Today’s Headlines

  • SFMTA to Ease Deficit With More Parking Enforcement (SFGateSF Examiner)
  • Free Muni for Kids Project Facing MTC Funding Roadblock (SFBG)
  • Bottom Line: Construction Beyond Mid-Market to Make Region “More Walkable and Vibrant”
  • New Doyle Drive Funding Complete Via $150M Federal Loan (City Insider)
  • Central Subway Blog Details Next Three Weeks’ Construction, Traffic Impacts
  • Examiner.com: Congestion Pricing “Makes Sense” to Ease Traffic, Increase Safety in SF
  • Expanded Metering, Event Premiums Considered at Mission Bay Parking Workshop (Examiner.com)
  • BART Board Member Resigns to Take Job as BART Access Manager (SFGateCoCo Times)
  • Oakland Man Killed in Hit-and-Run While Trying to Stop Fight (KTVUCoCo Times)
  • Elderly Woman Injured in Van Ness Hit-and-Run Still Unidentified (SFGate)
  • Tiburon Transit Workshops Result in Multi-Modal Recommendations (Greater Marin)
  • BART.gov Asks for Public Comment on 12 Mile Bike/Ped “East Bay Greenway” Draft EIR

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

Streetsblog will be on a light publishing schedule today.

  • mikesonn

    SFGate with a nice loaded headline there re parking enforcement.

    Again, it isn’t so hard, don’t want a ticket then don’t park illegally. People have just been getting away with it for so long that they feel they are doing nothing wrong.

  • Fran Taylor

    The top story mentions that SFMTA will increase enforcement of residential parking, with no mention of sidewalk parking (perhaps this just reflects the Chronicle’s bias). In 2011, the city issued 169,203 tickets for residential parking, even though such tickets require two trips to nail the time violation, affect only certain streets at limited hours, and may potentially avenge one other driver who’s inconvenienced while seeking that space. In contrast, only 23,737 tickets were written for sidewalk parking, which affects every street 24/7 and physically endangers every person walking on that street. So we already have a 7 to 1 ratio showing how little SFMTA cares about pedestrians, and now they’re going to crank up residential parking enforcement? Will they ever acknowledge that people have a right to carfree sidewalks?

  • Anonymous

    I think the emphasis is not so much on parking enforcement, but on MTA/s ballooning costs:

    “The agency, which controls Muni, parking and traffic, faces a $19.8 million deficit over the next two years due in large part to labor negotiations that failed to yield the concessions that had been projected when the budget was passed in April. Instead of wringing $14.6 million in savings out of five unions representing maintenance, clerical and management workers, the agency will spend about $3 million over two years.”

  • +1

    While reading the story and knowing where the SFMTA focuses their enforcement, it seems like they are trying to serve the purpose of revenue collection, not parking management/safety, except that clearly they could be cleaning up the $$$ if they focused on sidewalk parking. The problem is that focusing on sidewalk parking hurts pedestrians, and RPP violations hurt drivers. Brutal.

  • mikesonn

    Sidewalk parking really gets me because it is nearly always in a curb cut. Why doesn’t the driver just parallel park in front of the cut, they are already blocking the driveway and at least pedestrians could get by. Obviously the answer is that they are lazy and, with zero enforcement, there is no incentive to put in the extra effort.

  • Anonymous

    Do staff from SFBC and WalkSF have regular meetings with SFPD on enforcement issues? Would SFPD be willing to do this?  That sort of communication might help improve the balance of traffic enforcement to protect safety for the large number of people who walk and bike in SF.

  •  Complain. Sting starts. Matier and Ross report. Lee calls Suhr. Sting stops. QED.

  • Kevin

    I think the East Bay Greenway is sorely needed, I’m surprised it hasn’t been done sooner. There are almost no side streets to International Blvd, the most direct route to get anywhere in East Oakland. This greenway shadows International for quite a bit. I’m assuming it’s being planned around the BART suspended rail, which is a great use of space. I hope this isn’t finished some ridiculous time in the future, like 2016.

  • voltairesmistress

     Right on the money, pchazzz.

  • mikesonn

    Ed Lee is the reason for that $3 million hit instead of $14.6 million in savings.

  • Eugene

     Depends if Rob Anderson gets wind of it – if so, figure a few more years to get his lawsuit and appeals filed, processed, and dismissed.

  • voltairesmistress

     Mike, You are right that Ed Lee’s cozy relations with the city’s public employee unions created the SFMTA budget hole.  But as another commenter points out, that resulting labor cost should be patched with the city’s general fund.

    When the SFMTA increases enforcement of certain existing rules (neighborhood permit parking, for example), it should be doing so because signs and existing enforcement are not creating the desired effect — just enough parking availability for residents.  But because metered parking, garage parking taxes, and now residential permit areas are not just for turnover, but also for agency revenue, the temptation is just too great: the agency uses parking citations not to maximize turnover, transit use, or livability, but merely to raise money for the agency.

    I understand the SFMTA’s mission statement is transit first, but this type of money grubbing has but an attenuated connection to any such goal.

  • Anonymous

    The first segment of the greenway (75th to 85th Aves) has actually already been designed and funded via a federal Tiger II grant, and construction should begin fairly soon. Unfortunately the selection of this as the first segment was made without consulting the city’s bike/ped planner first, and it is right off a busy truck route with not enough right-of-way on the path for much greenery or amenities. However, the intersections are getting some pretty nice features like green-painted crossings and automated signalization for bike and ped traffic. 

    My hope is that this portion of the greenway won’t sour people’s concept for the potential of the path as a whole, as most of the additional sections will have better connectivity and more space to work with. There will also be opportunities in the future to upgrade this initial segment, or engage the community to install artwork or landscaping.

  • mikesonn

    It really depends on how you look at it. You are coming from the windshield perspective that the SFMTA has their hand in your pocket. I’m coming from the perspective that the SFMTA finally is employing more people to enforce all the rules that the drivers are breaking.

  • voltairesmistress

     Mike, mine is not a “windshield” perspective.  Rather, I take a larger view.  The rules do not exist for rules’ sake, but rather to create an environment that makes using the streets workable for everybody.  Therefore, enhanced enforcement to generate revenue, rather than for the greater purpose of managing street use rationally, does not enhance the City experience for anyone.  And that includes neighbors, visitors,  walkers, transit users, drivers, etc.

  • Mom on a bike

    You are hardly taking a ‘larger view’ in that you continue to not understand that proper parking enforcement increases turnover—>gets cars off the street—>makes transit run better—>makes streets safer—>everybody wins.

  • mikesonn

    @732c4803eb2e277d0054b17154744686:disqus If you read more than the headline, you would have seen this:

    “Ed Reiskin, the city’s transportation director, said the new officers would target drivers who park illegally in areas with residential parking permits and other places where the agency gets complaints about a lack of enforcement.”

  • voltaire – no matter how much they enhance enforcement, they can’t pull in more revenue from non-violators. The revenue is there to be reaped solely because people don’t care to follow the rules.

    Same could be said, prehaps about stop sign running cyclists. In fact , definitely. I think plugging a budget hole by writing more tickets for ticket’s’ sake is silly. Write more tickets for a positive reason and using the money for something useful might be better karmically, but if that is the case, double parking and sidewalk parking should be the targets.

  • voltairesmistress

    Mike, with all due respect, when I disagree with you on this issue, it is not because I have not  “read more than the headline”.  Different opinions and perspectives do not mean one side is informed; the other, ignorant.

    Murphstaho, I do wonder what would happen if we drivers all paid our
    meters on time and observed neighborhood parking limits.  With much
    effort I’ve managed to avoid a ticket for 18 months.  If everybody did
    that, the SFMTA would probably have a big revenue problem.

    Also, I hope the police do NOT start targeting the whole bikes at stop signs issue.  As a driver I have no problem with cyclists coasting through stops as long as nobody’s right of way is violated or pedestrian safety is compromised.

  • mikesonn

    @732c4803eb2e277d0054b17154744686:disqus I understand, but you continue to take the stance that this is for budget reasons only and not serving the neighborhood. I easily picked out a quote stating otherwise which implies you read nothing more than the headline.

    And @8273895862f4828764c2a8d05a9b4e2d:disqus & @twitter-14678929:disqus are correct, this needs to include actual safety issues like sidewalk and double parking, not just residential permit skirting. Also, if everyone followed the parking rules, Muni would run on time and that cost savings would dwarf any lost revenue due to less ticketing, not to mention the increased ridership, etc.

  • voltaire – i would posit the only way we get rid of illegal parking is for a very heavy mode switch from cars to transit. While increased fares would not replace parking ticket revenue, the reduction in costs we would see from such a reduction would make a huge dent, and there would be big political pressure put on our leaders to change budget priorities to take care of the  rest.

    It would appear that the number of cars in the sunset cannot possibly be legally parked in those neighborhoods. Perhaps if the garages were unconverted from living space, but then we create a larger problem.

    As it stands, a decent portion of the population could give a rat’s ass about MUNI and basically sees it as something they pay for and do not use.

  • voltairesmistress

     Mike, the article in question has 12 paragraphs, 10 of which are about SFMTA revenue/cost issues.  Paragraphs 5 & 6 are where the department chief notes that the department has received complaints about non-enforcement on neighborhoods with permit parking.  I did not miss that, but I do question the primacy of the complaint and safety issues.  I think they are true, but not the motivating factors in the agency’s decision.  That’s why focused on revenue —  not an absence of mind, but an absence of belief.  You believe those rationalizations are actually the primary motivation of the SFMTAT actions, so you focus on them.  You are not wrong, and neither am I, but we believe different things about the SFMTA’s motivation for more actively enforcing residential permit regulations.

    Your other point (Mom on a bike’s issue too) — that following parking regulations to a T would make create desired turnover and make transit run on time — I agree only in part. It would create turnover a bit, mostly in metered areas and perhaps help in the neighborhood streets.  But we are discussing residential permit areas and turnover there has almost nothing to do with transit timeliness.  Double parking is a bane and a safety issue, of course, but not a transit issue on most residential streets with no transit line.

    Thanks for listening and responding.  Thanks, too, Streetsblog editors, for providing the forum. 🙂

  • voltairesmistress

    murphstahoe, I agree — probably only by getting a huge mode shift from cars to transit/bikes/walking would we get rid of most illegal parking.  And agree, too, that drivers mistakenly believe they pay for MUNI without getting anything.  Far from the truth. One, most drivers/parkers are not paying their externalized costs.  Two, even MUNI in its current state is making drivers’ trips a lot less congested.  I don’t know how one shifts the discourse, but the SFMTA and the mayor’s administration investing heavily in public education about transit’s benefits would be a start.

    I checked out the SFCTA’s projections for mode shift for 2035 and 2050 and found them pretty modest — about 50% of trips would still be by car, and transit would still take nearly 2x as long as driving to get somewhere in the city.  That seems unambitious to me.  I’ve always lived car-less in great transit cities.  And I would here too 90% of the time, if transit here were like London’s system, not Athens’!  Am I naive to imagine there is a subset of sometime drivers like me who would happily switch modes if transit times met or bested driving times (as they do in many European cities with subways)?

  • voltaire – you are not alone. There are legendary numbers of people in America who say “I’d take the subway all the time if it were like Paris, but it’s not, so I don’t” without making the leap to “why isn’t the subway like Paris’ subway system”. Because of course that would appear to cause them some short term pain… paying for the constructuion.

    Of course, the construction of a subway means you pay taxes that in large part go into the pockets of workers who pay 30+% of their salary in taxes, and profits for businesses who theoretically pay taxes, and they both buy things that have sales taxes, etc…

    The only way it happens is for courageous leaders to point the way. Of course, it helps if they point the right way (sigh.,..)

    As it is, the quickest way for the older generation is a stick. Plenty of sticks headed our way – gas prices, materials crunches, etc… And the younger generation appears very interested in carrots.

    I’m very optimistic medium term. As someone who was taking buses in the dark ages of the dot com and commuting on a bike from Noe to Caltrain in 2002, the sea change is obvious.

  • mikesonn

    @732c4803eb2e277d0054b17154744686:disqus It was written by the SFGate, I’m surprised all 12 weren’t dedicated to the mantra of “the city’s jihad against the car”.

    “But we are discussing residential permit areas and turnover there has almost nothing to do with transit timeliness. ”

    Not really, we are only discussing residential permits because that is all SFGate decided to talk about and that is all Ed was quoted on. More PCOs means more enforcement all over the city for all sorts of parking infractions, which is good for traffic flow (on Muni routes or not is irrelevant, not to mention many Muni routes go thru residential areas). Double parking is a serious issue not just in commercial corridors, but side streets as well – along with sidewalk parking or parking in crosswalks, etc. Again, more PCOs on the streets will help address those issues, I just hope the SFMTA puts some emphasis on those things besides just enforcing residential permits (which serves mainly drivers, not pedestrian safety).

    Another reason that this discussion continues to tend towards revenue (besides the biased media “reporting”) is that the SFMTA only discusses parking (metering, enforcement, etc) during budget discussions. I believe it should be disconnected from those talks and be its own debate. So until that happens, we’ll continue to get 10 of 12 paragraphs from SFGate saying parking IS ALL ABOUT revenue with a few bits tossed in about management of a limited resource.

  • voltairesmistress

     murph, (may I abbreviate?) I am hopeful too.  The new SFMTA director seems focused on changing things, and I think the BRT and TEPP and Prop G may really help.  The various transit advocacy/rider groups will be the key in pushing for money to fund transit as it should be.  Key, of course, is that a growing subset of younger people are choosing to live in cities again — from San Francisco to Cleavland — and transit use is up nationwide despite all the rhetoric against it.

  • Anonymous

    “Because of course that would appear to cause them some short term pain… paying for the constructuion.”

    I take issue with this. Paying for construction part of it, but I don’t even think it’s the major part. The major part is accepting a reduction in convenience for drivers.

    American cities have been willing to spend some pretty significant amounts of money on transit. What they haven’t done–parts of San Francisco excepted–is taken full advantage of the transit they build by creating dense housing and business around that transit. They don’t allow private property owners to do so– for instance by reducing regulations on parking and height and density. They don’t do it themselves, either– Bart owns many acres of prime real estate around its stations, which could be leased for significant amounts of money (significantly reducing the need for taxpayers to subsidize it), but which is generally used to offer parking at negligible cost.

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