SFMTA chief hopes to calm the parking meter furor at supervisorial hearing


San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency director Ed Reiskin faces a tough challenge tomorrow (Thu/2) at the Board of Supervisors Neighborhood Services and Safety hearing that Sup. Mark Farrell has called on expanding parking meters into new neighborhoods, where Reiskin is expected to face a hornet's nest of SFMTA critics stirred up by the loss of free street parking and perceptions that the agency is mismanaging public spaces and transit. [UPDATE: Read what happened here.]

Reiskin needs to quell some of the anger that is erupting in the northeast Mission District, Potrero Hill, and other areas slated for new meters enough to prevent increased supervisorial intervention into his independent agency and ensure a transit improvement bond measure planned for next year has a chance of passing – which the agency desperately needs to make improvements to Muni.

“We appreciate the opportunity to share information on how we're trying to create more parking availability and ease congestion,” SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told us.

Jay Primus, who manages the SF Park variable price meter program for the SFMTA, told us he's seen the presentation that Reiskin will be giving and finds it compelling, even though he knows better than anyone that, as Primus said, “Parking is always a difficult subject, particularly in an area as dense as San Francisco.”

It's hard to imagine what might satisfy the SFMTA's staunchest critics, who have created websites blasting and lampooning the agency's every action and formed opposition groups that use militant rhetoric.

Mary Eliza is the spokesperson for Eastern Neighborhoods United Front, which has whipped up critics of the parking plans with calls to “FILL THE HALL. Raise your flag and wear your colors.” Speaking to the Guardian, she cited a litany of complaints and deep, conspiratorial suspicion of the SFMTA and its agenda, which is why she said critics have appealed to the supervisors.

“We're not dealing much with the MTA anymore, we're dealing with the supervisors because we think it's our best chance to get anything accomplished,” Eliza told us.

They seem to have found a sympathetic audience with Farrell, a conservative from the westside, where pro-car ideologies are strongest. “Even as a transit first city, San Franciscans deserve to have reasonable parking situations in their neighborhoods. With plans under discussion to expand SFMTA's number of parking meters citywide, every potentially affected neighborhood deserves to have extensive input into and thorough understanding of SFMTA's upcoming plan,” Farrell wrote in calling for the hearing.

Primus said the SFMTA does try to be responsive to community concerns, noting that when its plans for new meters in the northeast Mission, Potrero Hill, and Mission Bay ran into strong community opposition in 2011, officials delayed the plans to gather more data and do more community outreach, separate the proposals, and remove them from the SF Park pilot program.

They are now finishing work on the Mission plan, which should come out this summer, after they do more work on solving issues raised by car repair and other light industrial businesses. But Primus said parking scarcity and good transit access in the area make it “an area where good parking management is all the more important.”

Then comes Potrero Hill, where the anti-meter furor appears to be strongest. But with increased development planned for the area, Primus noted that the community and Board of Supervisors have already called for more active parking management by the SFMTA: “All these parking policies were called for in the Eastern Neighborhoods plan, so it was already approved by the supervisors.”


bemoans government that doesn't listen to "the people." "The people" being this mythical entity of a massive progressive majority.

In this blog Steve Jones bemoans actual real people complaining about the government not paying attention to their wishes.

It's interesting how true believers process information.

People who organize against the government are good, unless they organize against invasive "progressive" government.

Posted by Matlock on May. 01, 2013 @ 7:18 pm

The problem with extending them into neighborhood where people live is that people really do not like getting up at 6am in the morning to feed a meter outside their own home. And nobody can blame them.

So, at a minimum, meters should only be put in residential neighborhoods IF there is a residents' parking zone there AND those with a sticker for that zone can park at a meter for free.

Otherwise people should oppose this money grab and I wouldn't blame anyone who goes around with superglue and gums up these meters. This is a tax by any other name, and it's time for another Boston Tea Party.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

I'm tired of hearing about the original Boston Tea Party.

The reality is it was a bunch of waterfront riff-raff paid with rum, in advance, who occupied private property and vandalized the inventory of innocent merchants.

Posted by pete moss on May. 07, 2013 @ 10:59 am

have us back. I doubt she would want us any more though.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 11:41 am

Yep, Farrell is soooooooo conservative. Just like Sarah Palin, he is.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 5:59 am

He's probably closer to Schwarzennegger than Palin, but in general you have a point. On economic issues, his positions on the BOS would probably mirror those of any Republican.

Posted by Greg on May. 02, 2013 @ 7:35 am

He is a liar. He said with straight face - the primary purpose of Sunday meters was to create turnover for merchants. Funny that the merchants didn't want it.

Muni is gouging middle-class taxpayers to pay for the inflated benefits and wages of Muni employees. It's not complicated.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 10:39 pm

Yes, it's not about "managing" parking to benefit the neighborhoods. It's about more money to pay for the more than 5,000 employees in the MTA bureaucracy.

Posted by Rob Anderson on May. 03, 2013 @ 8:15 am

We should be giving them less money, not more.

Posted by Guest on May. 03, 2013 @ 9:09 am

This is also known as - progressive government.

Posted by Guest on May. 03, 2013 @ 9:40 am

do. They could can the rest as far as I am concerned. Or at least outsource it.

Posted by Guest on May. 03, 2013 @ 9:44 am

Most San Franciscans don't agree with your right-wing extremism

Posted by steven on May. 07, 2013 @ 10:02 am

programs are flawed, too expensive and incompetently managed. And that the city budget is already far too big, and the liabilities too unsustainable.

We cannot afford what you want.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 10:34 am

ENUF has never promoted free parking. Many residents have requested RPPs, which are not free.

ENUF's position is that parking meters do not belong in residential neighborhoods, and that the SFMTA's first priority should be to fix the Muni and make it a safe reliable transportation system for those who depend on it. The job for SFMTA is to get us where we need to go, not tell us how to get there. Let your Supervisor know how you feel.

If you agree with us, sign the Stop SFMTA Petition:

We have a question for those who want to elimiante car lanes and street parking. Are cyclists ready to pay for those lanes? With less cars and more bikes there will be less revenue for Muni and all those big ticket projects envisioned by SFMTA. Are cyclists prepared to accept those financial burdens which are now handled by drivers through licenses, gas tax, parking fees and fines?

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2013 @ 5:37 pm