SFMTA Brings Back Parking Meter Planning to Tough Crowd in the NE Mission

Following fierce opposition that led the SF Municipal Transportation Agency to roll back its first attempt to expand car parking meters in the northeast Mission, the agency re-started a community process last night to develop a plan for managing parking demand in the area. The meeting was seen as a litmus test for the public’s openness — and the agency’s tact — which will be key to implementing parking meters and permit restrictions to reduce cruising for parking in a dense, complex neighborhood where parking problems are only expected to get worse.

Shotwell near 18th Street. Photo: Aaron Bialick

The area is centered around a 220-space parking lot at 17th and Folsom Streets that’s set to be closed within months and converted into a new park and affordable housing development. As it is, the SFMTA said the area is basically a vacuum of free, unregulated parking surrounded by streets with meters and permit restrictions, making it a magnet for car commuters and long-term car storage that fills parking spots to the brim during the day. A presentation explaining the data and the rationale for using parking pricing to manage demand was made by Jeffrey Tumlin, a principal at Nelson/Nygaard, a consultant firm working on the project with the SFMTA.

“Everyone knows that you can park free all day, all week — you can leave your car here and go to the airport,” Tumlin told the audience, noting that drivers in the area reportedly circle for parking for a half hour, on average. “People are coming from all over to park in your neighborhood.”

Unlike the original planning process, SFMTA officials didn’t present any proposed parking plan at the first meeting — its stated goal was simply to present the block-by-block parking data collected in recent months and field input from residents to help inform a future proposal.

This flyer was distributed at the meeting by an ENUF spokesperson.

Tumlin explained that planners aim to account for the mix of land uses in the neighborhood, including residences, retail shops, and “production, distribution, and repair” businesses — many of which, unlike retail merchants, prefer free vehicle storage over the elevated parking turnover that meters bring. “It is the most complicated mosaic of land uses that I’ve seen, really, in any place I’ve worked anywhere in the world,” he said.

That the SFMTA didn’t adequately account for that complexity was one of the major sources of complaints against the original parking meter plan, which had been presented to residents as part of a larger plan to expand the SFPark smart meter program to manage parking in and around Mission Bay, where major developments are expected to bring an influx of car commuters into the area. The SFMTA took SFPark meters out of the equation, opting for conventional meters instead, to address skepticism voiced by opponents about the efficacy of SFPark. The agency also plans to eventually re-start the planning process in the Dogpatch and Potrero Hill neighborhoods, which were also included in the original plan, “one neighborhood at a time,” said agency spokesperson Paul Rose.

Of the several hundred attendees at the meeting, it’s unclear how many were willing to listen and how many were absolutely committed to the status quo of free parking, regardless of data. While the discussion following Tumlin’s presentation was mostly cordial, he did field a few heated complaints about paying for parking meters (one merchant even stormed out after ranting), and there were a few outbursts from some sections of the audience, though others asked them to take turns to facilitate the discussion.

Parking occupancy during the day (full image available on ##http://www.sfmta.com/cms/phome/NEMission-data.htm##the SFMTA website##)

Opposition in the neighborhood has been led by the Eastern Neighborhoods United Front (ENUF). Mari Eliza, a spokesperson, passed out a flyer reading, “The SFMTA is Creating New Parking Restrictions in the Mission!! Businesses need and support parking in our neighborhoods and the SFMTA is changing the rules.” The flyer also depicted a family riding in a car, saying, “We want to shop and eat in the Mission!”

When Streetsblog asked Eliza about the merchants and customers who prefer having paid meters to create predictably available parking in front of shops and restaurants, she responded, “I don’t get that.”

“What I’m getting from the people who live in the neighborhood, the people who talk to the shopkeepers and the restaurants, their customers are complaining to them because they can’t park,” she said. When asked, “What do you mean they ‘can’t park?,'” she responded, “The customers can’t park. Whatever it means.”

When asked for ENUF’s proposed solution to the parking crunch (though many opponents denied there is a parking problem), Eliza said the SFMTA should find a way to create new parking spaces to accommodate the out-of-town drivers who park to take BART downtown at 16th Street for free. However, she couldn’t say which real estate in the dense neighborhood could be given over to parking: “It’s not my job to figure that out.”

Image: SFMTA

In response to an ENUF petition that asked the SFMTA to completely stop installing new parking meters, sustainable transportation advocate Mario Tanev recently formed a group supporting the SFMTA’s efforts to manage parking demand called sfMORE. While Tanev’s counter-petition has collected 280 signatures to ENUF’s 721 (unsurprisingly, it’s easier to rally people defending their access to free parking than those who support parking reform), a noticeable contingent of advocates backing parking reform attended the meeting.

In a letter addressed to sfMORE members, Tanev said attendees voiced some legitimate concerns, but “unfortunately, many in the audience just tried to shut it down. The data didn’t matter to them, and the public process that has set the current policy didn’t matter to them. They wanted it to be their way or the highway.”

“The policies are set via a well-deliberated public process, then fine-tuned using a public process, and the data is gathered in high detail and then fine-tuned using feedback from the neighborhood,” he added. “Isn’t this what we all want?”

Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich praised the SFMTA’s neighborhood-scale approach as an improvement on the block-by-block approach taken with parking meter expansions in the past. “I think they’re basically on the right track here,” he said. “They may or may not convince the people in this room of that, but I think they’re basically on the right track.”

The SFMTA’s original timetable included appointment-based meetings with neighborhood groups, and even specific individuals, preceding another community meeting in January, where agency staff would present a proposal for feedback, with meter implementation set for next summer. But some vocal attendees complained that more time for individual meetings and an additional feedback meeting was needed, and SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin agreed to revise the schedule to make both of those changes.

Some parking reform advocates were skeptical as to whether the most ardent opponents could be won over with more meetings, or if requesting them is just a gambit to delay the process.

“It is an emotional issue,” said Radulovich. “There’s the science of parking, and the religion of parking. The two don’t mix well.”

Where cars parked in the neighborhood are registered. Image: SFMTA
Double parking observed during the day (full image available on ##http://www.sfmta.com/cms/phome/NEMission-data.htm##the SFMTA website##).
  • When we first moved to SF, this is where my husband used to park his car for days, even though we lived many blocks away, for exactly the reasons you list: it was free and virtually unlimited. We could stick it there for days at a time. Back then, it didn’t even occur to us that doing so meant that long-term parkers like us were squeezing out people who actually wanted to commute to that area. The other consequence, of course, was that the car was frequently broken into, since thieves knew that only very rarely would someone check on any of the cars in that area.

  • LSydell

    This is a really biased article.  The problem is that many people who live in the area and really need to have a car will not have a place to park unless they pay 2-3 hundred a month for a garage.  I think that a fair complaint.  I think they should put up 2 hour limits and give passes to the people who live here.  We don’t need meters at all. 

  • By “noticeable contingent of advocates backing parking reform”, are you referring to the four people who raised their hands when Jeff asked, “Who complained about parking?”

    What I remember quite well, (and I recorded the event), is Jeff admitting that the department is dealing with conflicts of interests within its jurisdiction. 

    Could these obvious conflict of interests explain why a growing contingent San Francisco residents want to repeal Prop E and rewrite Transit First? Are they had enough of the SFMTA monster that was supposed to balance the Muni budget and fix the public transit system, but has failed miserably at both?

  • Mario Tanev

    SFMTA is not proposing such a thing. The neighbors who have a car (10% of all parkers, right now) can request RPP and pay $100 a year (which goes to fund administration, enforcement and signage). That’s what this process is about – for neighbors who live on residential blocks to tell SFMTA that they want RPP. And businesses that have customers circling for parking should get parking meters installed to improve availability and reduce congestion that slows down Muni and endangers bicyclists and pedestrians.

  • Mario Tanev

    There was no admission on anyone’s part on any conflicts of interest.

    What the speaker said was that SFMTA is trying to both make it easier for those that need to drive to do so, and to reduce the need to drive (prioritize transit). He said those goals seem in tension (maybe that’s what you interpreted as “conflict”). But that’s absolutely reasonable.

    Yes, some people need to drive. Let’s say the 10% who park in the neighborhood all really need to drive. Then why do they want to subsidize the 90% who are not from the neighborhood and could have made other arrangement? Further, why incentivize them to drive and circle around looking for parking, slowing down Muni, and endangering pedestrians and cyclists?

  • I suggested an idea that many have voiced and I agree with. We need park and ride Muni hubs for drivers who need to drive into town, park and jump on the Muni to get to their final destination. According to SFMTA, 41% of the cars parked in our neighborhood don’t live or work here. They are commuters driving into the city, parking and taking the Muni downtown. The same people who park in the Western neighborhoods and jump on the Geary buses. They are Muni customers. Why is SFMTA fighting them?
    This request for more public parking near transit hubs is repeated all over the Bay area. Most BART stations need more parking for clients. Instead of fighting the cars driving to public transit, the city officials should create the parking options their clients need to easily use the public transit systems they want them to take.I did say is that it is not my job to create those options. That job belongs to the public employees who are paid royally to manage parking and traffic.

  • Anonymous

     When something is priced low (or free) demand increases for that something. As the price increases, demand decreases.

    By increasing demand, “free” parking creates congestion in the streets because people cruise for parking, or double park waiting for someone to leave, which ties up traffic, including MUNI, on which some people are trying to do things like get to work on time to pay the rent and support their families.

    When there are no time limits on parking, turnover of those spaces diminishes, which means that people who actually sell things someone needs a car to move are deprived of additional customers because other people will camp long term in such spots. For every supposed business for which there is a claim of harm – auto repair shops that are using the public street spaces for their private profit making by storing cars waiting for service, for instance, there are other businesses for whom higher turnover would be welcome and helpful for their bottom line.

    Parking spaces are a public “good” that should be managed for the public benefit, not, for the parochial interests of those benefiting from it’s current misuse.

    One significant issue with SFMTA and parking management is that parking revenues generated within a neighborhood, are not sequestered for the benefit of those neighborhoods. Figuring out how to plow a majority share of meter revenues back into the neighborhoods that generate those same revenues to solve the issues those neighborhoods themselves deem to be priorities would go a long way toward defusing some of the emotion-based critiques being leveled at SFMTA.

  • Lizonthebus

    I attended the meeting as as a nearby resident who supports metering and parking management, and was struck by the very incredible rudeness of many attendees. I did not understand why there was absolutely no expression of appreciation to the SFMTA staff who did a rigorous data collection effort and were restarting the process from scratch. In fact, many in the audience expressed skepticism that a different outcome than the meters proposed last year would ultimately be reached. I just don’t understand what would make these people happy when the SFMTA stopped and listened to them and there was no recognition of that (otherwise there would be meters on the street right now). I was very upset by the lack of enforcement of basic groundrules of communication and respect at the meeting. There was interruption and rude name-calling. In my small group, I finally had the chance to express myself about my experiences as a walker, biker, transit rider, and driver in the area (in fact I was biking in the Folsom St bike lane on my way to the meeting and had to swerve into the middle of the travel lane to avoid a double parked car). Even the people who disagreed with me listened during this part of the meeting, and I appreciate having had the opportunity for a person-to-person dialogue. Afterwards, I spoke with one of the most vehement opponents to the plan. We each shared our personal earlier in the meeting speaking and and shouting disrespectfully and out of turn and it made me feel uncomfortable. For half a second, I saw the impact of my comment register inside her — it looked like she was about to cry. Then, she recomposed herself and said that sometimes that’s the way you have to be when people aren’t listening to you.

  • Gneiss

    What real estate in the city are you proposing Muni takes over to facilitate these park and rides?  That the problem – in a dense city, we have no space take can be devoted to huge acre wide surface lots in neighborhoods like the Mission.  Also, there’s the added isssue of free vs. paid.  If they are paid lots, then people will continue to drive and try and find free parking, since they now can and not use the paid lots.  If they are free, then Muni has just wasted tons of land and money taking over space that could be used for lot income housing or other purposes for subsidized parking for commuters. 

    What a waste!  Why not just reduce demand by adding meters rather than force the rest of the city tax payers to pick up the tab for creating commuter parking convenience?

  • Anonymous

    As @google-cd6ac603016b207eed1e6a32f6c3abfa:disqus pointed out,  you are distorting what is happening here. Any plan that increases turnover and includes the RPP program for residential areas will make it *easier* for residents like yourself to park. If you really care about having more parking as a resident, you should be targeting your frustration at the more than 1/2 of the cars in your neighborhood that aren’t owned by residents of the neighborhood. Doesn’t that bother you? Why would you deflect your frustration about parking anywhere else but on all the non-residents using your neighborhood as a free parking lot?

    And you aren’t entitled to a free “pass” and visitors aren’t entitled to free 2-hour parking. What about all the other neighborhoods where you have to pay for an RPP? Why should you be exempt from the same protocols that operate in the rest of the city? Why do businesses and residents have to pay rent to take up space that isn’t on the road, but suddenly when it’s on the road it’s supposed to be free? Real estate is real estate, and cars take up a *massive* amount of precious space in any city. It’s high-time they started paying for the limited resource they have been using for free for too long.

  • Lizonthebus

    I realized there was a typo in the end of my comment from last night. Here it is corrected:

    Afterwards, I spoke with one of the most vehement opponents to the plan. We each shared our viewpoints in a respectful way. I then said to her that i noticed her speaking and shouting disrespectfully and out of turn earlier in the meeting and that it had made me feel very uncomfortable. For half a second, I saw the impact of my comment register inside her — it looked like she was about to cry. Then, she recomposed herself and said that sometimes that’s the way you have to be when people aren’t listening to you.

  • Abe

    There are park-n-ride BART stations all over the Bay Area. It doesn’t seem to me like inside SF is the best place for them. Why drive into SF to park and take transit downtown when you can drive to a BART station closer to your home? Many of those BART stations are also right next to freeways.

  • K.I.S.S.

     RPP solves most of the problems here at a low cost. It seems like questionable “solutions” are trying to be shoe-horned in by people with various ideologies. Keep it simple and let’s not waste people’s times much more.

  • voltairesmistress

    Based on the SFMTA’s past and present performance people don’t trust the agency to do right by them, even when it might be doing something data-driven that could end up helping a portion of them.

    Drivers see driving and parking being made painful but the alternative (public transit) no better than thirty years ago.  MUNI is not a competitive system that drivers with any degree of means will turn to.  If it functioned to be fast, efficient, and comfortable (and was adequately funded), it would literally draw people out of their slower, more expensive travel modes.  As it is, people experience SFMTA pain but little SFMTA-delivered gain.  And there is no sign yet that MUNI will get any better, or that the mayor and supervisors find the situation intolerable and needing an overhaul.

    There is no public trust in the SFMTA.  This latest battle is evidence of that.

  • I don’t live or park in the neighborhood – but I do visit often. It’s not broken so why is SFMTA trying to fix it? easy answer = Money.

    I’m so sick of their anti-car policies. We need meters in a lots of neighborhoods with far more retail estabilshments – the Marnia and Pac heights come to mind.. why a neighborhood that’s residential and industrial?

    I will certainly do everything in my power to insure no meters in this area..

  • Jimmy

    When do you visit, though?  Do you try parking during the weekday midmorning or afternoon?  According to the data in this article, the area has close to 0% free capacity during those times.  Given that the area is about to lose 220 spaces (5%), parking is going to get a lot worse.

    That sounds broken to me.

    It is so broken, that I visit the Mission often, but would never consider driving there.

  • Gneiss

    RPP alone won’t create turnover along blocks where there are retail businesses.  That’s why a mixture of RPP and meters are needed to make it possible for people from outside the area to find parking when they need it and not double park or keep circling until something opens up.  It’s finding the right mixture of RPP and metering that will be the real challange.

  • Spragueterplan

    There may be few U.S. cities to look to when it comes to successful surface transportation and parking policies, so one must look abroad. Within the past six months, Vienna, Austria expanded their own RPP program. The result has been much greater ease for local residents and business patrons to find street parking since out-of-neighborhood commuters have lost free street parking. This has led to area transit seeing more riders as commuters opt to ride transit instead of drive into the central city, and transit agencies have responded by improving service. This sounds like a win-win (more parking availability, less congestipn and pollution, quieter and safer streets, more transit riders and better transit). What is there to dislike about such a scenario?

  • One problem is that businesses in the area can inhibit the spread of the RPP, and/or you can end up with much less RPP spots for the number of people that apply.
    That’s not an attempt to lay waste to your proposal, just one potential problem. I was in a proposed RPP that was dropped due to the businesses surrounding us.

  • vcs

    I knew someone who lived in this neighborhood in the mid-late 90s, before Willie Brown unleashed the condo developers, and the area was still predominantly light industrial. Back then, there were empty parking stalls everywhere, and there was never any problem finding a close spot.
    Within a few years this became one of the worst neighborhoods to find parking in; I’m surprised they’ve gone this long without residential permits.

  • Wilkins Jim

    The SFMTA meeting and your coverage of it raise several points. 1. PDR workers are not “storing” their cars on the street. The reason many of them drive to work is that public transportation is so lousy. Some of them need to bring tools or other articles with them that are not reasonably carried long distances between MUNI stops and their workplaces. 2. The number of out-of-city registered vehicles in SFMTA ‘s pie chart shows 41%. This means that almost half of the available parking in the NE Mission is taken up by non-San Francisco taxpayers. Since the taxpayers of this city paid to build the streets and pay to maintain them it seems logical that we should have priority to park on them. I therefore propose the following. SFMTA should issue city stickers to bonafide residents of this city. We should be allowed to park at non-tolled parking spaces. A limited number of Meters could be installed to accommodate non-residents.
    I believe that such an approach would significantly change the equation. 3. The current parking regulations should be vigorously enforced. This does not require parking meters. It only requires SFMTA to do its job properly. Campers should not be allowed unlimited parking on the street as is too often the case. 4. The planning department needs to stop changing the zoning rules to allow developers unlimited latitude in creating new housing with no parking attached. With the abysmal state of public transport, these new SF residents will all want to have a car.

  • Not to mention that building a parking structure in San Francisco costs about $19,253 per parking space [PDF].

  • Justin Ryan

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if SFPark’s goal is to have one parking spot available on each block at all times, doesn’t that encourage people to drive there, knowing that there’s parking waiting for them? An old roommate of mine in the Lower Haight (who owned three cars) used to make a big show of actually taking MUNI to go party in the Marina because there was no parking there, plus he would lose his spot at home if he drove. Bad parking prospects meant he chose to leave the car at home.

    In the case of the NE Mission, better parking with still-crappy MUNI means more people will choose to drive. If SFMTA and the rest of us want to get people out of their cars, shouldn’t we just leave the dysfunctional parking situation as a deterrent? Or at least jack up the price so that the average person thinks twice about driving there? (No, average people, abundant, cheap parking is not your birthright).

    I completely get that more parking spots open means MUNI runs faster, but there are other ways to accomplish that, like transit-only lanes or blocks, forced turns for private cars, signal priority, etc. And with the 12 and 27 running at most every 15-20 minutes, there’s not much MUNI to speed up in the first place. If SFMTA is going to incentivize driving by making parking easier, they need to incentivize public transit even more. 

  • I visit often because I shop at food4less and go to coffee etc. There is ALWAYS parkng on folsom – lots of it in fact.

    It seems SFMTA will do anything to remove parking at a time when our city is growing…

  • Anonymous

    @72562d2e1fb45be3e000db0b5a81dc59:disqus I have to say, I more or less agree with you. I’ve always maintained the viewpoint that, if you want to discourage something, make it miserable while simultaneously making the alternative extremely pleasant. That is, you use both the carrot and the stick. The question is: in what way do you make it miserable? By making it really expensive or by making it time-consuming because there’s traffic, no available parking spaces, etc.? Both would work, but the former I think is the more environmentally- and livability-friendly way. It also keeps people more sane not having to stress out about everything on the rare occasions they do decide to drive. Then they get angry, dogmatic, and hardened in their position and go to meetings like this one in the NE Mission and shut-down any rational discussion.

    I too have always questioned SFPark’s methods. I’m a firm believe that technology has got us in most of our messes, and using technology to solve those problems is just digging the hole deeper. I think SFPark is trying to use a lot of technology to do what can be done with just better policy, i.e., putting a lot more money into making public transit, walking, and cycling way better so that people just want to use anything but the car to get around. This also includes better educating people on the externalities of driving a car and all the benefits that come with walking, bicycling, and taking public transit. And really, I think traditional meters combined with the extensive use of the RPP — while increasing the cost of both and the hours of meters — would solve most of the problems with a fraction of the cost, freeing up a lot of money to improve other forms of transit.

    That being said, I support SFPark because my proposition is not an alternative … and because so many people that strive for the same goals as me are behind it, and I have bigger battles to fight. But I think you have a good point, and if we just expanded the RPP throughout the neighborhood and made their cost much higher, made meters more expensive and extended their hours, and simultaneously used the new funds from these changes to vastly improve public transit, walkability, and bikeability in the neighborhood, we would be better off.

  • The problem with this is that if you’ve ever visited San Francisco – you know that in most neighborhoods there’s free parking a block or two over.  Unless it’s an emergency – when I visit another neighborhood – i’ll find the free parking. Which takes it away from the residence.

    If you take a drive around hayes valley on any working day, you can find parking meters in alley’s that go un-used day after day – (I would estimate they’re occupied at most 20 percent of the time).

    This is strategy is just another ploy by SFMTA to increase demand via artificially decreasing supply.

    I don’t trust SFMTA’s numbers on this (I am guessing they did the “survey” during the giants play offs to skew the numbers) – but even if true, parking when theres no meters involved is one of the only truly democratic things in the country.

    It’s not broken, no need to fix it.

  • Gneiss

    Sparky – I live in San Francisco and worked in this neighborhood at 17th and Folsom until about 2 years ago.  I can tell you categorically that weekday parking is a challenge, even on Folsom, particularly if you arrive after 10 am.  It’s one of the main reasons I switched from a mix of driving/Muni to almost exclusively biking to work.
    But what troubles me more, is that you believe your anecdotal stories hold more weight then the extensive data collection effort that SFMTA conducted.  Your attempt to delegitimizing it through the suggestion that it was done “during the World Series”  is incorrect.  The observations were made in May during typical workweek and weekend days
    I would agree that the SFMTA has done a poor job of showing how revenue generated from the installation of meters helps the local streetscapes.  But that’s a legitimate policy debate rather than suggesting that the only reason why they want to install the meters is to get money from drivers.  In fact, it’s one of the key principles that Donald Shoup brings up, is that revenue from meters should be used to directly benefit the areas where they are installed.  I believe SFMTA should be more transparent about how that money is spent and show the neighborhoods how it is used – maybe even by spending it on local sidewalk improvements, better signage or more frequent painting of lines in the streets.

    And I completely disagree with your contention that it is ‘democratic’ to subsidize free parking on city streets for drivers.  If that’s the case, then it should also be ‘democratic’ to make MUNI and BART free for all users and have all taxpayers picking up the tab for those services as well to provide parity for the subsidies that drivers currently enjoy.

  • Sparky403

    Gneiss – I walk the area daily (almost over the last few weeks) and I dis-argree parking is usually plentiful along folsom.

    I have read dr. shoup. The problem is that the money is not used to benefit any area… Further, despite SFMTA doubling parking tickets over the last 5 years along with thousands of new meters, elimination many hundreds of parking spaces SFMTA’s revenue (from parking tickets) peaked in 2006 – drivers have clearly motified their behavior (by my count at least 7 gas stations have went out of business during the last 5 years in the mission and van ness coridor – people aren’t driving nearly as much as they used to) but Muni still belives they can and should get more $$ from drivers. The bike coalistion backs them all the way.
    You seem to put a great deal of faith in their numbers, I don’t trust and agency who claims to be ontime 73% of the time when in actuality it’s 53% of the time. I don’t know when the study was done – though, after following muni – my guess is that they perhaps did the study on the days of giants games when out of towners would certain try to park in the area (do you know when or how the numbers were gathered?). I don’t but the number seems very very high to me at the end of the day – it’s not an indepedant study and there is no effective muni watch dog.

    At the end of the day, they’re using Shoup as an excuse to get more $ from drivers to supposedly improve muni – in my 20 years in SF is not improvable – due to lax union rules. SFMTA’s job is not only to mangage parking – but also to insure that Muni is effective and reliable – we can all agree that it’s not. (depite a $133mm larger budget than 2007).

    if they’re going to continual demonize drivers we need an alternative mode of transport – I can’t rely on a system that’s on time only 53% of the time – can you? I also can’t show up to my appointments sweaty from riding a bike. (for the record – I own 3 and ride them – I drive only 5% of the time – and yes sadly I still need a car).

    The bottom line is that no study has been done to understand the opportunity cost of the increase in meter pricing and decreasing parking on business. Business owners certainly aren’t asking for increased inforcement. the costs are already so high that you’re far smarter as a driver to go to daily city etc if you need to use your car.

  • Gneiss

    Sparky – Your point about when the data was collected.  It’s documented in the report on the MTA website.  Block by block.  Dates, times, etc. when they did the review.  Please take a look at the data before going off on how distrustful we should be of SFMTA.  And I’d back my daily commute by car/Muni over two years against your ‘walking along Folsom’ for a couple of weeks any day for anecdotal evidence.  Unless you have data, that’s all it is – a nice story, just like mine.

    Also, gas stations and car dealerships going out of business really has nothing to do with driving volume.  Much more to do with low margin businesses taking up expensive real estate in a city where space is at a premium.  The owners of those properties recognize they can make far more money redeveloping them as housing or retail.

    Your point about punishing drivers – that’s not it at all.  It’s about making our built environment more friendly for people walking, taking transit and yes, biking – and for the record, you don’t need to arrive sweaty to your destination if you bike (I certainly don’t).  This is about giving people options to needing to take a car to get where they have to go.  And if they must use a car, creating spaces for them so they aren’t double parked or parking illegally.  If the city can solve double parking problems along transit corridors, then on time arrival can be improved.  After all, we do have a ‘transit first’ policy in the city charter that city voters approved and SFMTA is trying to implement.

  • I will check out when the data was collected – you’re right I shouldn’t comment on that with out knowing the facts.

    But there are other facts…. that even though we’ve the amount of tickets and meters have doubled the revenue has not broken a 100 million – it peak in 2006 so if people are correcting their behavior, even in light of decreasing supply due to SFMTA installatioon of 5k parking meters 2 years ago – increase in technology to catch errand parker etc… the needle has not budged. Just how punitive does SF need to be?

    I take it most from the bike lobby really belive that people joy ride around SF as they do in the mid-west, nothing is further from the truth. driving here is a pain and I avoid it at all  cost as do most that own cars.

  • 18th street neighbor

    I lived in the area since the early 90’s & parking for residents without an I sticker ie; living on a specific street that requires a residential sticker, has always been a pain.

  • Guest

     SFPark works by “jacking up the price” as you say.  The price is adjusted to meet the demand.

  • Abe

    If everyone in SF quit driving there would be about thirteen more people living at the end of the year than there will be if nothing changes. That’s good enough for me.

  • I used to live in Haight/Ashbury on a street with free parking (no meters, no permits). Finding parking was usually do-able in about 10 minutes. But sometimes it was more like 30 minutes (more if you count the time to walk home from the remote location where you finally found a spot!)

    The ability to pay 25 cents per day for a permit to reduce the hassle of finding parking would have been a blessing!

  • Note: Many places where there are meters are not part of SFPark.  I’ve heard a lot of people reference the re-worked parking along Townsend by Caltrain as SFPark, but only a small section of it actually has the SFPark rate change by occupancy thing going on.  If it WERE all in the SFPark area, they’d have to lower the rates as the area closest to 7th is often mostly empty.

  • All you need in order to get a RPP is to get enough neighbors to sign a petition and the local businesses to not protest.

  • CRS

    A problem I see with the numbers, percentages and graph is that folks may live in SF 94110, but they register their cars out of town.

    SF has high insurance rates, and 94110 has the highest rates of *all* the SF zip codes.

    Consequently, even though the car is registered in, say, Colma, it actually may belong to a resident who lives in and keeps it in the Mission.

  • Looks like those resident’s attempt to work the system may be backfiring upon them. Careful what you ask for!

    This would also explain their desire to keep the status quo instead of trying to get an RPP. With an RPP in place, they would have to re-register their car and pay more insurance (and expose themselves to potential future SF VLF fees) or they would not be able to park on their street anymore.

    Cry me a river.

  • mikesonn

    People who currently cheat the system would like to continue to cheat the system.


  • You are right, there may be a lot of vehicles that are illegally registered, and that may make it look like a lot of outsiders are parking there.  I’m not sure how one would correct for that, though…putting it under RPP would cause people to ‘self-report’, but the people would have to ask for it and the businesses not protest.

    Either RPP or meters (smart or dumb) would probably help deal with the 22% from an adjacent zipcode and 12% from other SF zips.  Some of these have to be people warehousing their vehicles where there’s free parking.  All the complaints about there not being enough parking would evaporate if you free up just a quarter of those 34% of the spaces.

  • This is so ironic. The poster from those against parking reform, depicts people who can’t find parking – because there’s not enough parking turnover because there aren’t enough meters, and too many freeloaders!

  • #SFPark is awesome and I love it. So what if the price of parking goes up to $2-3/hour? Is that really that different? If you can afford to register and drive a car in SF, and put gas in it, you can afford a few cents more for parking. Not to mention the time and gas you save not having to circle for 45 mins searching for a spot or hiking 2 miles back from where you found parking. 

  • So suddenly everyone who rides MUNI deserves free parking?? C’mon…

  • Exactly. You clamp down outsider / freeloader abuse and everyone gets super upset. 

  • But yes, I do agree that Muni needs better parking options for their customers, other than shoving their customers onto residential street parking. 

  • bottom line, despite, SFMTA’s efforts at making a case – they’re looking for a solution (a very profitable one) where absolutely no problem exisits…

    They;ve hit drivers enough..

  • Wilkins Jim

    Great idea Zach. We should just let SFMTA put up meters all over town. That will fix everything.

  • SMills

    @RoyCrisman:disqus : Please let us know the proposed RPP area that was dropped due to “businesses surrounding.” 


SFMTA Unveils Proposal to Curb Cruising for Parking in the NE Mission

A draft of the SF Municipal Transportation Agency’s hotly-debated plans to install parking meters and expand permit zones in the northeast Mission has been posted online ahead of a community meeting on Thursday, where agency officials will present it to residents. Following months of data collection, planning, and community meetings, the SFMTA’s map shows where […]

SFMTA’s NE Mission Parking Management Plan Rounding Into Form

Efforts to reduce traffic caused by drivers circling for parking in the northeast Mission took another step forward last week when the SF Municipal Transportation Agency presented its revised proposal for the expansion of parking meters and permit regulations. Opposition seems to have slightly dwindled compared to the first neighborhood meeting in November, though the […]

SFMTA Abandons Parking Meter Plans in Dogpatch and Potrero Hill

The SFMTA has given up on its neighborhood-scale plans to install parking meters in the Dogpatch and Portrero Hill, while parking meter approvals in the northeast Mission move forward at a snail’s pace. After two years of tangling with the city, the defenders of dysfunctional free parking have effectively caused a huge setback for progressive […]

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. However, SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said the agency is still proposing to install conventional parking meters, which lack the technology that allows […]