Some Tips to Help SF Weekly Get Over the Free Parking Obsession

The folks at SF Weekly seem really upset about the end of free car parking on Sundays. The shock is apparently severe enough that Erin Sherbert put up a post yesterday directing readers to sign the petition demanding an absolute end to the SF Municipal Transportation Agency’s expansion of parking meters, launched by the Eastern Neighborhoods United Front (ENUF). (Just a reminder: ENUF’s spokesperson won a Streetsie Award this year for “most absurd argument against SFPark meters.”)

Many San Franciscans tired of the free parking mess on commercial streets actually aren't "pissed off about paying for parking on Sunday." Photo: ## Judy Watt/Flickr##

Signing on the to ENUF petition, Sherbert wrote, is car owners’ last stand against “the new oppressive parking rules.”

Apparently SF Weekly is little behind the curve when it comes to the basic nuts and bolts of parking policy. But in a sign that you don’t need a parking PhD to get why meters make streets work better for everyone, SF Weekly’s readership seemed to welcome the end of free parking on Sundays.

None of the readers commenting on the SF Weekly post were actually “pissed off” about Sunday parking. To the contrary, there were a few comments supporting Sunday meters, like “bulk2,” who wrote, “Sorry, but free parking on Sunday is a legacy from an era when shops were closed Sundays… I’m sick of my taxpayer dollars going to fund everyone’s private car parking on public streets. Muni still costs $2 on Sundays last I checked.” Reader “ChachitoSF” simply asked, “Is this a joke? Know your readership or rename yourselves ‘Walnut Creek Weekly.'”

The reaction on Twitter was similar. Transbay Blog’s Eric C. pointed out that SF Weekly isn’t in the habit of telling readers what they can do “if we’re pissed about paying for Muni on Sunday.” And @LightExposures suggested that anyone “pissed about paying for parking on Sunday” should “ride a bike, and calm the hell down.”

Of course, no one likes having to pay for something they’ve been getting for free. But as @peternocturnal pointed out with a touch of snark (“Outrageous that I should have to pay for my own lifestyle. Charge it to the taxpayers!”), SF’s dysfunctional free Sunday parking regime was a burden to everyone who had to circle the block endlessly for a spot, everyone who had to put up with commercial streets clogged with traffic, noise, and exhaust, and all the merchants who lost business because of the lack of parking turnover.

All told, free Sunday parking was much more “oppressive” than paying a price to use scarce street space for automobile storage. That’s why supporters of SFPark started their own petition encouraging its expansion. It’s a point we make repeatedly on Streetsblog, and hopefully the editors at SF Weekly got the message coming from their readers.

  • Anonymous

    No one realizes how dysfunctional San Franciso really is, until they move away and begin looking at the issues objectively. Bikers probably lead the pack in terms of totally hijacking the City.  Not Bikers (for pleasure and exercise) but Bikers “the Militants” who believe in their inalienable rights to hijack the entire City for their personal interests.  The biggest problem is the density and the intellectual diversity of the population!  Not culturally speaking but lifestyle speaking.  The joy of SF is the natural beauty, it’s artistic intesity and the naturalized nestled neighborhoods.  The burden of SF is EVERYONE trying to achieve their own pesonal objectives, and not being able to find a common, cohesive, compatible plan for unifying the City in both spirit and emotion.  Everyone is always competing, fighting, arguing, complaining, going to the extreme, just being odd, and failing to understand one another, because it’s nearly impossible to do so.  These issues and obscure modifications (like “Parklets ” and a ban on Nudity, like it should ever have been a permission in the first place) just makes the entire City look stupid and trite to outsiders.  Only Native San Franciscians can mourn the City in which they were raised, and has long since disappeared.

  • Tony

    If you’re not into density and intellectual diversity (your words, not mine), city life may not be for you, native or not.

  • Foo

    Boy you said it Tony, I’m tired of the intellectual diversity and people being just odd. Let’s pack up the ol’ SUV and move to Walnut Creek.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately I didn’t mean “intellectual diversity” in a good way.  And that’s not to say that Walnut Creek doesn’t have it’s own share of same issues.  I meant that in SF everybody in a governing capacity seems to have the next (but oddly unique) “bright idea” (like Parklets or putting median dividers down Kirkham St.?) or whatever it is that requires something being done the hard way!  Right now the next issue seems to be dogs barking in a dog park!  Oh gosh, now it’s offending the surrounding neighborhood.  WHAT.  Did they just build the Dog Park in this neighborhood, or was it probably standing there well before most of these complainers were born?  That’s what I mean.  There IS something for everybody in San Francisco, but why does there have to be a controversy over it too?  Why?  Well because of the “intellectual” diversity thing. Like, my “bright idea” is naturally better than your supposed “bright idea” and the problem is that eventually there just isn’t room anymore for everyone’s idea, because of the density issue.  Somebody might be forced to rent near the dog park, so guess who’s complaining about it.  And on it goes.  You’ll absolutely never understand the innate incompatibility of it all, until you find a place to live where it’s harmonous (not boring, just agreeable)!  Tust me on this one.

  • Anonymous

    You mean bicyclists/cyclists, not bikers. Big difference.

    And yeah, it’s really crazy how the bicyclists have hijacked the city from cars. Every day when I see that cars utterly dominate every single street in the city I think the same thing.

    And I love how the only “objective” people are those who have moved away. Righhhhhht. Definitely no bias in those from the car-centric suburbs. Bias only happens in SF.

    I’m actually surprised you didn’t mention urine and feces on the sidewalk and all the homeless bums … that’s a favorite of the “objective” people.

  • Sorry, nobody is buying the circling the block endlessly argument any more. Think up a new excuse already. LIke they spent all the Muni money on apps, PR, logos, bike paths and street “rehabs”, instead of fixing the broken down buses.

  • mikesonn

    s/nobody/just you/

  • Please come to murphstahoe’s house of tin foil hats – we are having a sale!

  • How would you even know if the buses are broken down?

  • the argument about free parking vs free muni – doesn’t have an ounce of logic behind it. Last I checked, muni had to pay high wages, benefits, maintence etc… How much of these variable costs do a parking spot need – none.

  • mikesonn

    How much expensive real estate does a parking spot take up? What percentage of our city is dedicated to the storage of private autos?

  • Dog Park This

    I think this message board doesn’t have any more room for your “bright ideas.”

  • Anonymous

    In reading these comments and replys I know exactly what’s wrong, not with San Francisco the City, but it’s newest younger residents.  These are the “entitled” … born, and raised and (unfortunately) transplanted from their suburban hell-holes of boredom and blandness.  They are now revelling in their newest found freedoms.  And have assumed the mantel of eclecticism.  These are the one generation older than the Millenium babes, who grew up just before it got tough enough to have a real impact on struggling students and those just trying to enter the job market and create an independent life for themselves.  These are usually the techie priviledged or white collar professionals employed who have “their’s” ,,, and have not much else to do but critique all the rest.  They still lack the compassion, humility, manners and respect that the generations before them have grown up with. And who knows how long it will take for them to acquire it through experience.  In 20 yrs, if you’re STILL a transplanted San Francisco Resident, write a Blog about your overall experience.  But you’ll never make it.     

  • mikesonn

    Can we shift this conversation to real issues as opposed to your opining about days past?

  • Gneiss

    Yeah – obviously street cleaning and pavement repair aren’t variable costs…

  • I was about to say: What does any of this have to do with Sunday parking meters?  Please keep comments relevant.

  • Anonymous

    Sure. The  issue is (as opposed to parklets, barking dogs, a nudity ban, “cyclists” and dangerous median dividers on a residential street, homelessness, and public urination) paying for Sunday parking in local business neighborhoods.  Which would mean I have to walk a few extra blocks in West Portal from where I park to take Muni downtown. That’s a current topic alright, generating plenty of conversation. I’ll try to focus from now on.       

  • mikesonn

    You park in front of businesses in West Portal and then take Muni downtown? That is the WHOLE POINT of Sunday metering! Those spots are for customers to those stores not so someone can store their car for free and force customers to drive around looking for parking and, in essence, rob those businesses of customers.

  • Anonymous

    Well that was only occasionally.  What I would really do, was park on a (formerly) leisurly Sunday afternoon in front of Peet’s Coffee, and share several cups of coffee (and pastries) with friends for good conversation.  Now, because I have to run down a block or two to “feed” the meter I am neither as relaxed nor focused because of being so worried about a ticket.  Thus my monetary business (like at the local WP hardware, pet supply store, grocery, etc.) is cut short, when I continue down Juniperra Serra to Stonestown.  I do put it on the calendar however, once a month at least, to take the “L” car from Ocean Beach (especially during the colder winter days) out to West Portal, so I can still buy a cup of Coffee from Peet’s because I should be supporting both local business and public transporation. 

  • Also, please press the “reply” button to respond to comments rather than starting a new thread every time.

  • mikesonn

    You get 4 hour time limits on Sundays. Plus, we’ve only had one Sunday and the meters weren’t even enforced. Are you just having bad dreams about running to the meters and are prematurely (and unnecessarily) freaking yourself out?

  • Anonymous

    As a native born San Franciscian I am innately overly anxious about many different topics.  Yes I may have been “anticipating” the worst case scenario in this example.  Thank you for your clarifications.  Now I can plan my next Sunday West Portal shopping experience with complete confidence and peace of mind!  Touche’ … it’s been a pleasure exchanging with a fellow humorist!  

  • Show us the birth certificate!

  • EXPOSED! Real San Francisco residents don’t have to drive to West Portal! The Sunset is NOT REAL SAN FRANCISCO! It is just a bunch of carpetbaggers who built houses on dunes! And don’t get me started on Daly City (which you try to call Park Merced and St Francis Wood!) 

  • jccourt

    The way this new measure was passed is not acceptable.

    Instead of a real vote by the board of supervisors the mayor simply added the measure to the 2012-13 budget and in order to reject the measure the Board of supervisors would have had to reject the 2012-13 budget.

    Does this kind of manipulations by the mayor of San Francisco sound honest to you Aaron?   Thanks. 


  • Well, the mayor never came out in support of Sunday meters (he was quoted as opposing it in the Examiner in November 2011). The measure was introduced into the SFMTA budget as a result of workshops with a panel of stakeholders. The only supervisor who came out against it was Scott Wiener. We supported the measure when Newsom opposed it, and we supported it every step of the way under this administration.

  • Anonymous

    “The joy of SF is the natural beauty, it’s artistic intesity and the naturalized nestled neighborhoods.”

    Yeah, damn those militant bicyclists for destroying our parks, razing our historic properties, and segmenting our communities just to build their hellish, elevated bicycle freeways, and zip around the city at ungodly speeds! If only the marginalized car coalition had done something to stop this!

  • Anonymous

    Well I’d been hit over my keyboard fingers being reminded how the “subject” was about paid meter time on Sundays in business neighborhoods, and of course within a 4 hour time limit, and of course which has a certain grace period before actually being enforced, and of course so that pesky motorists wouldn’t be overly “loitering” at their favorite coffee (and I presume saloon) establishments.  Well just as I had been accustomizing myself to these freshly qualified rules and regulations, here’s a brand new yet off-topic comment.  Leave it to those pesky “militant bicyclist” type defenders to swipe at innocent motorists. Again. Meowww!  Where will it end?  Or do I just have to show up on Critical Mess Friday for an in-person chat?

  • mikesonn

    “Well I’d been hit over my keyboard fingers being reminded how the “subject” was about paid meter time on Sundays in business neighborhoods, and of course within a 4 hour time limit, and of course which has a certain grace period before actually being enforced, and of course so that pesky motorists wouldn’t be overly “loitering” at their favorite coffee (and I presume saloon) establishments.”

    You were ignoring all those things which are the core of the program. Businesses are open on Sunday and need turn over. You won’t be quickly shooed away from your coffee talk because you can put up to 4 hours in at a time. You have 3 weekends to get use to the program before you are issued a ticket. Pretty basic and no militancy about it.


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