Advocates Call for Turnout at MTA Board Meeting on Parking Study

431938062_dbe563283c.jpgFlickr photo: kaiyen

At the MTA Board meeting this Tuesday, MTA staff will present the findings of the pathbreaking parking study [Summary PDF] [Full Study PDF] released earlier this week. It’s the only official discussion of the study scheduled for now, and advocates for transit and parking reform will need to attend in force to show the MTA Board there’s strong support for the recommendations.

The study’s recommendations could bring in badly needed revenue and reduce future transit service cuts, while creating more parking turnover and making it much easier to find a parking spot on evenings and Sundays.

Walk SF Executive Director Manish Champsee said he’s notifying members about the meeting, and hopes advocates will show up. "I suspect there will be a lot of people on the anti-side," said Champsee. "It’s definitely important that as many people as possible who favor extending meter hours get out there and show their support."

The SFBC’s Andy Thornley said his organization will be notifying members as well, in its regular Tuesday morning email update, and contacting some members directly before then. "Organizationally, we are actively working to build support and bring that support to the Board," Thornley said.

In addition, SFBC has sent a letter [PDF] to the MTA Board "urging that they support the report and adapt the findings as soon as possible," said Thornley.

As Streetsblog reported earlier this week, MTA Board Chairman Tom Nolan said the agency faces a dire financial situation with the budget deficit, which he estimated at $30 million. Without new sources of revenue, said Champsee, the budget may be balanced once again mostly at riders’ expense.

As part of a compromise with the Board of Supervisors, who ultimately approved the MTA’s budget earlier this year despite some supervisors’ concerns about the impact on transit riders, the MTA agreed to conduct a study on increasing parking enforcement hours. "The original budget closed the gap on the backs of riders over the backs of drivers by a virtue of 4 to 1," said Champsee. "It’s important that it doesn’t get even more skewed."

The Mayor opposes the study’s recommendations, and many merchant groups are not yet swayed in their favor. Without vocal support from advocates, the changes may never be fully or even partially implemented, despite the exhaustiveness of the study. The meeting will also offer a chance to comment on the recommendations and suggest refinements, while demonstrating that there’s strong demand for Shoupian parking management reform.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors meeting. Tuesday, October 20th at 2 p.m. San Francisco City Hall, room 400. The parking study presentation is item 14 on the agenda. The meeting will be broadcast online on SFGTV2. See Andy Thornley’s comment below for suggestions on who to contact with your thoughts on the parking study. You can also send feedback to

  • Brian

    This is exactly why the good parking policies in Oakland got rolled. Livable city activists were few and far between at the hearings. Parking is a livable city issue. Everybody get to the meetings or prepare to be hit-and-run by the forces of darkness.

  • SFResident

    I can’t make it to the meeting because I have to work – any suggestions for who to contact folk in charge or otherwise make my opinion known?

  • EL

    Overall a comprehensive study, with just a few weaknesses:

    1) The study does not address the number of disabled placard users that are “immune” to any price/time limit scheme, nor how disabled placard users affect the occupancy levels measured. Yet without this data, policy decisions on price, occupancy, and turnover are being made in its recommendations. I think we can all agree that if disabled placard users had to pay, it would be easy to find a parking space in downtown.

    2) The study automatically assumes that the current rates and meter start times are appropriate City-wide, but makes that assumption without acknowledging that many neighborhood commercial areas are nowhere near 85% occupancy between 9 and 11 am. Even Shoup agrees that in such situations, the rates during those time periods should be lowered, or that the meters shouldn’t even operate during those times, and I’d bet that many of the merchants would agree that morning hours should be cheaper/free (if occupancy #’s support it) as a reasonable compromise to extending nighttime hours.

  • Diane

    I’m thinking that most people parking at night and on weekends are coming to shop, eat, and/or go to the theatre – i.e. they are coming to spend money. Why the screaming about adding a few extra dollars to the bill? Why SHOULD parking be free?

  • zsolt

    Yes, for the people who, you know, work Tuesday at 2 PM, can you please post whom to email your opinion (such that it will be read and accounted for)? If there is even such a thing.

  • Here’s the SFBC’s letter, fyi:

    Email your own opinion (support for the Extended Meter Hours Study and expeditious implementation of its recommendations, I would hope) to:

    Tom Nolan, Chairman, SFMTA Board of Directors

    and copy in

    Mayor Gavin Newsom

    as well as your Supervisor, or at least Board President David Chiu — see the SFBC’s Contact Your Leaders page for addresses:

    and do come speak up Tuesday afternoon if you can, this is important stuff . . .

  • zsolt

    Thank you Andy, I am composing my email.

  • Helen

    EL above brings up the issue of disabled placards (abuse is rampant, to put it mildly) and cheaper or longer meters for daytime shopping. I’d like to add MUNI cracking down more on fare evaders. These are the real issues.

    Meters in much of SF are ridiculous (a quarter for —8 minutes?? Hardly enough time purchase anything). If you are elderly, fearful of late night transit, whatever, and coming to downtown to go to dinner or the theater, only to get a large parking ticket—you just might not come again.

    Unless the City plans on making evening meters reasonable—parking up to 2 hours at a time—sorry but I can’t be for it.

  • tiff

    I do NOT agree with you guys.
    YEAA I’m a bike rider/commuter. I do my share.
    BUT I also ride a scooter – LOW environmental impact, taking part in decreasing congestion. They just raised our meter rates almost 400%… do you think the DPT isn’t doing their part to hit us??? From $2 a day to almost $8. And ever get hit being 5 minutes late paying the meter, it’s $65! Oh yes, so cheap.

    NOW you want us to pay more?? And almost all day?
    Maybe you’ll decrease car use a little.. but what about the times when you need your car to run an errand.. move something? SF is already one of the most expensive cities in the US… let’s just keep racking it up!!! I don’t think you understand the repercussions of this increase. It’s already a total pain… and not everyone in this city makes SIX FIGURES.

  • El Cal

    My husband and I share one car, but we both either bike or transit for work. However, we’re opposed to extending the meters, given the current landscape.

    If we had parking technology like Oakland or Berkeley (where you can pay by cash or credit for a block of time), and

    If we weren’t in a recession and our businesses weren’t already struggling,

    Then I think we might consider it. Being that’s not the case, I don’t think it’s the right time to institute this change.

  • El Cal, I think you are missing some key points. Making the meters run later and on Sundays will actually help small business because it increases turn over and keeps spots open for people shopping.

    But I do agree that we need smarter meters – if we want people to actually be able to use them instead of carrying around a sack of quarters all the time.

    Tiff, that sucks about MTA raising scooter/motorcycle parking by 400%. But they aren’t necessarily better for then environment – they usually lack a catalytic converter which removes most of the particulates. And yes, this is one of the most expensive city, but a BIG reason for that is because we subsidize cars heavily. Housing is more expensive because parking is usually included, real estate downtown is more expensive because land is being used for parking instead of office/shopping space, and transit is more expensive because the budget was closed on the backs of transit riders and not spread out to those who drive (not to mention that MUNI is slow mostly due to traffic congestion).

  • “Meters in much of SF are ridiculous (a quarter for —8 minutes?? Hardly enough time purchase anything). If you are elderly, fearful of late night transit, whatever, and coming to downtown to go to dinner or the theater, only to get a large parking ticket—you just might not come again.”

    If you can’t find parking at all, you just might go home without even stopping the first time!

  • steve

    As a Noe Valley resident who bikes and uses my Fast Pass whenever I can, I can assure you that the extended hours being planned for my neighborhood, as well as the other mixed residential business neighborhoods like mine – businesses on the ground, residences above, usually along a few blocks of one street in the neighborhood – is an extremely bad idea. As it is now those of whose live here have a hard anough time finding parking especially on the weekends, but, if the meter hours are extended, then even more people will be parking on the non-metered streets around the business strip making it even more likely that we won’t have any parking of our own if we actually dare to take the family up to Marin for the day, or even to the grocery store (no, you cannot fit a weeks worth of groceries for a real family on a bicycle, nor do we have time to shop for groceries every day) since not all of us have off-street parking.

  • I can get five bags of Trader Joe’s groceries on my Xtracycle. It’s pretty great,though I do have to be careful with eggs.

    Lots of families in Noe Valley have more than one car. If we can get folks to downsize a car and use City Carshare or Zipcars as a back-up, there’ll be more room for everyone on the street.

  • The CAC just backed the proposal for a 12 mo trial! Awesome!

  • Steve – if parking in Noe is so bad – how come it isn’t subject to permit parking?

  • The Answer Coalition is WAY OFF. If they really cared about the poor of this city they would fight to provide a city in which they wouldn’t need to drive. The truly poor can’t afford to rent an apartment AND own a car. Why lessen their ability to take public transit and force them to use a car? The cost of a car is substantially higher then taking PT, biking or walking. Free these people from that burden!


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 […]