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.”

  • Zack

    My “favorite” comment from their website: 

    “For most people over 40 riding a bike, or walking is not a viable alternative to driving. Mayor Ed Lee shouldn’t really be excited to show the world this anti-business debacle. His support of this Job-Killing project could, and should be his downfall.  Middle age people are more likely to drive, own property, and vote.”I don’t recall seeing a lot of 40 year olds who can’t walk or ride a bike.  Come on, at least be realistic and just admit you’re lazy and addicted to driving your stupid cars.  I love that even in the “liberal bastion” of SF you can’t get people to accept change when it comes to parking and driving.  I often wonder – what’s worse, the conservatives who don’t “believe” in climate change or liberals who do but do nothing to actually make the changes we need.

  • jw

    Who wrote this article, someone from the MTA? This sounds like something straight out of the “one size fits all” thinking that prevails around there. Wake up Aaron, there are no parking problems in many areas where MTA claims that people are circling (like most of Potrero Hill) and no one has said that they will not accept meters in locations where they make sense i.e. in front of retail businesses. You are practicing the same hyperbole that you ascribe to the sfpark.info site. Incidentally, there is quite a bit of misleading stuff on the sfpark.org site as well.

  • Bob

    ENUF is a neighborhood organization and is not affiliated with that website. Nor are they all against paying for parking. Many of the members have voiced opposition to the idea of putting meters in front of their houses, but absolutely support metering appropriate areas. Maybe you should have contacted them before writing such an erroneous piece. 

  • You must have a lot of free time on your hands to develop all these outlandish and fantastical ideas.

  • TL

    Let me see if I can find a tin hat in your size.

  • Guest

    Rocking journalism, Aaron, way to contact primary sources who might disagree with you to get other sides of the story.

    ENUF supports RPP in residential zones line every other residential neighborhood. 

    We demand that the MTA take into account the unique streetside footprints of local businesses in the nonresidential parts of our neighborhoods when designing parking controls because it is City policy to retain PDR businesses.

    The last paragraph is a kicker, citing the motives of others without giving them the journalistic courtesy of contacting anyone.  Now you can ban me again.

    Marc Salomon

  • Guest

    Oh, yeah, ENUF is an emerging coalition of several neighborhood groups in the Eastern Neighborhoods.  Founding members are the Northeast Mission, Potrero and Dogpatch neighbors. 

    ENUF will be participating in the five year reassessment of the 2008 rezoning of the Eastern Neighborhoods at which existing residents and our neighborhoods were viewed as problems to be solved, as opponents of developer give aways to be frozen out of the process instead of as partners.

    SFPark is yet another example of municipal disrespect for our established neighborhoods after Eastern Neighborhood.  The nonprofits have company when it comes to representing our east side neighborhoods.

  • cheeseportation

    I live in (and walk, bike, drive, and take transit) in one of the areas proposed for SFpark meter expansion and am disappointed this is no longer on the table. However, i’m not just disappointed in the ENUF folks, I’m also disappointed that this seemed to fall through the cracks of most of the other advocacy groups advocating for livable streets improvements for one mode or another. Finally, i’m also disappointed in SFMTA for mishandling the public process and having it backfire so badly. there are so many opportunities to better sell parking pricing to the public. this area would be a perfect opportunity to establish a parking benefit district, where the revenue generated by the new meters would fund improvements within the same geographic area.

  • Guest, posting as Marc Solomon

    The MTA will not direct meter revenues into neighborhoods with meters as per Shoup’s model.  

    Let’s see the MTA propose SFPark in residential neighborhoods with median incomes as far above the city median as these residential neighborhoods are below it.

    Senior MTA staff said at yesterday’s Budget Balancing panel that revenues from extended hours could not go to beefing up Muni service during Sundays and evenings when transit can service can be most sparse  

    They also said that the revenues from the 500 new meters were too low to be considered a budget balancing matter, this was just about policy, after wasting everyone’s budget time considering it.  

    That bait and switch is bureaucratic abuse and manipulation that only widens the divide between the agency and San Franciscans, like the SFPark to regular meters bait and switch.

  • All our neighborhood ever wanted was decent outreach, an opportunity to share our knowledge with SFMTA, and ability to collaborate on a sensible parking management plan.

    Their plan was ill-informed, outrageous, and injurious to our community.

  • Anonymous

    all you have to do stop reasonable change is to be loud and to lie lie lie. Stick ’em with the regular meters and make ’em pay. SFPark would have allowed for LOWER prices during non-peak times. But supposedly liberal, smart SF says no! 

  • The Greasybear

    Motorist entitlement + NIMBYs = ENUF

  • Nicky

    FYI, SFPark.info is NOT the website for the ENUF movement.  The ENUF website is still in development.  And ENUF wants the SFMTA to listen to and work with the communities to develop hybrid parking plans that include meters. We are not simply against all meters.  Get your story straight Aaron.  Perhaps you should talk to one of the spokespeople for ENUF before assuming what we’re about.

  • If the City did decent outreach, heard your knowledge, collaborated with you, and the result was parking meters, what excuse would you dial up then?

  • srb711

    Absolutely AGREE!  Most of us in these neighborhoods would like to work with SFMTA on a plan that makes sense for everyone, including one that will contribute to SFMTA’s financial needs and support our transportation system.  But shoving an ill thought-out plan down our throats, which will negatively impact thousands of residents and small businesses, failing to perform proper outreach to our communities and lying to us about several very important details in the plan are the reasons why we are all in this mess.  This is why SFMTA has had to  back peddle and apologize to us at a community meeting back in January.  And by the way, I am a car owner (bicycle owner too) and WANT to own a car in the city and have EVERY right to such ownership. I should not have to feel bullied by the politics of others who see automobiles as a bad thing and have made the decision themselves to not own a car. 

  • Bob

    How is regressive taxation through parking meters in lower income residential neighborhoods liberal? Increasing the cost of living in these neighborhoods is a quick way to gentrify them for the developers who have run SF for so many years. Smart change would involve improving the MUNI and alternative transit to the point where cars were truly optional. That would be the progressive solution. The worst are those who think they are liberal but support regressive options when smarter, more equitable alternatives are everywhere. 

  • Sebra Leaves

    My head is spinning with the number of things I have heard come out of
    the mouths of SFMTA and SFPark people. I don’t know what to believe. We mail a
    letter requesting a response and get none. Then we read an article
    claiming we are not being reasonable in our request to set up a schedule to work with SFMTA. How are WE are the
    difficult ones.

    It may be time to reconsider Ammiano’s 2008 proposal to
    take back some of the authority vested in SFMTA. They have done nothing
    to improve Muni, and have failed to balance the budget, which is why they are given the extra revenue and responsibility to start with.

  • Bob

    All ENUF asked for was to be involved in the planning process since we don’t think parking meters are the best solution to parking management, especially in developing and lower income PDR areas. The MTA response of using “regular” meters is just stupid, but most likely a way for them to save money since smart meters are much more expensive and don’t generate any more revenue.

    You also misunderstand how SFPark meters work. They don’t change prices by time of day or for “peak” hours. They change prices once every six weeks (as mandated in the legislation) based on sensor data and managerial discretion. The MTA can set the prices to whatever they want (within legislated ranges) regardless of what type of meter is involved. But the higher the price, the quicker and more drastic the gentrification.

  • SFer

    (whoops! Accidentally “liked” Bob’s comment when I meant to hit reply– please disregard one of those)

    This is not taxation, it’s a usage fee. If you don’t want to pay, don’t put your car on the street. If you want to pretend that parking meters affect everyone then let anyone use them whether they have a car or not (sometimes I need a place to set heavy things for a few minutes, but I can’t even sit an rest on the sidewalk anymore).

    I have meters in front of my house (tenderloin) and I don’t live on a commercial street. I feel no pity for spoiled motorists

  • SFer

    You DO have every right to own a car here, Guest (if that is your real name). You will have to pay for it, though. Pay for gas, pay for registration, pay for insurance, and pay to store it.

  • srb711

    Yes.  Aaron — you really need to speak with us (ENUF members) if you want to correctly understand our predicament, ideas and willingness to find a good solution for all.  You are misquoting us (i.e. John Lum) and making assumptions that are false.  ENUF does not believe that free street parking is a “right” and we are not asking for free parking, nor are we opposed to meters in the appropriate areas.  Please get to know us.  The door is open.

  • srb711

    @ SFer: You are correct.  I would like to PAY for storing my car, like other residents do in SF, through a Residential Parking Permit zone.  Thousands of us were being denied this in SFMTA’s plan which designated an extremely small number of RPP parking spots. 

  • SFer

    @Guest, residential parking permits are required to cost no more than it takes to aid oater the program. You then get free use of public real estate. It’s not the same as paying to occupy the road space. It’d be like buying a house for just the property taxes (admittedly a bad metaphor, but I hope you get my point).

  • SFer

    *sorry, that should be “administer” not “aid oater”

  • srb711

    Wow…SFer.  Go do some yoga or take a double dose of percocet.  Let us decide what is good for our community.  You can stay in the tenderloin with your parking meters and your asinine attitude.  Leave us alone.

  • mikesonn

    ENUF makes me think of this.

    “If you wanted to join the ENUF, you’d have to really hate the SFMTA.”
    “I do!”
    “Oh yeah? How much?”
    “A LOT!”
    “Alright, you’re in.”

  • mikesonn

    Actually Bob, SFPark meters do charge different rates for different times of day. The overall adjustment happens every 6 weeks, and adjustments can only be by a delta of 25 cents. Fight on!

  • Guest111

    So the neighbors are angry if the MTA puts new meters in when they assume it is to balance the budget and they also don’t like them going in under the guise of good policy. Sounds like they’re pulling a Romney.

  • Shotwellian

    So, wait, is the website part of the organization or not? If it is, then they sound a bit loony. If not, then they’re not very much of a unified front, are they?

  • Smart change would involve improving the MUNI and alternative transit to the point where cars were truly optional.

    How do you intend to pay for this? How about… charging for parking?

  • peternatural

     Apparently, most people over 40 are obese, arthritic cripples.

  • SFer

    @srb711, San Francisco is one city and what you do in you neighborhood actually affects the rest of us (or do you never drive through te TL, with it’s pseudo-freeways in a neighborhood with almost no St ownership).

    I can’t afford a car so I don’t actually care if there are parking meters or not. But why should you be the only ones who can use the public property in that area? We all live in this city. All our taxes are lumped together. Those streets are just as much mine as yours.

  • SFer

    …and while you have the right to own a car, nobody has the right to take it on public streets (that’s why you have to get a drivers license, which can be taken away from you).

  • Anonymous

    srb711, you would think that SF Streetsblog would be a forum that would seriously study urban predicaments and find solutions that address everyone’s needs, but you would be wrong.  SF Streetsblog a place where people point fingers and call names at people who don’t think like them.  They should really change the name to SF Bikeblog.  It would be more descriptive.

  • mikesonn

    I’m still waiting for ENUF or sfpark.info to produce a map which shows exactly where the SFMTA’s plan was so wrong. I hear a lot of “metering in residential areas”, but have yet to see any evidence produced. @pchazzz:disqus It’d be nice if, besides ranting, those “that don’t think” like other Streetsblog commenters (whatever that means) actually brought something to the table to have a serious discussion about. So far all I’m seeing is ramblings and tin-foil-hat conspiracy theories along with the usual “we didn’t get any public outreach” even though the SFMTA is now bending over backwards to accommodate.

  • Anonymous

    Shotwellian, the website does NOT speak for the organization.  It is the website of an individual. 

  • Anonymous

    Aaron, have you been been to ANY of the ENUF meetings? Or talked to John Lum,
    whom you quoted from another source?  If you had done either of these
    things you would know what ENUF stands for. 

  • Anonymous

    Reading the comments here (and elsewhere) from those who support ENUF and are against the MTAs plans, I guess the point I take away is: a lot of inconsistency. I feel like the people against MTAs plan have some valid points, but those valid ones are mixed with ones that I think just reflect a self-centeredness that purely wants to protect their subsidized car-centric ways but try to appropriate a more noble cause, e.g., “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. This inconsistency is always a red flag for me that means ulterior motives are really driving the debate. I think most people are simply flinching as a knee jerk reaction to suddenly having to pay for something they didn’t used to have to pay for, and in the attempt to avoid flat-out admitting this, they struggle to latch on to and appropriate other reasons why this is a bad idea. The end result is inconsistency.

    Again, not to say that they don’t have any good points. I think having metering in front of purely residential areas is certainly something that can (and should) be debated, though it’s important to note that there are many cases throughout the city where residential areas that are directly adjacent to or in commercial areas have to deal with meters, so no need to make unvalidated claims that this will somehow drastically change the area (it really won’t).

  • Anonymous

    Oh, and part of what I’m talking about is perfectly demonstrated by that horrible poster shown above. The issue there has nothing to do with what is happening in the eastern neighborhoods. Instead, the issue in that case was that commuters were parking there, leaving their car there all day, then taking Caltrain down south. And they were doing this for free. Then they added meters so people can’t do that anymore with paying a lot (can you prepay for a whole day? Not sure how it works …) or getting ticketed for over-running the meter. That is not at all the dynamic in the eastern neighborhoods. And from what I’ve heard from those against the MTA’s plans, they should be in support of these meters on Townsend since it’s not residential and they have all stated that free parking doesn’t make sense. So to be against that, this just comes across as inconsistent.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    have you been been to ANY of the ENUF meetings
    Personally I’d rather not lose the 50 IQ points that would entail.

    Listen to and work with the communities!
    My head is spinning!

  • Anonymous

    ENUF isn’t saying free parking is a right.  ENUF is saying FAIR parking
    is a right.  Why are the poor and middle class neighborhoods being
    targeted for meters?  If they’re going to senselessly meter residential
    streets, I want to see meters – or at least PLANS for meters – in Pac
    Hights and Cow Hollow.   And I’m not talking about in front of
    businesses, I’m want to see them in front of people’s homes.

    What do you think would happen in those neighborhoods?  Do you think
    residents would roll over and take it?  No, they would quietly call
    their friends in city govt or their business associations and take
    action.  We are simply taking a grass roots approach. It’s something SF
    is known for so I’m baffled as to how anyone at the SFMTA could be

    My guess is that the SFMTA choose our neighborhoods thinking that we
    were a “done deal.”  Their outreach and original attitudes in dealing
    with residents speak to that.  They claimed metering was because of
    traffic congestion, but they have only anecdotal evidence to back that
    up. If we’re putting parking meters in based on anecdotal evidence,
    there are stories from all over the city, not just M, P, & DP.

  • BK

    Great stuff, Aaron.  I was sympathetic to some of the ENUF commenters after reading complaints that you didn’t report their side of the story.  But after looking at their ridiculous, misleading website, I have absolutely zero sympathy for them.  Way to contribute to an honest debate, ENUF.  Take down that website and maybe people will start taking you guys more seriously.

  • mikesonn

    Can you point to a map, ANY map, and show me where the SFMTA plans (or planned or might plan) to put a meter “in front of people’s homes”?

  • The dogpatch is a poor/middle class neighborhood? Portrero Hill? Maybe 20 years ago but that ship has sailed. If they put meters in there, going to be some parking tickets on a lot of BMWs and Mercedes.

  • Anonymous

    MikeSonn They’ve since taken all the different SFPark neighborhood proposals off their website (or I just can’t find them), but here is a link to my copy.

    The map is on pg 15.


  • mikesonn

    I’ve seen the maps. I want to hear which blocks are of concern, specifically.

  • srb711

    @ BK and jd_x:  Thanks for your thoughtful comments.  As a member of ENUF, I see your point clearly about the misleading website.  But please be aware, the website you are referring to is NOT ours.  Our website has only one page with no information yet and states that it is “Under Construction”.  There are a few websites opposed to the SFMTA parking meter plans that were developed independently.  ENUF did not endorse, develop or get involved with these websites.  But I believe that some of the authors of those sites are members of our group or at least participate in our email group — we are a very large group comprised of citizens from several large neighborhoods.  A core group, of this larger group, is managing communication with SFMTA and engaged in working collectively with them to find solutions that will be appropriate for our neighborhoods, as well as SFMTA’s budget needs, transit-first policies etc…  We can’t control or monitor the philosophies and grievances of all the members of the group, but we are working on getting our collective message out and better understood.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the clarification.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with @mikesonn:disqus that we need to stop talking vagaries and start showing examples. I can’t tell from looking at the maps in @HeathereC:disqus ‘s link where exactly there are meters in residential areas. Can somebody clarify this?

  • Bob

    @8d10b7eff74566923270734eea223235:disqus, To tax (from the Latin taxo; “I estimate”) is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity) by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many administrative divisions. 
    So tell me again how parking meters are not a tax?