Newsom Opposed to Sunday Parking Enforcement, Study or No

418129740_0f8f7155c5.jpgA free parking meter in San Francisco. Flickr phto: .dru

It’s no surprise, but it’s troubling. Mayor Gavin Newsom has confirmed to Streetsblog that he remains opposed to extending parking meter enforcement to Sundays, despite a promise by MTA Chief Nat Ford that it’s being studied and remains on the table for consideration, along with evening metering to 10 p.m. — revenue measures that would raise $9 million —  potentially offsetting fare hikes and service cuts, changes Ford still has the power to make (within five percent).

"I don’t support Sunday parking. I don’t think that was part of the
budget and…I support the budget as passed.  I don’t
believe in it," Newsom, a former parking and traffic commissioner, said yesterday following a press conference to unveil a new Muni bus shelter. 

Newsom’s fervent opposition comes despite a change of heart by several politicians and organizations, including some that have traditionally opposed increasing parking enforcement. As Supervisor John Avalos explained at a recent BOS meeting "times have changed" and "there’s a different feeling about moving forward on revenue from parking that didn’t exist before." Except, of course, from the politician with the most power over the MTA.

Even the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce likes the idea of Sunday metering: "We favored Sunday enforcement because that will turn over parking for merchants just like it does on Saturday," said Jim Lazarus, the chamber’s senior vice president.

As we’ve written, other cities that have managed street space with market-rate pricing and curbside vacancy targets, and have invested
additional revenues in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure
improvements, have seen a rise in business, not a drop. There was further proof of that this week, with the release of a TA study noting that most shoppers in downtown San Francisco don’t drive.

But with Newsom opposed, the Sunday measure is not likely to be added back in, even if a study favors it, because, as the MTA and its Board proved during this latest budget cycle, it is not independent, instead taking orders from the Mayor.

Ford told Streetsblog after this week’s BOS meeting that "it would be premature" to assume the Mayor would oppose stronger parking enforcement after a study, but talk of penciling it in now seems like lip service or insincerity. Even if stronger parking enforcement is resurrected, such as evening metering, it will most likely be watered down.

Ford did indicate that the MTA’s current 90-day study on parking enforcement might include outreach to merchants.

"My concern is it’s seen as simply automobile users versus transit users. That’s not the exact equation. There’s also the small businesses that are suffering out there, and we wanted an opportunity to go out there and explain to them that from a parking standpoint, it may mean more turnover, which may mean more business for them."

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, a likely mayoral candidate who is also opposed to Sunday and evening metering, said Castro merchants might be open to an experiment of either Sunday enforcement or evenings but they don’t want both.

“Small business people are almost more passionate about parking than almost any issue but health care in this city, and so I just want to be sensitive to that and to talk to them and bring them into the process,” he said.

  • “Small business people are almost more passionate about parking than almost any issue but health care in this city, and so I just want to be sensitive to that and to talk to them and bring them into the process,”

    They’re entitled to their passion, but they are factually incorrect. The increased parking costs/restrictions and cheaper Muni fares and better local service would boost their business.

    They can run off that cliff as passionately as they like, but why is Newsom letting them take us with them?

  • Maybe we really need to beat in the point that not extending parking until 10 and not having Sunday metered parking means that the people who live above and around these businesses will just park and take up the spot.

    Their flawed logic doesn’t even take into account that these spaces aren’t usually used by people shopping or eating, but by people who just park and go right into their home.

  • Dave Snyder

    SPUR supports charging for parking on Sundays and weekday evenings.

  • So when do we get free Muni on Sundays?

  • DaveO

    Yeah, what a moron. This is the same guy who supported a citywide bike plan without comprehensive environmental review.

  • marcos

    @Cheryl, we don’t “get” anything for free in politics, we have to actually do the work which successfully wrests power, no booby prize for “fighting the good fight” other than to pay more money for fewer transit lines with stops spaced further away, assuming you don’t live in public housing, in which case, you’ve got those two legs or four wheels you can’t really afford for a reason.

    @DaveO, an honest, full life cycle EIR of Newsom’s MTA budget would reveal that it does more to impede the free flow of transit than the few segments of the Bike Plan did to those few lines because by creating barriers to using Muni, more people will drive and that will represent the death spiral for transit. A 50% day-use premium to be in control of your time and have a greater effective travel range is much more appealing than an expensive stripped down transit system.

    I’d hope this could serve as a clarion call to recall Newsom right now, and if we can’t figure out how to raise enough political energy to contemplate contesting room 200 now, then we have no hope of winning in 2011 unless you consider Dennis Herrera a trade up, which I don’t.


  • L

    Not really sure what the justification for free Sunday parking is now.
    There was a time when American downtowns were devoid of shoppers because stores were closed on Sundays and people were in church.
    Folks–times changed long ago! SF downtown is full of shoppers on Sundays. Wake up! Use transit, leave the car at home and merchants–stop complaining–we all know you feed the meters in front of your storefronts. Ever notice how infrequently parallel parked cars turnover on Van Ness Ave? Meter feeding by merchants!
    Cahrge THEM instead of charging higher MUNI fares!

  • marcos

    The justification is that people with more political power than you want there to be a subsidy for driving and extra burdens placed on transit ridership.

    No matter how good the case may be for an alternative policy, we will not see a change in public policy until the political equation changes.

    It is not sufficient to show up with good ideas and demand they be implemented simply because one asserts that they are good ideas.


  • The Mayor was, back when he was a Supervisor, a big supporter of Proposition E, which amended the City Charter to create the MTA.

    Section 8A.109 of the Charter, added by Proposition E, states:

    The Mayor, the Board of Supervisors, and the Agency diligently shall seek to develop new sources of funding for the Agency’s operations, including sources of funding dedicated to the support of such operations, which can be used to supplement or replace that portion of the Municipal Transportation Fund consisting of appropriations from the General Fund of the City and County.

    The Mayor has been less than diligent in seeking new sources of funding for the MTA; he opposed the parking tax increase a few years ago, and only grudgingly supported Proposition A in 2007, which increased MTA funding by about $26 million (and immediately took back MTA’s additional revenue, and more, in the form of interdepartmental work orders). If my memory serves, he has proposed no new sources of revenue for the MTA in his term as Mayor.

    Perhaps a diligent reporter could query the Mayor as to what he has done, and plans to do, to fulfill his responsibilities under section 8A.109 of the Charter – a charter provision he takes credit for!

  • John

    The fact that people who live around these places of business are the ones using these spots is important. Give us a break. How hard is it to live and function in this city already? Not all of us have jobs which allow us to take public transit or bikes to work. Some of us haul cargo, tools, equipment, etc… and some of us have to commute to multiple locations in the bay area throughout the day.

    Also @ CBRINKMAN, entertaining point, but when does a MUNI passenger get a $50+ ticket for staying on the bus for one stop too many?

    There are plenty of people who live in San Francisco that also need to drive to provide for themselves. Resident parking problems are nothing new. Not everyone can afford +$250/mo parking spaces in garages. Between parking tickets, fender benders, meters, and parking availability issues, isn’t it hard enough to be a driving resident in SF without 10pm and 7 day a week meters?

    Don’t give me this fairness between public transportation users versus drivers issue. Between resident parking permits, city DMV taxes and registrations, meter fees, parking tickets and towing fines, I think drivers certainly pay their ‘share’ in this town. Cars are not the enemy!

  • MrMission

    Sunday parking in areas where the merchants are open on Sunday (which is most of the City) make sense. I have on occassion avoided certain merchants on Sunday and gone elsewhere because I knew that all the metered spaces in the area would be filled and parking would be impossible.

    I am not as convinced about extending the parking hours though. If merchants aren’t open after 6 (and in many areas they aren’t) then there is little point in keeping the meters going. On the other hand, if there are restaurants etc. in the area then the 2 hour limit is often too short for people who are doing more than having dinner (maybe people should be allowed to park for 4 hours after 6).

    Of course, Muni fare increases are sensible also. The system is so heavily subsidized right now it doesn’t seem unreasonable for those who use it to pick up more of the cost. Certainly car owners pay plenty in taxes and fees.

  • “Don’t give me this fairness between public transportation users versus drivers issue. Between resident parking permits, city DMV taxes and registrations, meter fees, parking tickets and towing fines, I think drivers certainly pay their ‘share’ in this town. Cars are not the enemy!”

    Paying a “lot” does not mean paying your “share”. Drivers are not paying their “share” in this town.


MTA Releases Parking Meter Study that Proposes Extending Hours

Photo: Bryan Goebel MTA Chief Nat Ford, at a reporters’ round table today, released the long-anticipated parking study conducted by his agency to measure the traffic impacts of increasing parking meter hours on weekday evenings and on Sundays [Summary PDF] [Full Study PDF]. The study recommends that the agency extend parking meter hours in specific […]

A Change of Heart on Sunday Parking Meters for Newsom?

The Mayor is now apparently willing to consider Sunday metering. Photo by Bryan Goebel. After months of opposing an extension of parking meter enforcement hours, Mayor Newsom may be finally open to a limited proposal that would help reduce Muni’s staggering budget deficit. The Chronicle’s Heather Knight  and The Appeal’s Chris Roberts report that Newsom […]

Supes Delay Action on Motion to Reject MTA Budget

Supervisor Avalos on parking enforcement: "The more I think about how we need to do what’s best for the environment and what’s best for riders my position has changed." The Board of Supervisors will try again on an MTA budget, voting 7-4 this afternoon to delay a motion to reject it. Instead, they’ll hold a […]