SFMTA: Employees to pay for parking, but nannies get a break

February 2nd, 2011

The SFMTA voted unanimously yesterday to take an important transit-first step: to end free parking for most employees, instead requiring an $80 monthly charge to park at SFMTA lots. This is something we have encouraged for a long time – not only does it encourage workers to use the system they run, it also sets a good example for the rest of San Francisco, and it will raise a little bit of money (about $1M/year) for the agency. The SF Weekly also covered this.

However, the agency board also took a step to open yet another loophole in parking regulations, this time for nannies and other “child care providers”: it approved a pilot program to let them get residential parking permits, potentially crowding out residents for all-day street parking and certainly providing an incentive to drive instead of taking mass transit. Others pay for their parking or mass transit – why should this one class of workers, who happen to have wealthy and well-connected employers who can attend meetings during business hours, get a break?

Progress on expanded parking meters

June 21st, 2010

Don’t even think of parking hereNobody likes to pay extra for parking, but Rescue Muni applauds the SFMTA for taking the hard steps to expand meter coverage to commercial areas around San Francisco to help cover the increasing cost of running Muni, and taking comments at Friday’s administrative hearing. San Francisco voters have repeatedly approved the Transit-First policy that clearly makes mass transit and alternatives to cars the top priority for the SFMTA – and in difficult economic times like this, expanded meters (and expanded meter hours) are a very good way to raise revenue to prevent service cuts, and also to promote higher turnover in commercial corridors. SF Streetsblog also has coverage.

If you agree that expanded parking meters are a better solution than service cuts (understanding that Muni also needs to get its fiscal house in order, hence the Fix Muni Now amendment on the streets now), contact the SFMTA Board and tell them you support this plan!

Vote on budget (including service cuts) TODAY

April 20th, 2010

The SFMTA Board is expected to adopt next year’s budget, including deep service cuts, today.  Please show up and let them know how you feel.

Many budget solutions to prevent service cuts involve long-term cost controls and revenue measures; we’ve written about a number of those here.  In the short run, we think the most immediate solution to prevent budget cuts is to raise money through extended parking meter hours and higher parking meter rates.  Many cities with less of a transit orientation than San Francisco run their meters on weeknights and Sundays.

Right now, today, the choice the SFMTA Board faces is one between raising more money at parking meters and cutting Muni service.  Please show up at City Hall, Room 400, at 2:00 p.m., to let the board know which you prefer.  Even with the unexpected injection of funds from the state, Muni is looking at a deep service cut which will do grievous damage to the notion of San Francisco as a Transit First city.

Extending parking meter hours and bringing meter rates into line with garage rates isn’t the solution to all of Muni’s problems, but it’s the best solution to the dilemma we face today.  Please let the SFMTA Board know that.

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MTA reviews proposal to extend meter hours 10/20

October 14th, 2009

SFMTAThe SF MTA will be reviewing a proposal to extend meter hours to evenings and Sundays in commercial districts around San Francisco on October 20. This proposal was requested by the MTA board as part of the 2010 budget, as a means to find additional revenue to avoid service cuts and also to reduce car traffic in heavily traveled corridors.

As written, the proposal would generate approximately $8 million annually, enough to avoid at least some service cuts. Priorities for Rescue Muni are to make it easy for drivers to pay the meters (parking cards are still very difficult to find at retail stores), and to use the money to fund service improvements such as expanded limited stop service as proposed in the Transit Effectiveness Project.

If you agree that extended meter hours could be a good way to fund expanded service, please attend the meeting on October 20 at 2 pm at City Hall, room 400. (Yes, this is impossible for people who work normal business hours. We have complained about this in the past.)

Update: The Chronicle covered the story.

Update 10/20: Beyond Chron has a commentary as well.

San Francisco’s new parking meters easily defrauded

August 1st, 2009

In 2003, San Francisco started a $35m pilot to test out 23,000 smart parking meters, representing $30m of revenue which the SFMTA uses to fund services such as Muni’s bus and light rail service.

According to security research published today, the brand of meter that San Francisco uses, along with other major cities, can be defrauded to allow unlimited free parking, among other security issues. See the paper on how this works as well as the news story.