilot project until further evaluation of its success. Based on this feedback, the SFMTA will no longer propose for these areas to be included as SFpark pilot areas. As the SFMTA revises parking management proposals for each of these areas, they will reflect regular its [sic] policies and practices.

Are the opponents any less “uneasy” about conventional meters than SFPark meters? Members of the Eastern Neighborhoods United Front (ENUF — get it?), the leading group mobilizing against paying for parking, make a plethora of outrageous claims about SFPark’s motives on their misleadingly labeled website, SFPark.info (though ENUF asserts that it is not officially associated with the website). The group’s opinion of conventional parking meters doesn’t seem any more favorable: according to Mission Local, ENUF organizer John Lum is “not ready to claim victory” since parking meters are still on the table.

But if ENUF is unwilling to accept anything besides the status quo of dysfunctional free parking, then if they ever do claim victory, who else will win? Not the drivers who’ll be circling for parking. Not the residents who’ll be burdened with more traffic in their neighborhood. No one, really, except the vocal contingent who believes free street parking is a “right.”

  • Biggus_Diggus

    Each new meter in a mixed use area like NE Mission, Dogpatch, Portrero is a gentrification device. 

    Keep in mind that many people rented their apartments, opened businesses, and rented art studios based on the current parking plan.  Along comes the MTA and their Smart Meter solution looking for problems.

    Suddenly the guy that chose his apartment because he could park his car on the street and drive to work has a choice.  He can get up two hours earlier to please certain activists that insist he take public transportation.  Or he can move out of San Francisco, freeing up his rent controlled apartment for someone wealthier to move in.

    We notice in the neighborhood that many of the  mid-1990s Japanese econo-box cars  that used to be on our streets have been replaced by Benzes, Audis, and Beemers.  Those people can certainly afford to pay a meter around the clock.  That means the rich can take their personal chariots all over town, and what’s left of the middle class and working class must take MUNI or ride their bikes. 

    SFMTA has essentially social engineered through meters.

    Parking is so hard in this city that many sensible people don’t own cars.  Many own cars and don’t drive them for fear of losing their parking spot.  If you offer public transit alternatives that are effective and appealing — if you present the carrot before the stick — then people will do the sensible thing.  I can already see it through the vast numbers of people biking.

    I don’t trust the SFMTA to social engineer the neighborhood that so many of us have worked so hard to bring up from a virtual skid row.

  • mikesonn

    “We notice in the neighborhood that many of the  mid-1990s Japanese econo-box cars  that used to be on our streets have been replaced by Benzes, Audis, and Beemers.”

    Wait, the meters are already in? Or has the gentrification that you say the meters will bring already started before the metering?

  • SFer

    By your logic a Muni fare is a tax, and my taxes have gone up drastically in the last 2 years while yours have not changed at all.

  • Biggus_Diggus

     This is an observation based on new meters installed on 17th St. in the last year or so. 

  • Bob

    Actually, yes. A Muni fare is a tax because it is levied by a government and punishable under the law for not paying it. Its not logic, its the definition of the word. And you assume that I don’t ride Muni which I do every day to get to work. Maybe don’t make so many assumptions about people you don’t know anything about and your point will come across better.

  • Bob

    @f84b22d3acf35e1589e626b8e51fe1a4:disqus Because if you lost 50, you’d have none left. Then what would you do?

  • Bob


    “what about the poor who this will unfairly disadvantage” or “but we want more and better public transit” when, before this incident, they cared about none of this things”

    That’s a huge assumption about people you don’t know that is not true. ENUF has members that are on the MTA CAC as well as former BoS candidates (who almost won), and long standing members and leaders of neighborhood groups such as the Potrero Boosters, Dogpatch Neighborhood Association, and the list goes on. Maybe if you stop making assumptions about people you don’t know anything about people will take your arguments more seriously. Otherwise you’re just setting up straw men.

  • peternatural

    No, MUNI fare is not a tax and neither is the cost of parking at a meter. Both are just the price of a certain good or service. Both can be avoided without penalty if you choose not to partake of the good or service. If you have to twist language so far to paint yourself as a victim, you come off sounding ridiculous.

  •  So 1 year ago the neighborhood flipped just like that! Magic!

  • If you offer public transit alternatives that are effective and appealing — if you present the carrot before the stick.

    I would like to see the various efforts that ENUF has put into public transit. That would be quite enlightening.

  • mikesonn

    @twitter-14678929:disqus ENUF has Marcos, savior to Muni.

    See @73bdea248974763143310efa364a47b8:disqus ‘s comment here:
    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2012/04/04/sfmta-abandons-sfpark-expansion-in-favor-of-conventional-meters/#comment-489028866 

  • Anonymous

    These ENUF people seem to have some sort of rabies that makes them insane.

  • Anonymous

    @73bdea248974763143310efa364a47b8:disqus  You are right, it is an assumption. But I’ll stand by it for the vast majority of the people who are “outraged” by this. I’m not saying there aren’t people out there who care about these other things, but they are the minority. (Plus, I think if you really care about these things, you realize that putting a price on driving that is at least more than free is one of the best things you can do for the long term viability of *any* urban neighborhood … that’s why I said the inconsistency of the arguments I hear shows me that people haven’t thought this through and are just knee-jerking to having to pay more.) Most people just jump on the bandwagon when they here they are going to have to pay more and have never once fought for the poor or public transit in their neighborhood before. Sure, it’s my opinion and that’s all, but this is the default behavior in our car-centric culture.

  • This will lead to more tickets, as sfpark meters take credit cards and SF city parking meters only take coins or parking cards that have to be prepaid. There’s some talk about being able to pay with a phone, but I don’t think it’s working yet.

  • Dackerma2000

    SFMTA has become nothing more than a burden to the people who make an attempt to live and work in San Francisco.   While other cities try to increase economic growth SF tries to kick companies and people out of the city.  Those who run SFMTA need to go to rehab as they are living a pipe dream.

  • Bob

    It’s interesting that you still haven’t corrected this story even after being in touch with John Lum directly as well as so many folks stating that the crazy website isn’t associated with ENUF. Journalistic integrity at its finest.

  • Bob

    You’re right. I stand corrected. In the proposals from SFPark for the three neighborhoods in question, there was no mention about the meters changing rates throughout the day, they were to be $2.00 per hour all day initially, and then they revised that number to $.25 per hour all day after the pushback. I’ve never used an SFPark meter since I rarely drive within SF, but the initial plan had them right outside my front door. It would actually have made it cheaper for me to stop taking Muni  and start driving everywhere to save the $62/mo. for the fastpass plus daily meter charges of $2.50 a day to leave my car at home. It provided an incentive to start driving more! To clarify, I’m not at all against paying to park my car on the street (the same way every other neighborhood does with RPP, even if they increase the price for everyone to a more rational level) and think meters in busy commercial areas make good sense to increase turnover and create a further dis-incentive to driving. I just think in residential areas they are not the best option to manage parking and that they shouldn’t be treating these areas differently than other areas of SF. 

    I am aware that once the prices are set, the adjustments can only be in 25 cent increments every six weeks, and was referring to the SFMTA being able to set the initial price to whatever they want, within the ranges set in the four official parking meter zones laid out in the San Francisco Transportation Code, Division II, Article 400. The SFPark pilot zones, which are legislated separately, the range is $.25-$6.00 per hour with special event pricing allowed to go as high as $18 per hour. 

  • Bob

    Use google street view to look at almost any area in the Dogpatch neighborhood slated for meters (try the areas between 20th and 22nd on Tennessee or Minnesota). They even wanted to meter around Esprit Park which would have made it the only park in SF with parking meters. There are a couple of office buildings and some light industrial (it is a PDR neighborhood after all) in the area. There is no retail that would need the turnover which is the justification for the meters with the exception of 22nd Street, which has some retail and maybe meters might make sense there, but not the residential areas. You’ll also hear most of the residents in these areas tell you that there is no parking problem which is true. I’ve never had to park more than a block from my house in Dogpatch and I’ve very rarely had to go around the block more than once to find a spot in the many years I’ve lived here.

  • Bob

    I suppose you could argue with the legal definition of the word tax, but I’m not twisting any language, it’s widely available (try Wikipedia for instance, which is where I copied it from without “twisting” or altering it in any way). Any tax can be avoided without penalty by not partaking in a good or service or engaging in activities that result in a tax. For instance the gas tax, cigarette tax, property tax, alcohol tax, payroll tax, income tax (if you don’t have income above a certain level),  etc. All of them can be avoided without penalty, but they all still fall under the definition of a tax. I agree that parking tickets or Muni fares or meter fees are not traditionally referred to as taxes, but they also fall under the definition (with the exception of parking meters in Chicago, but that’s another story). There is no conspiracy to distort or twist anything. You can remove the tin foil hat.

    Without getting too deeply into it, since in the US, no government agency is allowed to engage in commercial activity because it might distort competition (because that would be *gasp* socialism), they cannot “charge” for goods and services. They can only levy taxes. I am sorry this seems so ridiculous to you. I do not make the laws or necessarily agree with them.

  • mikesonn

    Bob, you are aware there is a Caltrain station a block away form the segment you listed and not to mention a couple businesses on Tennessee and Minnesota.

  • Bob – Pennsylvania between 22nd and Cesar Chavez. No residences. Overtaxed parking.

    The reason the residents don’t have trouble parking on Minnesota is that they come home after the commuters have started to leave. Midday – zoo.

  • Bob

    @mikesonn:disqus Yes. A COUPLE of businesses, but no retail that requires parking turnover. This is San Francisco. There are very few blocks that are purely residential or purely commercial, especially in mixed use PDR zones and live/work zones. The Caltrain Station does present a problem, but I don’t think that blanketing the entire area with meters is the solution. There is no Muni service to that station that I am aware of, which would be a good start to dealing with it but would only go so far. There are large stretches along Iowa St. without any residences next to that station where metered parking might be appropriate for commuters (although Bevan Dufty raised some concerns about this regarding the amount they are allowed to charge for Caltrain parking since too high prices creates a disincentive to take it), but they could easily make the other residential areas of Tennessee and Minnesota RPP.
     @twitter-14678929:disqus Of course there are some non-residential areas in the plans, although I don’t think any of the plans extend as far south as past 24th. I certainly never said the all of the plans (Pennsylvania is considered Potrero, not Dogpatch) were only in residential areas or that there aren’t places that might benefit from meters. I’m not entirely sure that’s true about it being a zoo, since the actual residents will disagree with you, but if it is so much of a zoo then why not use RPP to manage the parking in the residential areas like every other neighborhood does? Why should this area be treated differently?

  • mikesonn

    “There is no Muni service to that station that I am aware of”

    I hope you aren’t a rep for ENUF…

  • Bob

    @jd_x:disqus So exactly what level of service must the average citizen achieve before they are deemed worthy of having a valid opinion? What is the cutoff of number of hours of community service? What if they focused on some other issue first? Does that still count? Does the worth of one person’s opinion outweigh someone else’s if they have lobbied for more hours on an issue? What self-righteous, elitist nonsense. 

    And you believe the cure for our “car-centric” culture is blanketing these areas with parking meters? Yeah, that’ll fix it for sure. 

    As far as inconsistency of arguments, in any large group of people (especially San Franciscans) there will be a variety of opinions and reasons for having them. Just because they don’t all say the exact same thing doesn’t mean they are all disingenuous.

  • Bob

    Hell no. I rep only myself, and don’t claim to do that well.

    Ah. Yes. The 48. How could I forget that marvel of efficiency. Okay, there is 1 Muni line that stops at the 22nd. St. Caltrain station. That. Changes. Everything. Bring on the parking meters!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t hear a whole lot from these neighborhoods about improving MUNI or helping the poor … until SFPark wants to put meters in. I have seen nothing in the news about improving MUNI or helping the poor from these neighborhoods, but try to put meters in, and now the whole damn city hears about it.

    In 5 years of riding Caltrain from 22nd St, I can’t think of a single time I’ve seen flyers posted there about anything (like the massive service cuts a few years back, fare increases, etc.) … except for when SFPark wants to add parking meters (and, by the way, there point wasn’t that they wanted better MUNI or to help the poor, they just didn’t think they should have to pay for parking and explicitly said so). And Caltrain commuters are far from being poor. And that strip of parking on Pennsylvania and elsewhere nearby is the perfect candidate for meters. Right now those commuters pay nothing for parking. How does that make sense

    Again, all these signs point to a movement that just doesn’t want to pay for parking and is trying to appropriate other causes to reach that end. I’m not saying that aren’t individuals in this movement that work towards more noble goals, but the neighborhood in a general sense has shown little interest in these things before, and the only thing that gets them worked up enough to draw city-wide attention is having to pay for parking.

    And sure, maybe there is an issue with meters being in areas that are residential. Fine, I’ll give the movement that point as certainly being worth debating. But don’t make it about anything other than people just don’t want to pay for parking and deal with meters. And we certainly can do without the drama … people will get used to the changes in parking and still continue to want to live and hang out there, just like in all the other neighborhoods throughout the city where you have to pay for parking.

  • Anonymous

    Can somebody just link to a map that shows where they are planning on putting meters in the Dogpatch/Potrero?

  • mikesonn

    @jd_x:disqus It was posted by @HeathereC:disqus : https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0RugHB7yyFaZVk4eG9scV9STjZCT0xyR1BOMWpRZw/edit?pli=1

    @73bdea248974763143310efa364a47b8:disqus 48x would do wonders. The T-Third is a block away. But yeah, you are right, this is San Francisco, we don’t need meters. We are so different than another place in the entire world. Cars FTW!

  • mikesonn

    @jd_x:disqus I think most of us can see thru the BS. Most of ENUF (or whatever they are or are representing) don’t have a clue about where the meters are going, what is near said meters, etc. I’m still waiting for a map that shows their main concerns. I will probably disagree with them, but at least we’ll start talking about actual place instead of platitudes about meters in “residential areas” (whatever that means).

    This conversation has hit a dead end. Until ENUF or some other upset party can present some solid evidence with legitimate arguments, it is all just a bunch of BS amounting to a group of people who don’t want to pay for something they have previously gotten for free. Plain and simple.

  • mikesonn

    @73bdea248974763143310efa364a47b8:disqus You need to look at CA’s definition of tax vs fee.

  • mikesonn

    @73bdea248974763143310efa364a47b8:disqus Produce a map. This is just getting ridiculous.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen the map Heather posted, but it is in the Mission. I though we were talking about the Dogpatch and Potrero, and none of that is in the link she posted.

  • mikesonn

    Oh yes, you are correct.

    Any map will do. I think the only example we’ve got from anyone (associated with ENUF or not) is the “areas between 20th and 22nd on Tennessee or Minnesota” posted by @73bdea248974763143310efa364a47b8:disqus . 

  • Biggus_Diggus

     While I support many of the aims of this site, it obviously exists to preach to a choir.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Signatures Grow for Petition Supporting SFPark Expansion

|
Update (Sept. 11, 7:53 p.m.): The pro-meter petition now has 197 signatures. ENUF’s anti-meter petition has 199. It’s pretty easy to find people who want to perpetuate the free parking giveaway on SF streets, despite the traffic and street dysfunction that result. But it turns out that it’s also not that hard to find people […]

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. The SFPark program’s Mission Bay Parking Management Strategy is “meant to address the existing severe parking availability issues and to get […]

All Meters Now SFpark-Ready — More Demand-Based Parking Pricing to Come

|
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, […]

SFpark Releases Pilot Report, Considers Giving Revenue to Local Streets

|
SFpark has released new comprehensive stats collected during its two-year pilot program phase, documenting the numerous benefits that it garnered by pricing parking according to demand. SFpark is being watched closely by cities around the world, since it’s the first program to thoroughly test demand-based parking pricing principles first professed by UCLA’s Donald Shoup. But the […]

SFMTA Abandons Parking Meter Plans in Dogpatch and Potrero Hill

|
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 […]