Updated 4:47 p.m.
Yesterday was supposed to be different: San Francisco parking meters were to be in effect during business hours on Sundays for the first time ever, meaning fewer drivers would be clogging up the streets looking for a spot.
But in at least two busy commercial districts, nearly every parking meter appeared occupied but unpaid. The displays flashed “expired,” but parking control officers were absent, as were the warning leaflets that the SF Municipal Transportation Agency said it would hand out during the first three weeks before actual ticketing kicks in.
That’s what I found on upper Haight Street yesterday just after 5 p.m., and what Streetsblog reader Mike Sonn observed on 24th Street in the Mission at about 2 p.m. It was enough to make you wonder if the message about Sunday metering will actually get across before the real enforcement kicks in.
Of course, it could have been a fluke — enforcement staff is limited, and perhaps PCOs were too busy elsewhere to blanket windshields with warnings in the Haight and the Mission. One report from ABC 7 did show a parking control officer handing a woman what appears to be a leaflet about Sunday parking meters. But upper Haight and 24th are prime examples of busy commercial streets where one would expect to see the PCOs in action.
So, what’s going on? Was this a sign of the SFTMA’s enforcement department bungling the first day of Sunday metering? A decision by management to ease into Sunday meters a little too incrementally? Streetsblog is still waiting to hear back from the SFMTA in response to a request for explanation sent in yesterday. In any case, without any real enforcement to speak of, it seems the first few Sundays of 2013 are going to be metered in name only.
Update: SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said PCOs distributed 4,000 warnings citywide, including 600 in the Haight area, and approximately 1,000 warnings in the Mission District. He also said that “old meters” don’t display a change when drivers pre-pay or pay by cell phone.