| DPTís Mission: More Meters, Longer Hours, No Free Parking
By Jonathan Farrell May 13, 2009
Attention car owners! Get plenty of extra quarters in your pocket change. Proposals to increase parking fees by 50 cents to a dollar citywide are being reviewed, as the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority needs to recover a $128 million deficit.
As reported in the San Francisco Examiner this past April 6, ideas to increase parking fees would cover all four parking zones in the City with the exception of sections of the waterfront that is controlled by the Port of San Francisco.
Representative for the Parking and Traffic Division of the SFMTA, Terry Robbins met with the Mission Merchants Association about the proposal on April 21.
His purpose was to bring to the merchants the idea as a way of improving and creating more parking availability in the Mission District.
His division thinks that more meters should be placed on more streets, particularly the major business corridors along Mission and Valencia streets.
Robbins also mentioned that the alleyway of Hoff is being considered for more parking zones as that as of now it has no parking meters. DPT would like to install meters on east side of Hoff Street between 16th and 17th Streets. The parking would continue as parallel, yet meters would only be placed on one side of the alley since it is so narrow. Robbins also said that DPT would like to add parking meters on Mission Street between 14th Street and Duboce Avenue.
Some merchants noted that meters should be 2-hour time instead of just one because customers are more at ease to shop and do business. Shorter timed meters make customers nervous and focused on paying more attention to the meter rather than taking time to shop, etc.
Robbins understood, but noted that 2-hour meters encourage “meter hogs.” To have a one hour meter would motivate people to get their business done and move on allowing for more customers and business to flow throughout the day. Also, Robbins mentioned that employees of businesses and shops in the area take up meter parking. Business owners should discourage this because it takes away from the actual customers who want to shop.
Robbins also expressed concern that if too many spots have 2-hour parking that would encourage the vagrant solicitors who sell items illegally on the street with out a license or city permit.
Merchants understood Robbins point, since the Mission has been having troubles with such incidents that require armed police intervention.
Then it was voiced from the merchants that maybe in areas where there were no public parking lots or garages the meters might be 2-hours and in areas where there were lots and garages the meters can be timed only for one hour.
Some agreed but noted that there is a price difference between lots/garages and meters. Robbins said that he and DPT are willing to dialog with merchants and let business owners have a say in the decision for the situation with parking.
Merchants present were pleased to hear this and agreed to push this idea forward upon a set time for more discussion and input from all local businesses in the areas to be affected. Some noted that Mission Street has more businesses than Valencia, yet varying degrees of business flows at times of the day were also mentioned. Parking meters and so forth must make room for that.
Pedro Tuyub, MMA president noted that what is most important is also available parking for residents in the Mission as well as businesses. Tuyub, motioned that another meeting, “a separate meeting” be set to discuss this which would include all aspects of the parking needs both for merchants as well as residents in the busy corridors.
Robbins agreed and said that he would allow at least 30 days time for this process before presenting any final plan draft to decide upon for final approval. He said he would be happy to return to the MMA in about a month. Merchants agreed and will vote on this at a separate meeting just for this issue.
Meanwhile observers such as the SF Chamber of Commerce caution that unreasonable parking fee increases might discourage needed after work leisure and nightlife revenue for restaurants and cinemas. Also reported by the SF Examiner, SFMTA is proposing to extend parking metered hours past 6 PM and to include parking fees on Sundays.
Motorcycle parking would also be increased by $1 per hour. Speaking on behalf of the SFMTA, media rep Judson True told the Examiner that because of the economic downturn, “SFMTA is facing some difficult decisions in the months ahead,” he said. “As is the case for most transit agencies, everything is on the table including higher fares (fees) and service reductions,” said True.
For details about SFMTA and the proposal to increase fees visit:
Or, call the SF MUNI info line at: 311
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