Residents slam proposal for more parking meters

Many attendees held signs reading, "Stop Parking Meter Installation."
Steven T. Jones

Nothing makes people more angry than when the city tries to take away their free street parking. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency was reminded of that fact at a City Hall hearing this morning when residents and business owners unleashed a storm of angry criticism over a proposal to install new parking meters in Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, Mission Bay, and parts of the Mission District.

The plans for this pilot program, which were released on Dec. 20, are intended to address the increased demand for parking in the “Mission Bay Parkshed” from development now underway in the area, as well as concerns about increased demand for street spaces once the parking lot at Folsom and 17th Street is converted into a park.

As with previous SFMTA proposals for extended parking meter hours – which were also met with angry criticism – the idea is to encourage increased use of transit and to free up more street parking space for business customers by discouraging local residents from taking up street parking spots for extended periods of time.

But even people who support that idea in concept say that the SFMTA plans are badly designed and don't take into account the conditions on the ground, largely because they say planners did an abysmal job of outreach and gathering community input before creating the plans.

“I'm urging a cooling off period,” said Tony Kelly, president of the Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association. He wants to see more active parking management of that neighborhood, but said planners need to better consult local residents. “We've earned that right in our neighborhood and you have not earned our trust.”

And that was among the more mild criticisms at this sometimes raucous hearing, where there were standing room only crowds in the main hearing room and an overflow room showing the hearing on television. Officials were accused of hostility to working families, incompetence, arrogance, and with trying to drive businesses out of town.

“Are you insane?” asked one commenter, while another asked, “How do you look at yourself in the mirror?” Several business owners said they would leave the city in the plans were implemented, and one said half of his employees were driven to tears over the proposals. “I don't hear anyone asking for meters,” said one commenter. “I don't hear anyone saying this is good.”

But there are those who say the city shouldn't be expected to supply free parking to residents who choose to own cars, particularly given the SFMTA's tight budget situation and the role that drivers searching for limited street parking spaces play in increasing traffic congestion in the city, thus slowing down Muni.

“On behalf of Livable City (and as a Mission District resident), I want to express our support for the expansion of SFpark meters into the Mission Bay, 12th and Folsom, and 17th and Folsom neighborhoods,” Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich wrote in a recent letter to the SFMTA. “Each of these areas is seeing intensified activity – new residents, new businesses, and new restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues – and each is badly in need of intelligent parking management. The expansion of metered spaces will provide the parking turnover that neighborhood-serving businesses need. SFpark metering and pricing will also reduce cruising for parking in these neighborhoods.”

But the opinions expressed at the hearing were almost uniformly critical, saying the plans actually call for meters on streets that are mostly residential and that they need more work. We'll have more detailed analysis of the proposals and related issues in upcoming issues of the Guardian.


All of these rarefied schemes produced by the academics are really about manipulating and coercing people in behaving correctly, as the academic sees fit.

Same thing with the moronic driving district that the dreamers came up with a few years ago.

Posted by guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

In the end, this is not about cars or free parking. This is about a series of vibrant and emerging communities not being allowed to have input on how their streets are managed. SFMTA thinks they know better. F the MTA.

Posted by F the SFMTA on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

this is not civil discourse.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

It's just bust bizarre that anyone thinks this is anything but a cash grab by City emloyees...

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2012 @ 10:06 am

The SFpark district where I work is great. There is parking available now, and you can easily use a credit card. Starting at a quarter an hour is not going to bankrupt anyone, but some parking will get freed up even at very low rents. It will be interesting to see what the "market" value of parking actually is. Probably more than a quarter, but depending on the block, not much more in many areas.

I don't see anything bad about not giving away a valuable resource like parking. Why should that be subsidized by everyone, when it's a private use for a car owner?

It would be great if we could have build this much excitement about other more serious issues like climate change. But that's our kids' problem.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

swing sets in public parks?

One also wonders, something like 80% of the population have motor vehicles.

How is it a subsidy?

We should put up cyclone fences around all our parks and charge a dollar to get in.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 17, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

Give it time matlock,that will be next. Those bottom feeders with their scum bag entitlement issues wont rest until they figure out how to leach every last nickel from everyone.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

MTA is an agency that is out of touch with the Community. They are out of control and need oversight by an independent citizen's group made up of community leaders.

Posted by Mission Loco 94110 on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

They have a meeting to let you voice your complaints, then just do whatever they want anyways, for your own good.

The Chronicle reported the other day that they were going ahead as planned, screw the people who went to their sham of a meeting.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

appointed by the mayor. But don't let reality get in the way of a good narrative.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

All but the last one seems to come from the same uni-mind farm system.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

the hated progressives who are at fault! Even when the whole board is full of moderates, it's still somehow a vast progressive conspiracy! Maybe they used aliens to inject the moderate board with their "uni-mind" ideas from their "farmed uni-mind"... or something like that. But what this vast progressive conspiracy theory fails to explain is how the aliens failed to brainwash some progressives like Tony Kelly (and myself for that matter).

But whatever, conspiracy theorists don't need to be consistent.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

So REthink it. Get some real Neighborhood input. Get some real Business owner input. Get some real input, not trumped up "consensus" from one member of an artist's community and one or two cultural entities that are doing well and need to do better. Listen to input from real businesses who will move out of town because neither they nor their workers can afford the parking fees implied in this plan.
So get real input, not just ideas that agree with the bookish and academic posits so attractive in board rooms. Get out on the street.
How about some real thought to recognizing the residential quality of mixed-use zones. Why are you tearing them apart with rubberstamp planning!
Do some work that reflects some concern for the community you are dismembering.
Progress, change, etc. is coming. Why does it have to be ham-handed?

Posted by Leo on Jan. 25, 2012 @ 11:07 am

I wonder what is the situation over there now? Have they been given the go ahead to install the new parking meters? I understand why the residents are angry about the new parking meters. It forces them to pay more for parking, and some have been parking there for free for ages. However, when there are more cars on the roads, a good parking management system is needed to ease the traffic.

Posted by Melanie on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 12:45 am

Meters asap.I am tired of commuters parking on my block all day and taking public transit from there.

Make them pay the same prices as Noe Valley does.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2012 @ 4:42 am