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."


Steve you really let Jay Primus and Shoup joust at a straw an when you say that people wont give up their free on-street parking. In the North Mission, residents expect to be treated like every other residential neighborhood and get Residential Parking Permits. The City can put in meters and just not enforce them for RPP holders. New upzoned TOD condos should drawn out of the RPP district and lifeline RPP offered to low income residents.

Shoup's policies have one big hole that nobody at the MTA or the groupthink enviro advocates seems to have considered. If parking availability increases with meter price, then that will make parking easier for those who can pay and encourage more trips. If those new generated trips mean more vehicle miles travelled than are eliminated by circling, there could be traffic congestion increases and transit delay. Making parking available could actually have the same planning impacts as adding parking spaces.

You forgot to mention the sham hearing.

Neighbors agree: the era of free on street parking is over. Your article plays technocrats as reasonable against unreasonable San Franciscans when compromise was never sought by the MTA. This is why progressives lose.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 24, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

Whether its bureaucratic bungling or the loss of free parking, it is a fact that the residents have to start paying the parking fee. I doubt anyone finds that a welcoming news. Imagine parking your car at a spot that used to be free and finding out that you have just been fined because it is being tolled.

Posted by Melanie on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

Steven, one more issue. You let Jay Primus get by unchallenged with a misleading statement.

You wrote: "SFpark program — which uses high-tech meters and demand-variable pricing to manage on-street parking — noting that expired meter"

You quote Primus as saying: "Primus also noted the proposed meters allow for all-day parking at just 25 cents an hour in most places, so it isn't really such an inconvenience or financial hardship." And: ""If people are opposed to paying 25 cents per hour, the lowest rate in the city, then they are opposed to paying for parking,"

Is SF Park a variable pricing program or is it a $0.25 per hour pricing program?

I'll answer what you did not ask. The meters start at $0.25/hr and then can be managed via variable pricing to meet market price. So when the claim is made that people are being unreasonable by demanding free parking because they will not pay $0.25/hr, do you think that statement holds when the MTA doubles the rate again, to $0.50/hr? Or again to $1/hr. Or again?

The other environmental issue is where SF Park has been deployed. So far, the meters along Townsend by CalTrain are SF Park. The goal is to discourage people from driving to CalTrain and parking on Townsend. This has encouraged more CalTrain commuters to drive to and park at 22d Street and hop on there.

When I biked to the OccupySF GA yesterday I went down Townsend to see, and very, very few spaces were occupied at 5:15 when one might think commuters or workers in adjacent buildings might be taking up space. On the WSOMA Task Force, I do not recall running the notion of variable priced meters by the community during or extensive transportation focus group planning sessions.

Has the public policy question and environmental questions of discouraging parking at regional rapid transit stations really been vetted? Can CalTrain riders really depend on Muni to get them to and from 4th and King, reliably? How many CalTrain riders will ditch the train and take the car down the Peninsula if the first and last miles of their commutes are now taking 2-3 times as long as driving?

Driving from one's house in SF to one's work site in the south bay takes in general 1/2 the time of taking transit. Until the region can come up with twelve figures, hundreds of billions, in delayed investment in rapid, reliable, regional transit, moves like imposing SF Park on moderate income (by SF standards) residential neighborhoods relies more on sticks than carrots and diminishes the political coalition for increased transit investment.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 7:56 am

SFMTA has been arrogant in its approach, and entirely too willing to base its plans on the work of a single UCLA professor.

Entire neighborhoods formed with the current parking system in place. People opened businesses because their employees could park nearby. People rented apartments because they could park on the street. Suddenly coming in and implementing meters everywhere plays havoc with the city. You are not just putting in meters at this point, you are creating tectonic shifts in the neighborhood in terms of which businesses and residents stay here, and who comes and visits. By radically altering the parking plan overnight, you are creating economic shockwaves.

Dr. Shoup and Jay Primus's plan, hatched in the rarefied air of academia, would also increase gentrification in the neighborhood, where only those who could afford to park at meters would be able to drive. You drive the working poor out, and the rich guys with the Audis can whip out their smart phones, with an app that tells them where there are open spaces, and then whip out their credit cards to pay. A lot of the working poor I see park their cars here do not have smart phones and may not have credit cards. Those people are a lot more vulnerable to being ticketed when their sack full of quarters run out. MTA says poor people take public transportation, but that's not entirely true. I see lots of 1980s-era subcompacts with Latino laborers parking in the neighborhood. Under MTA's plan, those people are out of luck.

Per this article, even the city of Boston thinks this is too radical:

I also have to call BS on the $.25 per hour. This is a Trojan horse wheeled out by Jay Primus to make people rooted in the neighborhood decades or more seem unreasonable and "pro car". You know how SFMTA operates -- they keep raising prices on everything. And MTA can raise the rates to whatever they want.

Again, this is not about cars. This is about a community of longtime residents and businesses being steamrollered by SFMTA is some kind of cash grab and Quixotic plan to impose an activist anti-car vision on the neighborhood. As was noted at a hearing, Mr. Primus lives in Berkeley. Dr. Shoup is in a comfy tenured office at UCLA. Well, let me tell you something, the residents and businesses her have a 10-year+ advanced degree in living in this neighborhood from the School of Real Life. Mr Primus would have done well to have been schooled by us before he arrogantly put forth his plan to literally blanket entire communities with parking meters.

Again, it's not about cars. I have parking for my car in my building. I go days without driving. I walk and bike. I support the idea of people driving less or getting cars off the street, but not through punitive means. You actually need a viable and efficient MUNI for this to work, and we don't have it. You need to have a carrot before you bring out your "all cars are bad and you're gonna pay for owning one!" whipping stick.

If not for the organization of the community, we would have been steamrollered by SFMTA. Wherever you live in SF, get to know your neighbors and form a community group. Some day it will stop some city apparachick from destroying your neighborhood with grand utopian visions of how your neighborhood "should be".

Posted by Mister Big on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 9:08 am

marcos, let's be clear about one thing- RPP costs $100/year, or just 27 cents per day. You could leave your car on the street 24 hours a day for just .01 cents per hour. By law, the fee only is allowed to cover the permit and administration of the program. I'd call that free parking, with the added benefit of keeping other people (and in your wish, residents of new housing as well) from parking on your street.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 9:50 am

Do words no longer hold semantics? RPP is not free parking. It is what many other residential neighborhoods, most of better means than the pilot areas, have paid for parking over the years.

Neighbors who drive are willing to pay. This means that they do not want parking for free. The premise was a straw man.

Condo upzoning was predicated on the lies of Transit Oriented Development. Are you trying to say that now that developers have reaped a zoning windfall that the occupants of those units which are only entitled so long as they are likely to use transit should get the same treatment as residents who have lived here based on existing conditions?

Seems to me like you're exposing the lies underpinning the greatest developer giveaway since redevelopment.

Last response to you until you uncloak.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 10:17 am

"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."

Sounds to me like Jay Primus and the MTA are against the idea of free parking -- period. If that's the case, then it needs to be a city-wide policy. It needs to be declared, and the people who are hatching this plan need to be held accountable, as do the elected officials that oversee the MTA.

If this is indeed the plan, then every parking space in the city needs a meter so things are fair and equitable. That means every parking space in the Richmond, Sunset, and Pac Heights, all the more upscale neighborhoods that SFMTA is too afraid to experiment with.

What the article also fails to mention is this blanketing of meters is a "pilot program" -- an experiment. If it's successful it will be rolled out to other neighborhoods. If it's not successful, then what? Our neighborhood will have been changed and devastating by SFMTA playing "Sim City" with our lives and livelihoods.

Posted by Mister Big on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 10:32 am


Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

"There's nothing equitable about providing parking for free and asking people to pay $4 for a round trip Muni ride."

This is a false analogy, because that $4 MUNI fare (MUNI fare up 100% in the last decade), you get transported from point A to point B. Parking is not the same as being transported.

Posted by Mister Big on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

$100/year is a lot to some people maybe not you.

Also your math is flawed. You're actually only getting "coverage" from 9a-6p mon-fri in most neighborhoods (approx 250 days of "enforcement" = 40cents/per enforced "day") and it doesn't stop anyone from parking in your neighborhood outside of those hours or within the permitted limit.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 26, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

One of the areas of emphasis for SFMTA's receiving the federal grant for implementing these SmartMeters is technology.

There is a lot of info about variable pricing depending on demand. That is the extent of "tecnological innovation" as far as I can tell.

How technologically advanced would it be if the SmartMeters accepted resident or business employee SmartCards? Can anyone give me reasons why SmartCards for residents and business employees would not work? Is it a better solution than arbitrarily deciding where SmartMeters should and should not be installed?

Posted by Ken on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 9:51 am

One of the federal government's areas of emphasis for the SFMTA's federal grant money to implement these SmartMeters is TECHNOLOGY.

So far the only advanced technology that I see is the adaptabilty of variable pricing depending upon demand, the ability to use smartphones to pay, and the ability to have meter maids pinpoint violations. Would it be a stretch to see advanced technology in the form of resident and business employee SmarCards?

Wouldn't it be better to solve this problem with TECHNOLOGY rather than letting someone arbitrarily decide where, or not where, SmartMeters are to be installed?

Why is the issue of having the meters adapt to the degree of effectiveness for everyone involved ignored?

Posted by Ken on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 10:04 am

The proposal as championed by Jay Primus is seriously flawed in that it seems to do more about tearing apart neighborhood quality instead of LOOKING at where they are putting meters. The straw men mentioned previously are all too prevalent in Technical and Academic thinking. NONE(?!) of the techs and authors live in the neighborhoods mentioned. You can't have diversity and rubberstamp planning. Try these tactics on the Upper Class neighborhoods and see how far this would go. So many arguments about logic and thinking ahead. And no feet on the ground or ears to comments from Residents and Business Owners and marginal-income workers needing a break in parking. The consensus Primus trumpeted from Project Artaud doesn't exist. His track record in truth isn't great.
I am a resident and I am not expecting free parking. The rabid elements seeking to eliminate carbon footprints and those evil cars and make MUNI work need a dose of reality. My personal wishes actually want those things too. Change IS hard, let's not have it shoved down our throats. We are just asking for Primus and his Tech Squad to LOOK at where they are stomping around, sowing their "answers" to problems that may not exist in reality. And not leave a result that will make life harder than it needs to. Address the poor who are going to take progress in the teeth and lose jobs. Why was he so callous with his pronouncement to present the plan as approved after hearing 300 people speak out against it? The exceptions he deigned to "look into" were an insult to the larger issues presented at the hearing Jan 13th.

Posted by Leo on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 10:45 am

The MTA livable streets group worked with the neighborhood around Marshall School a few years ago to come up with a traffic calming plan. The MTA beat the bushes to solicit participation and five or so of us worked with them fruitfully.

SF Park did not avail themselves of the work done by the MTA in doing outreach on this proposal for the North Mission.

What this shows is that the MTA needs to be putting its governance house in order if it expects to make progress working with San Franciscans on moving an environmental agenda.

The MTA cannot be the badass Honey Badger that does not give a shit and just take what it wants because voters will take steps to kill proposed revenue measures as well as impose governance reform to make the agency accountable to residents, voters, neighbors and citizens.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 11:24 am

It couldn't be that the citizens are tired of a top down government that couches it's rhetoric and naked fund raising schemes in moronic platitudes?

It couldn't be that the citizens are tired of being used as lab rats?

It couldn't be that the leftists in the city claim to be down with the citizens and advocate for neighborhood government, while riding rough shod over those citizens when they voice their disapproval?

The EST like writing here is awe inspiring, our two choices.

The citizens are too stupid to know what's good for them, it's all just a misunderstanding.


The revolting peasants feel entitled to all sorts of things that they shouldn't, because those things don't fit into the unilateral Utopia.

SF progressive reasoning at it's best, we want to be down with the lumpen masses, unless they make the wrong choices.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 11:53 am

I chalk it up to bureaucratic incompetence on the part of SFMTA and a Quixotic Utiopian naivete from the over-ambitious architect of the plan, Jay Primus. These people are getting federal money to experiment with technology and that's just what they want to do, especially if it has the added bonus of making more money for the MTA.

The most shocking aspect of this was the lack of outreach, and the lightening-like speed with which they wanted to make these massively changes to the community.

They should have mailed everyone an announcement of their plans, then spent months engaging the community and collaborating on solutions that make sense, help the neighborhood, and possibly make money for the city.

Instead of studying Dr. Shoup's book, urban planning officials should study this case as a textbook example on what happens when you don't conduct appropriate and thorough outreach to affected communities.

Posted by Mister Big on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

and it's EST style.

It is true that both sides will meander on about "the people" but then just try and jamb their agenda down people's throats.

I doubt outreach was really an issue, they have the truth and the Utopian agenda.

Not mentioned here is the fantastic sums the city is going to get from parking tickets. Not paying the ,25 will result in a $50 fine, then if not paid in the fees will pile up at a rate that would have the Board of Supervisors writing a law if it was a private entity soaking the citizens.

This is all just a top down scheme to coerce the citizens into conforming and a money grab.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

"Not mentioned here is the fantastic sums the city is going to get from parking tickets. Not paying the ,25 will result in a $50 fine,"

Those meters are always broken in my neighborhood, seems logical they would break elsewhere.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 26, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

will always have a lot of broken meters.

"Oh, oops, I just spilt my superglue in the coin slot"

Posted by Guest on Feb. 02, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

First of all… I have been misquoted in this final statement and I’m quite offended by that. My feelings are: yes, there will always be reaction to change. It would be dishonest of me to not acknowledge the reactionary aspects of being human. However, if the SFMTA did respectable outreach, that reaction would be limited to a very small percentage of reactionary personalities.
Community involvement is now documented in the thousands. That is not a small percentage of reactionary personalities.

We’re just not ok paying over 7 times more than any other resident of this city.
We’re not ok with turning our neighborhood into a commuter parking lot.
We’re not ok with economically forcing out the working class and artists who require vehicles for their work, and thus use them sparingly.
We want to support our City’s Transit First policies and pay our fair share for our use of the roads but this Plan does not accomplish that.

I realize that “we want free parking” is a more tasty angle of the story but, as SFMTA’s own recent postponement indicates, that’s NOT the story here.

The REAL story is about the SFMTA’s
-lack of outreach to the neighborhood, Supervisors & other City entities
-lack of accountability to anyone but their Board of Directors and the Mayor (NOT the citizens) and their abuse of this power.
-false outreach (at least 2 of the 6 “major stakeholders” listed in the plan deny outreach to the appropriate management; and at least 4 of those 6 have their own parking)
-invalid data collection (small sample size, only represents summer season)
-false conclusions and faulty plan devised from that data collection

It was clear at the 1/13/12 hearing that this Plan would INCREASE driving and DECREASE use of public transit. This outcome is the opposite to the goals of this Transit First city, and an indirect goal of Shoup’s parking management plans. Further, this Plan would WASTE money and in time result in a financial loss for SFMTA and the City as a whole.

It was also clear at the hearing, as well as from Supervisor Cohen’s letter to the SFMTA that I provided for this article (but not included), that this Plan would harm and even force out local businesses and JOBS that are desperately needed in this economic climate.

To be clear – these are the goals as written on our own community outreach flyer:
-A postponement of approval and implementation of SFMTA Parking Management Plans
-Proper community outreach by SFMTA to collaborate with us for a plan that works
-Enforcement of currently existing parking management regulations
-The preservation of local businesses & jobs
-Expanded areas of Residential Parking Permits and “Hybrid Permits” for mixed use/PDR neighborhoods
-Improvement of our Public Transit System to encourage use of transit, walking and biking
-The creation of a variety of solutions specific to the needs of individual blocks (such as angled parking) to reduce congestion, greenhouse gas emissions while improving safety for bicyclists, vehicles and pedestrians

Participate here:

Posted by this is NOT the story on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

Pardon me for the formatting error.
I intended for the comment title to be "this is NOT the story" and fully intended to take 100% credit for my statements here.

Posted by miranda caroligne on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

I'm sorry that my friend Miranda Caroligne feels misrepresented by my article, but her claim that I misquoted her just isn't accurate. I'll lay out the context of her quote in a moment, but first let me say that I understand this is an emotional issue for many people. Her comments here and those made by many people at the Jan. 13 are quite angry and accusatory, as I wrote in the article, and I think some are also a bit hyperbolic and overstated (while some are demonstrably false).
Still, I understand there were many problems with the plans and how they were introduced by the SFMTA, and I included a laundry list of those issues in the article, including most of those that Caroligne and Lum gave me during our 90-minute interview. But after experiencing how raw and personal the criticisms were at this hearing, as well as the one I attended two years ago over extending meter hours, I asked Caroligne a direct question toward the end of the interview: Don't you think many people would still be mad about having to pay for parking even if the SFMTA had handled this better?
To her credit, she gave me an honest answer, and one that I think most people would agree with: "I agree with you that there would still be some outrage, even if the outreach had been better." Now, she probably didn't like the fact that I used that quote as the final word in an article that questioned how much of that outrage is driven by bureaucratic bungling vs. taking away people's free parking. And frankly, I don't know the answer to that question, although I do think it's an interesting one that this city will wrestle with more and more in the coming years.
I understand that Miranda feels like it has nothing to do with free parking and everything to do with the SFMTA, which is a valid perspective. And I also think that Primus makes valid points when he notes that taking away free parking always provokes opposition and that lowering the price to just 25 cents an hour undercuts arguments that this will destroy these neighborhoods. Sure, it raises other issues, such as the one marcos raised in noting that this low fixed price makes this no longer a good example of the SFpark variable pricing program.
But as I wrote in the article, managing parking in mixed use neighborhoods like these is a complicated balancing act that defies simple solutions. Some people think the "real story" is terrible SFMTA bureaucrats, and some people think the "real story" is over-entitled drivers who don't want to pay for street parking or accept that their neighborhood is changing, while the story I chose to tell was somewhere between those points.

Posted by steven on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

... for academic dreamers.

Maybe the peasants are tired of having their quality of life diminished by the city's insatiable greed?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

I agree with Steve's reiteration of our conversation here. I agreed to that statement, although it was in the context of a much larger 90 minute conversation, summarized in this paragraph, "There are myriad ways that the plans are flawed, say their critics: Meters were proposed on some residential streets in initial plans, despite SFMTA policies to the contrary; traffic surveys had too small a sampling and weren't realistic; residential permit districts would be replaced by meters, or meters would be placed where districts might work better; transit service on Potrero Hill is too bad to expect people to use it; live-work spaces were inappropriately treated like retail outlets; and meters near the 22nd Street Caltrain station could actually discourage the use of public transit."

Ironically, both John Lum and I already pay for parking... so there's definitely no new outrage or whining on our parts. We look forward to having an honest and collaborative dialogue with Jay Primus at a community meeting with our Supervisors (Kim and Campos) next week. One of our main goals is to extend the RPP areas so that local residents and businesses CAN pay their share for parking.

Posted by miranda caroligne on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 6:20 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

Seriously. Progress doesn't always require change. If it ain't really broke, don't fix it.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 26, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

It's not really about improving anything, it's about coercion of the citizens not enlightened enough to agree with our progressobots, raising $$$, treating citizens as lab rats and nothing else.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 27, 2012 @ 2:53 am

It ain't broke. It don't need fixing.

The problem is SFMTA has a $20M federal grant that requires them to "fix" things. And the solution is the Smart Meter. It just needs some problems to fix.

Posted by Mister Big on Jan. 27, 2012 @ 8:05 am

The other question here is whether it is wise to implement a pilot project to collect data when there is a fair argument that the pilot project can have transit delay environmental impacts?

Sure, the City can evade environmental review, but given the bike plan debacle where bike projects were found to delay Muni, and the universal desire to do no harm to Muni as it spirals downward, does the MTA really think that there is political will to let that decision stand?

There should be a very high bar to taking steps that slows down transit.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

Free Parking, Paid Parking, Smart Meters, MUNI and Transit First. Free Parking is getting rare, building more garages might be an answer to those riding the Train or taking public transit out of San Francsico. Paid Parking for those who want to do long term parking while either at work or parking at public transit centers. Parking Passes that let customers park for free near offices and other places of business that meetings, sales calls, training and other uses. Smart Meter will work in main shopping center or area that are crowded. Transit First will work better if people find a efficent, clean transit sytem, not just MUNI.
We need to get rid of the public transit agency and form a super agency, we need to think of someone who lives in Marin and needs to get to SFO, Someone in Walnut Creek to get to San Mateo. A person in San Franscico that needs to get to Santa Clara. Even San Francisco Richmond to Union Squ.

Posted by garrett on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

"The resulting 11 percent net increase in revenue is all going to improve Muni. So transit improves, drivers get more spots and fewer tickets — everybody wins."

Who is everybody? Certainly not the residents, small businesses and low-income wage earners in San Francisco.

You must be referring to the developers and vendors such as BofA who anticipate charging transfer fees each time you swipe your credit card on a smart parking meter?
See the link to the SFMTA report and decide for yourself who benefits from this scheme?
Scroll down to page 19 for a list of vendors and costs. Also check the report for a description of how the smart meters work. It appears that your car can bankrupt you now if your house or health doesn't.

Why not embrace clean energy instead? GM is doing really well again, and a huge number of new electric and hybrid vehicles were sold last year. Why has San Francisco not embraced this new means of transportation by installing plug-ins for hybrids and supporting more clean energy fuel sources?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

The clean energy vehicles you promote surely pollute less than gas guzzling vehicles, however they contribute to congestion on crowded urban streets, impeding Muni. They endanger and occasionally maim pedestrians. And, like their gas guzzling brethren, they make public streets less accomodating of non-motorized traffic. When I bike with my kids, even hybrid cars make our passage more cumbersome. If any place can work well with fewer cars, it is cities.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 26, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

"The resulting 11 percent net increase in revenue is all going to improve Muni." Not so fast. The correct statement is that the resulting 11 percent net increase in revenue will go to Muni. In 2007 voters passed Prop A which gave the MTA $26m in parking revenues. Mayor Newsom promptly had the MTA create $26m in "work orders" that sent those new resources leaking out of the agency like a sieve to fund the Mayor's pet projects like 311. Whenever you call '311' and get that voice mail navigation point "press 1 if this is a Muni related call,' punching that will shift $0.50 from Muni's beleaguered coffers to 311's.

$11m of that $26m went to fund the entirety of the SFPD traffic department, because the SFPD's near $500m budget is not big enough.

So there is no guarantee that these parking revenues will be maintaining Muni baseline funding levels unless there are controls imposed on the agency to make that happen. The revenues for this are some $30m if implemented citywide.

Shoupianism was mainly intended for neighborhood commercial districts and the revenues were to be spent mainly in the neighborhood. Pasadena is the classic example.

The other question here is whether it is wise to implement a pilot project to collect data when there is a fair argument that the pilot project can have transit delay environmental impacts?

Sure, the City can evade environmental review, but given the bike plan debacle where bike projects were found to delay Muni, and the universal desire to do no harm to Muni as it spirals downward, does the MTA really think that there is political will to let that decision stand?

There should be a very high bar to taking steps that slows down transit and from shifting resources out of the agency.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

If SFMTA's genuine goal is to turn over parking spaces and discourage all day parking, they simply need to expand the Residential Parking Permit program with time limits. This fulfills twin goals: giving priority to residents and employees of neighborhood small businesses while allowing some turnover for customers of our local restaurants, retailers, etc.

Commuters and Mission Bay employees should be using those 1000's of empty parking places in Mission Bay garages. There must be some rational reason there are so many of them.

Posted by Potrero Resident on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

To say the outreach has been poor is an understatement. I think it verges on fraudulent.

Meters were installed on my block earlier last year. How did I find out? They were being installed!

To add insult to injury, they illegally turned the driveway of my neighbor's motorcycle repair shop into motorcycle parking spots. Yes, THE DRIVEWAY. Will they put a parking spot in front of my driveway next?!? Will I have to pay for the privilege of arriving or leaving my garage?

Jay Primus says he has done outreach and is happy to provide a list of organizations he met with. However, he has no names, dates, or notes. Worse yet, when you talk to the organizations in question, no one remembers talking to Jay. (Really Jay? Are you sure your dog didn't eat it?)

I think one of the issues here is that the MTA doesn't report to anyone but the Mayor. When I talked to my Sup. (Jane Kim) she acts in a way that appears to be unresponsive - until you find out she has no power or real voice in the situation. So, if you need to get anything at MTA resolved of you have to get on the Mayor's schedule?!? Doesn't this seem backwards? Like a bottleneck we don't need?

BOTTOM LINE: We pay the salaries of the people that work at the MTA so we should be able to expect transparency and accountability.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

Who came up with the idea that by eliminating parking spaces you would cut down on traffic? Either a car is parked or moving. If you cut out the parking spaces or start charging car owners to leave their cars parked all day, you give them more incentive to drive to work rather than pay to park at home all day. As it is now, one can park a car in front of your house or within walking distance of it and leave it their most of the week while you walk or take the BART or Muni to work all week. Who is going to park to park so they can walk?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

There are some very questionable assertions by MTA and by academics in this article. But I'll get to those in a minute. MTA's plan is for the most part, supposed to be directed (mostly) at increasing turnover at parking spaces in front of retail establishments and encouraging use of public transit. I think everyone in the affected areas agrees with these goals. However, MTA's plans are not well- thought out and, contrary to their assertions, will severely impact residential and non-retail business parking. For example, on my street, Pennsylvania, they propose to put meters in from of a convalescent home and lawyers office. Across the street there is a large apartment building that has limited parking for its occupants. Where will these people park when the meters are installed? They will look for other areas in the neighborhood that are not metered. This has also occurred in other places where SF Park has already installed their "smart meters" i.e. near the 4th and King CalTrain station there are now parking meters along Townsend Street. How's that working out? The metered spots are EMPTY during the day. Where did those cars go? Some of them are probably going down 101 every morning now when they used to parked so that their owner could ride CalTrain. Another example in the city is smart meters deployed in the area around Hamilton Recreation Center and Library on Geary and Post Streets bounded by Steiner and Scott. There are no retail establishments in that area. Over there, the meters were largely empty (again) and the adjacent streets where parking is still unmetered were jam-packed with cars. This is an area in the Western Addition where many lower-income people bring their kids either to the Rec Center or Library. This brings me to the first assertion about the "11 percent increase in revenue" that MTA claims they are expecting. Maybe they'll get that on Fisherman's Wharf or on the Embarcadero, but I doubt they'll be seeing grand returns on Geary. Shoup calls people who don't like meters "whiners" and the other academic quoted in the article acts like nobody pays taxes, so they should pony up everywhere instead of getting "free real estate." My view is that MTA got a $20M grant from the Federal government and they have a solution looking for a problem. Unfortunately they have not done a careful analysis of the needs of the neighborhoods. The only way their plan should move forward is after a carefully crafted, block-by-block reassessment in close coordination with the communities involved. Perhaps through this process they will also learn better how to deal with other areas of the city.

Posted by Jim Wilkins on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

The stated goal of the project is to get people to drive less and use public transportation more. Putting demand responsive meters at the 22nd street stop will have the opposite effect.

The King & 4th street area was metered and subsequently saw parking space use decline. These people DID NOT stop going to work, so where did they go?

Now, they either a) drive or b) park @ 22nd street stop.

I have heard from many commuters, "If I have to pay for parking @ the 22nd street stop, I may as well drive." While I believe this will be true for some, I believe that most people have a $$ amount that will force them back into their cars. What is that $$ amount?

Here are some "back of the envelope" calculations:
Current cost of Caltrain from SF -> SJ (round trip) = $17.50

Future cost for same trip = $17.50 + parking (10 hours x $3.00*) = $47.50


Driving = (120 miles round trip / 22.4 MPG**) X $3.50 per gallon = $18.75

This DOES NOT, CANNOT take into account the non-monetary aspects of how much a person's time is worth, travel-worthiness of their car, environmental factors, etc, etc.

This is to point out the MTA HAS NOT DONE THEIR HOMEWORK.

* $3.00 is the average cost for demand-responsive parking by the 4th and King Station.
** DOT figure for average miles per gallon for cars in 2010.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

Not just money but time. The reason why people drive to 4th and King is because they can't depend on Muni to get them there reliably. It can take 30 min to get to CalTrain. Add that to an hour on the train which is probably a 45 min commute at the right times on the right days, and the MTA has elicited mode shift from transit/auto to pure auto. CalTrain is hanging by a fiscal thread already and does not need friends like this.

When I was on the TEP-CAC in the mid 2000s, I recommended a limited stop light rail line from Church Street Station down through Duboce/13th/Division and Townsend to make getting to CalTrain easier and to provide access to the Big Box corridor down there from points west. The MTA met me half way and proposed changing the 47 Van Ness to turn onto 13th instead of winding its way through SOMA.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 7:51 pm not ALL about taxing residents more and raising more money.

Anything more useless than that APP for available meter spaces??

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

I've been an enforcement officer for 25 years and will soon retire. Glad to as the MTA is known among the ranks of Parking Control Officers as the "money taking agency".
SFPark is a crock .. it doesn't CREATE parking it DESTROYS parking. Which gave MTA the omnipotent right to destroy San Francisco's business and residential quality of life with exorbitant (sorry "market-pricing") meter rates & extortionate citation bail amounts? The Townsend St meter project is a perfect example of bureaucratic waste : million$ of wasted taxpayer dollars to stripe, sign & install meters on 300- 400- & 500-blocks of Townsend and NO ONE parks there anymore (unless they have a handicap placard). $18 a day to ride CalTrain? And the oxymoron here MTA states is "we are encouraging public transit use"? Absolutely bureaucratic BS!!

Posted by lance g on Jan. 26, 2012 @ 8:15 am

I ride my bike down Townsend a couple of times a year.

The last couple of times I wondered where the parked cars went. This explains it.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 27, 2012 @ 2:56 am

What could possibly go wrong? These are the same people who run the ultra-efficient and effective MUNI system, with its predictable, on-time service and fantastic record managing schedules and budgets. The system ranked as the slowest major urban transit agency in North America at an avg. 8.1 mph.

Seriously though, do we really want these people to unilaterally re-shape our neighborhoods with an untested parking meter scheme and nearly zero oversight?

Well, I'm sure they have an extremely experienced manager/engineer for this project...Oh. crap. A quick Google of Jay Primus reveals he was a UI designer for a web design company before this. He's never implemented a major infrastructure project in an urban or suburban area and is completely in charge of this one?

Well, maybe the theory is really sound.... Wait. Donald Shoup is a city planner from Los Angeles? We're going to implement the ideas that have obviously worked so well in Los Angeles to relieve parking and congestion? Stellar move SFMTA.

No wonder all our friends moved to Oakland.

Posted by Brian in Dogpatch on Jan. 26, 2012 @ 9:36 am

you are awesome and hilarious

Posted by Nicky J. a completely disappointed reader on Jan. 27, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

With mixed use, you cannot find a one-sized solution that fits all. On a given block you will have residences, manufacturing, retail, and food establishments.

In fact, many of us don't feel there needs to be a solution other than imposing shorter limits on parts of the city where you can dump a car for a week before you have to move it for street cleaning.

As a poster above said, MTA and Jay Primus are in love with their Smart Meters and Dr. Shoup's parking philosophy. MTA is getting money from the federal goverment to experiment with the parking meter, citing the evils of "circling" for a parking space. Therefore, MTA has a smart meter solution that is scouring our neighborhoods for a problem.

Beware, this same "solution" is coming to your neighborhood soon!

Posted by Mister Big on Jan. 26, 2012 @ 11:40 am

The clean energy vehicles you promote surely pollute less than gas guzzling vehicles, however they contribute to congestion on crowded urban streets, impeding Muni. They endanger and occasionally maim pedestrians. And, like their gas guzzling brethren, they make public streets less accomodating of non-motorized traffic. When I bike with my kids, even hybrid cars make our passage more cumbersome. If any place can work well with fewer cars, it is cities.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 26, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

Uh, we live in a city which we have to share with other people who do things that we might not like. The more congestion on crowded streets, the slower traffic and the easier it is to ride. Unfortunately, that slows transit down, so we have to contend with faster moving traffic to keep the buses moving. The variable priced parking meters actually encourage more auto trips by increasing availibility and making finding parking easier, for a price most San Francisco drivers can afford.

The meter plan also discourages CalTrain commuters from parking at stations and taking the long haul on what passes for rapid regional transit in these parts. Did the SFMTA contact the PJPB to get their thoughts on the role the MTA is taking to elicit mode shift away from CalTrain and into private automobiles for the schlep down US-101 or I-280?

This project was plan B after the downtown congestion district ran afoul of state law. Its purpose is to minimize congestion. The nexus for congestion here is circling. But the plan does not study whether or not the net gains in reducing circling and revenues generated for the MTA that might get spent on transit are outweighed by increased auto trips for more available parking.

There are many moving parts are here that don't necessarily play well with one another.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 26, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

Honestly I think that the SFMTA *didn't* think and that's why they're now *not* going ahead with the previous plans.

Thankfully we live in a city with smart people who are engaged and willing to put up posters and distribute flyers explaining the dollar cost to every Caltrain commuter.

Even the "back of the envelope" calculations by a previous poster aren't necessarily *obvious* to every commuter, but to those watching their dollars and sense they are. Highlighting that your daily commute just got 50% more expensive was a call to action that many thankfully took in some form or another.

Their eyes are now on city hall and the sfmta and maybe some people are wondering what's next and maybe some are wondering why is even this way in the first place and who the hell are these people?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 26, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

from Jay Primus:

I am writing with a brief update on the parking management proposals for the Mission Bay, 12th & Folsom, and 17th & Folsom areas.

The SFMTA Board will no longer be taking action on the SFpark expansion areas at the February 7th Board meeting. Rather, we will conduct further outreach ahead of Board action.

The northernmost section of the Mission Bay Parking Management Proposal was already designated as an SFpark area and will be the only part of the proposal going forward.

For the SFpark expansion areas, including the Dogpatch and Potrero Hill neighborhoods and the 12th and Folsom and 17th and Folsom proposals, the SFMTA will conduct additional outreach and engage in further discussion with various stakeholders before any further action is considered.

We will be in touch with additional outreach steps.

Thank you,

Jay Primus

Posted by Guest on Jan. 26, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

Um, this is some of the worst reporting I've ever read. The first paragraph is completely wrong, where did you get your facts Steve T. Jones?

You say, "The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has hailed the success of its SFpark program — which uses high-tech meters and demand-variable pricing to manage on-street parking — noting that expired meter citations are down and meter revenue is way up. The resulting 11 percent net increase in revenue is all going to improve Muni. So transit improves, drivers get more spots and fewer tickets — everybody wins."

SFParks own study word for word in summary at the end, so it's not taken out of context: "Overall revenue impacts:
-At the single-space SFpark meters, the average value of citations issued per meter decreased by 35 percent in early 2011 compared to the same period in 2010, before SFpark meters were installed.
-Factoring in the increased revenue from payment at the meter, net revenue was down by 3 percent at single-space SFpark meters.
-Despite the small net decrease in revenue, SFpark meters outperformed parking meters that were not upgraded, which had a smaller drop in the value of citations issued (21 percent) but also had a significant drop in revenue from payment at the meter, leading to a net revenue decrease of 14 percent."

I'm astonished at such shoddy fact finding. You should get your pay docked for this crap.

Posted by Nicky J. a completely disappointed reader on Jan. 27, 2012 @ 4:21 pm