SFMTA report recommends extended parking meter hours


By Steven T. Jones

A just-released San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency study has recommend extending parking meter hours to Sundays and nights as a means of raising $8.8 million in annual revenue, increasing parking availability, and reducing traffic congestion and illegal parking – setting up a potential clash with Mayor Gavin Newsom, who opposes the idea and who appointed the MTA board members who will make the decision.

The detailed SFMTA study, launched in May as part of a budget compromise, took a neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach to its analysis, recommending varying hours and conditions to try to achieve the 85 percent occupancy rate it considers ideal. For example, 59 percent of metered spaces would have hours extended to 9 pm Monday through Thursday and until midnight Friday and Saturday, while 23 percent of spaces would remain at 6 pm on weekdays and 9 pm on weekends. And at 17 percent of meters with the lowest parking availability, drivers would need to plug meters until midnight everyday except Sunday, when metering hours would end at 6 p.m. citywide.

“This proposal for extended meter hours fits into a larger vision of the SFMTA’s overall transportation and parking policy goals and furthers San Francisco’s Transit First policy,” Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., executive director of the SFMTA, said today in a prepared statement. “Parking meters create parking availability and they support economic vitality by helping business customers find parking when they need it.”

Both the SFMTA report and press release announcing it say the business community – which recently successfully pushed Oakland to repeal its extended hours, and for which parking has always been a sensitive topic – has been extensively consulted on the proposed changes, and that most businesses would benefit from them.

“When San Francisco’s meters were first introduced in 1947, many businesses kept traditional hours, usually from 9 am to 5 pm, Mondays through Saturdays. Today, many businesses are open late in the evening and all day on Sundays, which creates demand for parking at times when parking meters do not currently operate,” says the 37-page report’s executive summary.

But the Mayor’s Office has cited the slow economy and the desires of the business community as reasons for reneging on the parking compromise that it helped negotiate as part of a May budget deal. The MTA board was given full autonomy to regulate parking under 2007’s Proposition A, which Newsom supported, so those appointees must now choose between SFMTA staff recommendations and Newsom.

“Our approach is based on extensive research and includes outreach to dozens of stakeholders, including businesses. We know that this study will engender significant discussion and feedback from elected officials and the general public. We welcome that discussion. We believe that the excellent work that went into this study will elevate San Francisco’s always passionate debates about parking,” Ford said.


Remember when liberals didn't like; invasive government, unelected decision makers, and professional consultants that think of people as lab rats?

Posted by glen matlock on Oct. 13, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

Unbelievable - as if those recommending this didn't learn a single thing from what happened in Oakland. The arrogance is absolutely astounding.

"Most businesses would benefit from them." Yes, because adding an additional $3.00 per hour to the cost of someone's dinner or show downtown Saturday night or on Sunday, during a recession, is just brilliant. People are begging to pay more in meter fees!!!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 13, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

@ Snapples
Arrogance is a big accusation to throw at people who are doing what the mayor should be doing: making funds available for public transit.

Frankly, I can't understand how anybody can defend anything at all about driving a car and leaving it in public space at no charge. That is what I'd call arrogance, especially in the face of all the new data about climate change and Co2. It's as if those defending drivers' rights didn't learn a single thing about sharing a fragile planet.

Posted by Joe Treppverter on Oct. 13, 2009 @ 8:02 pm

I would rather there be a 4 hour limit imposed on the Marin and peninsula commuters who use golden gate park.

Anyone tried to find a parking place anywhere from stow lake to the DMV lately will identify with the situation.

Didn't Oakland just try this extended meter thing?

Posted by edshuck on Oct. 14, 2009 @ 7:02 am

Joe, our board of supervisor foreign policy expert progressives have billions of dollars to spend and they choose not to spend it on MUNI. Instead of having priorities directed towards the citizens of the city they choose to direct them towards subservience to SEIU, and out of town bums and illegal aliens.

If you have a problem with the funding of MUNI look no further than the cities foreign policy experts, on the board of supervisors.

This is a created problem to further extort money from the citizens to fix a problem created by the idiotic progressives.

Posted by glen matlock on Oct. 14, 2009 @ 8:01 am

As usual, Glen and Lucretia, our angry conservative trolls, your facts are wrong and your assertions are ridiculous. The city's discretionary budget is about $1 billion, and the MTA's budget is an entirely separate pot of money that is in deficit mode even after cutting Muni service and doubling Muni fares in recent years, which is not the best formula for promoting public transit.
I think Joe is absolutely correct that the arrogance being displayed here is not with the progressives that you conservatives love to bash, but with overentitled motorists who expect free public parking spaces and the full range of other public subsidies while constantly whining about having to pay taxes or plug meters. And the stupidest part of your myopic perspective is you don't even realize that charging for parking creates more turnover and gives you more parking spaces.
But for those of you out there with a less hysterical point of view, please weigh in when the SFMTA board considers this proposal on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 2 p.m. in City Hall Room 400.

Posted by Steven T. Jones on Oct. 14, 2009 @ 10:15 am

I love that someone who has enough money to own a car wants the city to find the space to store it for them, but not pay for it. How arrogant do you have to be?

Posted by mcas on Oct. 14, 2009 @ 10:50 am

Lifted from a largely unrelated Streetsblog article:

"[arguments against parking-pricing reform assume] that a free parking system, where open spots are almost never available, is desirable for drivers.

That's like saying that a store that gives away bread for free -- and which subsequently never has any bread -- is good for people who like eating bread."

Posted by Josh on Oct. 14, 2009 @ 11:28 am

I don't think people should "expect free public parking spaces and the full range of other public subsidies." Isn't that the point of meters - that they're paying for what they're using? Your point, Stephen, is to make parking so horrendously expensive that people will no longer want to do it. Sorta like the campaign against smoking and the one gearing up against sugary drinks. Of course the empty streets will not benefit anyone - neither the city, nor MUNI nor the businesses downtown. Have you ever tried catching a cab in this town between 10PM - 12AM? It's impossible.

Maybe it's time to start considering a tax on bicyclists - who, after all, use the roads in increasing multitudes but don't expect to pay for it. Talk about a "sense of entitlement." Those who drive cars pay for those who drive bicycles. That's not very progressive, particularly as bicycling to work is primarily a white, upper-class urban syndrome (which is the main readership of The Guardian after all), therefore shoving the burden of paying for the roads off on the poor. I guess the slogan should be "I bike therefore I expect everyone else to pay for the roads I'm riding on, especially the poor and non-white." More white male privilege hiding under the guise of equality from The Guardian.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 14, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

I may be a troll but I'm not a conservative.

I find conservatives as laughable as progressives, the commonality between the two is amazing, I have a hard time with who is speaking "for the people," as they both claim. What set of special interests should I side up with?

Oddly I don't own a car, but I don't begrudge people their cars, unlike the average SF progressive, I don't obsess over what other people do.

It's amazing how the pro freedom progressives have such an obsession with what other people are doing, and wanting to legislate it, it reminds me of reading Bertrand Russell complain about Christians who obsessed over his sex life.

Don't you have something better to do than stew on what other people do? For people who go into hysterics over pro-life idiots you sure know whats best for other people everywhere else on the political spectrum.

Reading these screeching anti-car rants it's amazing that you people call yourselves liberal.

Posted by glen matlock on Oct. 14, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

Sunday meters? Fine. Sunday is a retail day just as much as Saturday anymore.

But extending meters to midnight on Friday and Saturday is so stupid it makes my head hurt.

9pm to midnight on Friday and Saturday is for getting DRUNK. Most of our restaurants aren't even open after 9, much less retail. There's nothing to do in these commercial corridors EXCEPT drink at that hour. And with a two hour limit, you're forcing someone who wants to go for a drink at nine to either move her car at 11, or eat a $55 ticket.

Having half-drunk people reparking their cars at a time when drunk pedestrians are already out and about is a recipe for dead people. Seriously.

If you want to repeal the two-hour limit on parking meters, then there might be a sensible conversation to have. But without that, meters to midnight on Friday and Saturday night is just a way to get pedestrians killed.

And before anyone goes off on those who might be driving to a bar, note that without meters you can drive to a neighborhood, park, take a cab home, and come retrieve your car the next morning, all without breaking the law or getting a ticket. Put an end to that and you degrade the nightlife of our city AND run over some of the pedestrians trying to enjoy what's left.

I'd love to hear the sensible defense of this idea.

Posted by hermann is my handle on Oct. 15, 2009 @ 6:33 am

"I may be a troll but I'm not a conservative."

Thanks for laying that out there for us.


Posted by marcos on Oct. 15, 2009 @ 7:00 am

In today's examiner it mentions that the extended meter money has already been assumed and spent.

Yes SF "progressives" go down and tell our intrusive unelected overlords that are bad when they are republicans, that you want "more of the same," because the money was already spent and we need to pay for it.

I love progressive buzz words like accountability.

I am seriously trying to figure out the difference between the "progressives" and the people that progressives hate. When the right connives and schemes, or is this completely incompetent, its bad, when the left does it, it's for your own good and if you don't like it you are a "conservative."

Posted by glen matlock on Oct. 15, 2009 @ 7:08 am



Posted by marcos on Oct. 15, 2009 @ 7:12 am

I can't believe anyone is seriously arguing that driving to a bar to get drunk is a good idea.

Posted by Tim Redmond on Oct. 15, 2009 @ 9:24 am

Drive to bar, park, drink, take cab home, retrieve car in the morning. What part of that is so unbelievable? Lots of people do it.

Especially if they have to work the next morning anyway, or if they wing up going to someone else's house for the night. It's a great excuse for getting out of your trick's house in the morning.

It is really so hard for you to believe that people do this?

And what exactly do you think people are doing in these neighborhood commercial corridors at 11pm on Saturday night anyway?

Posted by hermann is my handle on Oct. 15, 2009 @ 10:12 am

Extending the two-hour meter limit to four hours is a part of this proposal, as is making it easier to obtain SFMTA Parking Cards and extending residential parking permit hours to discourage parking in the neighborhoods rather than the commercial districts. Also, contrary to another claim by a commenter, per hour meter charges aren't going up.
This proposal wasn't developed by progressives but by traffic engineers who have considered and try to mitigate the full array of impacts. People should follow the link in my post and read all the details of this proposal, which addresses many of the concerns raised in the comments section, at least those of substance.
As for the trolls' points about why progressives care about what drivers do, it's simply a resource issue. We get no particular pleasure from these irritating little battles with conservatives (and yes, Glen, that's what you are whether you cop to it or not -- all you have to offer at attacks on those seeking change, Mr. Status Quo), but it's neither fair nor smart to place most of this burden on public transit users.
Motorists use more public space than any other San Francisco citizens, often simply for storing their vehicles, but we all pay taxes (yes, even bicyclists, who take up a small fraction of the space used by cars). Without even getting into how drivers don't pay for the full impacts of the fuel they use or the pollution they create, the space issue alone indicates they are the logical user group to turn to when the government agency that supports them needs money. I don't know why this is such a hard concept for so many of you to understand.

Posted by Steven T. Jones on Oct. 15, 2009 @ 12:15 pm

I would love to see a change where the schools are well funded in the city and state, I would love to see a change where the buses run on time, are clean, and not home to many of SF's knife wielding bums from across the nation. Instead we have people who fete their favorite special interest and call it progressive.

True believers are people who have an agenda and find arguments to back up that agenda, the MTA wants to raise more money from the serfs so they dream up an argument that the they hope the rest of us are to stupid to see through. Such as longer hours for meters being better for business. Who knows better, the conniving city and its progressive monkeys or the actual business owners?

I'll post this for you again, I can send you the book if you want? I guess you'll moved from Hampshire, too gentrified I guess?


Posted by glen matlock on Oct. 15, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

Check my website and you'll find a couple articles that draw on Hofstadter's work, but you're the one being paranoid here, Glen. The progressive movement isn't some dark conspiracy to hurt businesses and defend knife-wielding bums (that's a pretty crazy theory there, Glen), just public-spirited people working to make this city, country, and world a better place for all its inhabitants. You are a strange little man, Glen, lurking around the Internet, spreading your bile, and accusing all of us of being too negative. It would be funny if it wasn't so irritating, self-centered, and distracting for those trying to have a real conversation.

Posted by Steven T. Jones on Oct. 16, 2009 @ 8:05 am

So Steve has read Hofstadter and seemingly gets the part about wacky conservatives, but thinks that Bush had some shady antics concerning 9/11. I've always been entertained by true believers, I think my most loved is David Horowitz, a figure that I can see Steve following to the crazy right.

Thanks for the laugh Steve.

When the Guardian finely folds in a chasm of indifference, I hope you find a job ranting on a street corner some place Steve. I wonder what you are like in person, do you steer every conversation your persoanl politics?

The problem with progressives is the same problem with neo-cons and born againers; no enemy to the farther extreme, a total lack of honesty about your own sides FU's but attacking the other sides FU's as the worst ever, a total loathing of anyone in the middle, an intolerance of those who do not agree, a picking and choosing your way through ideals, etc...

The basic problem with progressive's, like all true believers is that there is no wrong answer.

For example, white flight is bad because its racist and destroys the tax base, but its OK if its Chris Daly.

Steve would make a good case study in true belief, I've been enjoying his golden nuggets for a few months now.

Steve parrots the MTA talking points like a graduate of Bob Jones parrots some of the bible. The unelected MTA claims that the extended parking meter hours would be good for business, but business sees right through that shit, but Steve keeps right at it, as he knows better.

Posted by glen matlock on Oct. 16, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

Actually, I'd prefer an across-the-board car tax, based on the value of the vehicle -- rich people with facny cars pay more, but everyone who owns a car pays an annual fee (say, $500 at the low end, $2,000 at the high end) to pay for public transit. Sadly, the state won't let San Francisco do that.

Posted by tim redmond on Oct. 17, 2009 @ 10:07 am

I think that we serfs have already been soaked by the MTA, with Muni fares rising 100% over 5 years for service that's been further cut from the previous crappy levels.

I guess that the serfs who drive cars expect special treatment, to not share the pain with those of us who don't drive.

Trolls like Glen on one hand whine about burdens placed on motorists, and on the other hand, support more housing which will generate more autos that will further snarl traffic, Muni and compete for your on street parking space.


Posted by marcos on Oct. 17, 2009 @ 11:41 am

Oh Marc, so entertaining again.

Our nations transit experts are telling us that housing should be built around transit hubs and corridors, hubs such as 16th and Mission and corridors around Mission for example? Then some other experts tell us that that we shouldn't build more housing in certain areas because people drive. But SF liberals also tell us that if we build it they will come, meaning if we are transit first people will love to take transit? Which one of these "experts" should I believe?

Like I said, if Mission condo's are good enough for white flight Daly then whats the big deal?

Marc, you start out with a position and hunt around for people that agree with you, you don't like development so you find "experts" to agree with you. Just like all with the Bay Guardian mentality, its learned behavior so I don't blame you for eating it all up, its just sad.

I don't own a car so I'm not complaining about the burden put on car owners, I'm complaining about the bottomless pit of stupid spending in this city and the soaking of the citizens to pay for it.

There is no real world connection between parking and transit but in the heads of the SF authoritarians, its like the joke, "why do dogs lick their balls, because they can.

Posted by glen matlock on Oct. 18, 2009 @ 11:38 am

You know, Glen, I don't believe that the answer to every problem is to throw money at it, and I don't think more government spending is always the answer (it isn't working, for example, in Afghanistan) -- but there are some areas where history shows that increased spending almost always leads to better results. On is public schools; another is public transit.

If you charge more for parking and use that money to better fund Muni, you will almost certainly get better Muni service. Not perfect, there will be some waste (there always is, in both the private sector and the public sector) but overall, spending money on Muni works.

That's why I'm for charging more for parking -- make driving more expensive AND transit better and you get the combo that all the policy makers agree makes sense.

Posted by tim redmond on Oct. 18, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

The secret service busts counterfeit rings and protects the president, what do the two have to do with each other? Not a whole lot. An accident of history.

Parking has as much to do with the shitty state of MUNI as protecting the president has to do with catching counterfeiters,

Like I said, the reason you moonbats want to raise the cost of parking to hand over to MUNI is because you can do it, not because it makes any sense.

All the ridiculous high talk about making MUNI better is bullshit as long as you support SF progressives who couldn't careless about MUNI, but they do care about their narrow special interest they take orders from.

Posted by glen matlock on Oct. 18, 2009 @ 7:41 pm

All things being equal, it makes sense to build housing around transit.

But all things are not equal.

TOD is a lot like Communism, it looks great on paper, but will never work given the conditions on the ground. To the contrary, it will throw more dirt on a Muni that's trying to dig itself out of a hole into which it was intentionally cast.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 19, 2009 @ 8:27 am

BTW, I had no problems with market rate housing until the price detached completely from the local wage base around 2002-3 or so. Now that the SF wage base cannot support those prices, commuting is mandatory and the transit system is simply competitive with private autos, not without tens of billions of dollars more investment.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 19, 2009 @ 9:38 am