Pay to park - Page 3

Are residents angry at bureaucratic bungling — or just with the loss of free street parking?


"If people are opposed to paying 25 cents per hour, the lowest rate in the city, then they are opposed to paying for parking," Primus said. He said it's a matter of equity among citizens: "There's nothing equitable about providing parking for free and asking people to pay $4 for a round trip Muni ride."

That's a notion that is echoed by others who say it's time for motorists to start paying their fair share.

"Everybody wants something for nothing. We all want that. Nobody wants to pay for parking, not even me," Don Shoup, the UCLA professor who wrote the influential book The High Cost of Free Parking, told us. He later added, "That whining you hear is the sound of change."

At a time when governments are hurting for revenue to provide basic services — among them, maintaining extensive roadway systems for motorists whose taxes don't come anywhere near covering their societal impacts — he said it just doesn't make sense to continue subsidizing the storage of automobiles.

"San Francisco has some of the most valuable land on earth. You have expensive housing for people and free parking for cars. It's not surprising that San Francisco has homeless people and traffic congestion," Shoup said. "There was never a city that is so liberal about other people's affairs and so conservative about its own affairs."

But Shoup did agree with critics that the real goal of managing parking isn't to discourage driving, although he applauds the SFpark program for using its increased revenue on public transit, which he thinks makes sense from a social justice perspective.

Jason Henderson, a professor of geography at San Francisco State and author of an upcoming book on the politics of parking and mobility, goes even further than Shoup in saying that San Francisco should use its parking policies to discourage driving. But at the very least, Henderson said it is counterproductive to offer free parking.

"The city is giving away valuable real estate with all of this free and underpriced curbside parking at a time when the city's transportation infrastructure is crumbling and essential city services for parks, after school programs, and libraries are constantly being cut. And here we have thousands of acres of real estate just being given away," Henderson told us.

"If anything, it needs to be done citywide so that it's judicious and level, so that merchants won't say that people won't come to their neighborhood because they can go to a different neighborhood where there's free parking."

Primus said there is a particularly strong need to manage parking around Mission Bay and the North Mission, where much of the city's growth is occurring.

"In a way, the SFMTA is catching up with the growth of the city. These are some of the last remaining areas that are residential-commercial mixed use areas with no parking management," Primus said.

Kelly agrees that time has come, but he doesn't think the SFMTA has helped its case, particularly given the emotions surrounding the issue and the need to maintain public support for improved transit service.

"They've been spending all their waking hours in the last couple years pissing people off over parking meters, do you really think people will then support their revenue proposals?" Kelly questioned.

Lum and Caroligne both said the SFMTA should have been willing to make the fundamental argument to people that the days of free parking are coming to an end.

"That's where a lot of the anger is coming from, you're doing this for all these reasons that don't make sense and treating us like children," Caroligne said, although she also added, "I agree with you that there would still be some outrage, even if the outreach had been better."


You raise a good point, and it does appear that SFMTA was cherry-picking data. Here's what I relied on for what I wrote:
The figures I quoted compared the old meters and the new, but the data you cite is also correct. I will add a correction to my lead noting that the percentage referred to the difference between old and new meters. But it is also true that revenue from citations has been falling for awhile and the new meters have began to offset that trend.

Posted by steven on Jan. 31, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

A very important consideration: If residential areas get parking meters, then residents without driveways or garages will be forced to drive to work to avoid parking tickets.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 03, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

All bungling aside, nobody is really paying attention to the fact that people actually LIVE in these neighborhoods, and that they don't have garages, or endless quarters, or people they can hire to move their cars every hour while they work. If the meters charged $2.00 per hour, 9:00am to 6:00pm, they would be paying nearly $110 per week, moving their vehicles every hour, or being forced to park in farther neighborhoods such as mine (26th and Folsom) where I already spend up to an hour searching for parking, and sometimes have to park five to fix blocks from home, which forces me to walk through a housing project in the middle of the night in front of which I have already been robbed TWICE.

This whole thing is just ridiculous. Are they trying to make it impossible to live here? I understand they the city needs money, but they can't keep taking it from places that impact us so negatively. I mean, Mark Zuckerburg is only paying something like $2 million in taxes, when he should be paying $6 billion. I make $13 dollars per hour working 35 hours per week.

Screw this I'm moving to LA. At least you're allowed to have a decent, uninhibited life there if you're not RICH.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 13, 2012 @ 11:14 am

Hey, is anyone here experienced in writing petition letters? If you are, I would like to suggest that you start (or help me start) a petition on The organization has been very effective in the past, most notably in helping to get BofA to drop their proposed $5/month banking fee a months ago.

Posted by on Feb. 13, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

Obviously I'm referring to a petition that would stop meters from going in...

Posted by on Feb. 13, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

The tyranny of private automobile ownership is coming to an end. Deal with it.

Posted by guest on Feb. 13, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

So it works out for everyone.

Your sense of entitlement to live in your created Utopia, and other people get to finance it. A win win for all.

Everyone should aspire to live to the standards those that decide whats best for us. It is confusing to know who knows best? Please explain why your entitlement is superior to all others.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 13, 2012 @ 6:38 pm

Therefore we're ALL entitled to enjoy the fruits of other people paying for their use. Just like we're entitled to the enjoyment of the fruits of the use of our airspace, airwaves and other public spaces as well.

Everyone doesn't have to "aspire to live to the standards set for us." Everyone has NO CHOICE, when they're utilizing the public space, to adhere to those standards. And if they chose not to adhere to those standards - then there will be consequences.

Posted by guest on Feb. 13, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

Don't you deep thinking stoner's listen to Red Barchetta anymore?

The use of public space by unpopular users is bad, the use of public space by popular users is an entitlement.

Time to fence off all parks, sidewalks, parklets, plaza's, intersections, and anywhere else where the citizens may congregate, and then impose some sort of fee. Human being and all their antics are a blight.

It's interesting how establishment and authoritarian the third generation of 60's hippies have become. If the population is too stupid to obey the dictates of those who decree what is a matter of "NO CHOICE," the population need to be coerced into it for their own good.

The new left really is happy face fascism, bonged out authoritarianism.

Posted by matlock on Feb. 13, 2012 @ 11:22 pm

Sign the petition to our city leaders to stop this ill conceived plan

Posted by Guest on Feb. 14, 2012 @ 2:32 am

Charging for parking in a public space will always be met with disagreements and opposition. No one likes to pay more, especially on a space that they have been parking for free for a long time. To rub salt to the wound, the SFMTA goes around proclaiming its success in increasing their own revenue. How can you expect residents to be happy about that?

Posted by Melanie on Apr. 08, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

I am totally agreed with all the facts given in this post. The most amazing fact that I like the most in this post is the use of high-tech meters and demand-variable pricing to manage on-street parking. Also, I think that residents would angry if they have to pay the parking fee to park their cars.

Posted by cheap tires on Mar. 29, 2013 @ 3:16 am