Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Parking in San Francisco


Mr. Anderson,

I am a fellow SF resident (and reader of your blog) and was wondering if you were aware of the MTA’s SFpark plan? The plan calls for the installation of adjustable rate metered parking all over the city (where there is currently no metered parking, or only residential parking).

Unfortunately, my neighborhood of Dogpatch/Potrero is one of the targets for the “pilot” program. I am unfortunately familiar with the way city agencies function. By the time the citizens find out about their plans, they can’t be stopped. I know you were successful in holding up the implementation of the citywide bike plan (also MTA?) and was wondering if you had any advice for a strategy to delay or derail the MTA’s plan.

Is legal action the only real alternative?

Sincerely,

Ari Benderly

Rob responds:

Yes, I'm afraid so. I don't know if the city did any environmental review of this plan, but since it's called a "pilot" project the city may assume it doesn't have to. Sounds like your neighborhood will be guinea pigs for the program. As you know, the city's official ideology is anti-car. SFPark is ostensibly created to make it easier for motorists to find parking in SF, but it will also make money for a city where motorists are considered primarily as a source of revenue for a city increasingly desperate for money to maintain its bloated payroll and employee benefits, even as it pours money into the bottomless Central Subway pit. 

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32 Comments:

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ignorance continues.

Parking tickets are down with SFPark which debunks your predator/prey relationship.

Also, there is a very busy Caltrain station in that neighborhood, not to mention this area is really part of the larger Mission Bay parking management plan. Parking is limited and demand is high, capitalism sucks when it doesn't benefit you, huh?

 
At 11:38 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Ignorance"? The Caltrain station is in Bernal Heights and Dogpatch? That's news to me. The SFPark project is still in the "pilot" stage, so conclusions about parking tickets and revenue can't be made yet.

The city is concerned about the decrease in parking ticket/parking meter revenue. Maybe the SFPark system will both increase revenue and reduce tickets. We'll see. But the city does in practice have a predator/prey relationship with motorists in San Francisco.

 
At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But the city does in practice have a predator/prey relationship with motorists in San Francisco."

Maybe SF drivers just suck at parking. The city isn't making up tickets.

And yes, 22nd St is in the Dogpatch and on the edge of the Mission Bay development. I'd recommend getting up from behind the monitor and going outside, there's a whole city out there.

 
At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Caltrain station is in Bernal Heights and Dogpatch? That's news to me.

Yet more evidence that you are a complete moron.

 
At 12:51 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

It's the notion that the Caltrain station is on Portrero hill and/or in Dogpath that I found silly. Nice try, though.

 
At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the notion that the Caltrain station is on Portrero hill and/or in Dogpath that I found silly. Nice try, though.

I am so silly! For 15 years I have been getting onto the Caltrain at a non-existent Caltrain station!

 
At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Dogpatch/Potrero" implies the area between Dogpatch & Potrero which is exactly where the 22nd St station is.

Man, you are a fucking dick. Talk about missing the forest for the trees.

 
At 1:19 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

My bad. I was of course thinking of the main station at Third and Townsend, not the station you're referring to.

 
At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

admit it - you didn't even know there was a station on Potrero Hill. So you made a bunch of comments on whether adding meters on Pennsylvania, Iowa, Minnesota is good or bad without any knowledge of the character of the neighborhood.

Those streets are oversubscribed now - there is nowhere to park at all on weekdays because of the commuters, a large percentage of which are driving from within a 5 minute walk of the train station. Meters will convince some of them to walk, opening up parking for people who want to take Caltrain who live in Bernal/Mission/etc... (MUNI does not serve the station very well). Also there are new retail businesses in the area which are being aced out by commuter parking.

There is no other area in the city with such parking demand that does not have meters.

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Ms. Benderly sends another message:

"Thank you for posting my letter.

What the MTA is not advertising on the SFPark site is their imminent plans to install thousands of new parking meters in mixed residential neighborhoods like Potrero Hill and the Mission, often right in front of residential properties. While I could accept some of the arguments for demand based parking in purely commercial areas, the proposal to install meters in mixed residential areas is pure madness. Do they expect that those of us who don’t have off-street parking will wake up every morning at 7:00am to plug a meter, six days a week, so we can maintain the privilege of owning an car? They are putting the needs of transient commercial users over the needs of residents.

In practice, residents without off-street parking will not be able to own a car. What about families with small children? What about elderly residents (they can just take the #48 bus!)?

These districts are already covered by residential parking permits and don’t need additional restrictions. None of the residents want this, and yet the MTA is proceeding, seemingly without opposition from our elected officials. If the mayor and supervisors ignore this issue and don’t provide some leverage on behalf of their constituents, I think they risk a big political backlash."

Don't forget, Ari, City Hall thinks you can ride a bike instead.

 
At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What streets is she talking about? More info would be nice.

And since when is parking (for practically free, which $100/yr is) directly in front of your building the concern of the city?

 
At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I looked at these proposals - my understanding was that meters were NOT being added to areas with RPP's. There were some streets that are currently unpermitted and were targeted for meters.


There was in fact a public comment period and a public hearing. Prior to the hearing the project was amended to modified - the streets that are residential in nature are being made residential permit parking INSTEAD of meters.

His complaint doesn't make sense.

 
At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://sfpark.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Mission-Bay-Parking-Mngmt-Plan.pdf

 
At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a hearing on these proposals tomorrow at City Hall:

http://www.sfmta.com/cms/ceng/EngineeringPublicHearingNoticeJanuary132011.htm

 
At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you can see on the agenda for that meeting...

"These districts are already covered by residential parking permits and don’t need additional restrictions."

This is a LIE.

"the proposal to install meters in mixed residential areas is pure madness. Do they expect that those of us who don’t have off-street parking will wake up every morning at 7:00am to plug a meter, six days a week, so we can maintain the privilege of owning an car?"

This is MISLEADING. On the residential streets, Permit areas are being established. On non-residential streets, meters.

I call BULLSHIT.

 
At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at the map anon. You are wrong.

 
At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give me one example from the map where I am wrong. Just one.

 
At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, you are right. My mistake.

 
At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Ari Benderly said...

"These districts are already covered by residential parking permits and don’t need additional restrictions."

This is a LIE.

"the proposal to install meters in mixed residential areas is pure madness. Do they expect that those of us who don’t have off-street parking will wake up every morning at 7:00am to plug a meter, six days a week, so we can maintain the privilege of owning an car?"

This is MISLEADING. On the residential streets, Permit areas are being established. On non-residential streets, meters.

I call BULLSHIT.


I don't know who the fool is that keeps posting anonymous comments, but you are completely ignorant about the scope of the proposed plan for Dogpatch/Potrero. Why not display your name and stop being a coward.

The MTA plan does call for the elimination of existing residential permitted parking and conversion to meters, often right in front of residential buildings. You cannot argue against that. It is clearly indicated in the published plans.

And, like many areas of San Francisco, Dogpatch has mixed residential. This is typically a storefront below multiple residential units. Is that what you are calling “non-residential”. It clearly isn’t.

As I said in my original letter, this plan only serves transient retail customers at the expense of residents and local workers. A Tech worker stopping to pick up a $3.75 latte on their way to San Jose won't mind plugging a meter. Lower-middle class residents without off-street parking, however, will be forced out of the neighborhood. This is not an exaggeration. There will not be enough residential permitted parking once they implement this plan.

Meters are only appropriate for high density, purely commercial retail areas. They are not appropriate for residential, mixed residential, or industrial areas. Parking turnover isn’t the priority in these areas, it is either overnight, or all-day parking that is needed. If this must be regulated, do it with permitted parking.

The Caltrain station is between Dogpatch and Potrero, and I would like to point out that this is the only large transit station in the bay area (that I am aware of), that passes the burden of commuter parking onto the surrounding residential neighborhood. If you want a transit first policy, then you should not encourage commuters to DRIVE to Dogpatch, park in our neighborhood all day, and take up spots needed by local businesses and residents. Create dedicated parking for the commuters, and don't use the existing abuse as justification for meters.

We already have residential permitted zones in our neighborhood. The problem is that they are not enforced. If we really believe residential permits don’t reflect the true cost of street parking, then increase their cost (within reason), and start enforcing the zones. This will free up spaces currently abused by commuters, but still allow residents to park on the street if they do not have access to off-street parking.

And, by the way, I commute to work by bicycle 5 days a week and try to drive as little as possible. That doesn't mean I have to be a bicycle zealot. Like any decent human being, I can empathize with the needs of people who may not share my lifestyle or have my physical capabilities. For example, I have elderly parents. Should they ride their bicycle to the doctor or grocery store?

There are better ways to improve parking availability and discourage wasteful car trips than to take away a critical quality-of-life option for those of us that must still use cars.

 
At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Ari Benderly said...

BTW, I attended the public comment hearing today. There were so many people that they had to setup two overflow rooms. It took over 2 1/2 hours to get through the public comment. And this was for a meeting held when most people cannot attend.

The public comment was unanimously against this plan (This was also the case with our local Dogpatch Neighborhood Association meeting, as well as all of the other local neighborhood association meetings). Not a single person spoke in support of it. There were many eloquent and impassioned arguments made against the logic implemented in the plan, as well as the data used to justify it. As expected, the panel ignored all of the citizen feedback and approved to send the plan to the MTA for ratification.

If this was a reasonable plan, then I would expect at least some support. Where are the activists? The reality is that no one wants this. The residents don’t want it. The local businesses don’t want it. Even the commuters don’t want it. This is simply the tyranny of government, ignoring the will of the people. If our elected officials don’t stop this, they risk their political future.

 
At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we really believe residential permits don’t reflect the true cost of street parking, then increase their cost (within reason

That would be illegal. Thanks for playing.

 
At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The MTA plan does call for the elimination of existing residential permitted parking and conversion to meters, often right in front of residential buildings. You cannot argue against that. It is clearly indicated in the published plans.

I went through the merting agenda and did not see any RESCIND - RESIDENTIAL PERMIT PARKING. I will state that is the depth I read the agenda - Ari you clearly did more fine tooth research, I'm being honest when I say clear up my misunderstanding.

And, like many areas of San Francisco, Dogpatch has mixed residential.

And most of them have meters. Ocean. Clement. 24th. Valencia. Irving.

I lived there when Pennslyvania uphill from 22nd went permit - in fact I got a ticket! I was parked there not for Caltrsin but It made sense to me - commuters taking spots from residents! The heavy residential streets in dog patch should be permit spots because of the commuter overflow problem. I AGREE.

But Iowa from 22nd to 24th and Pennslyvania South of the Condos with La Stazione are not residential or mixed or anything. Minnesota? Between a freeway and a park. The vast majority of parking there is commuters - I watch them get into their cars (and then drive up the hill - which sure ain't the route to Bernal Heights... and these are not elderly grandparents these are 30 something tech workers).

In my current opinion - those spots should be metered in order to dissuade driving to park and ride, yet still allow that usage for market price. This is not Glen Park or 30th/Church which went permit everywhere because commuters made it impossible to park. There are big streets with *nothing* on them. How can you justify residential permitting on streets with no residences, and with off street parking for residents?

Building a giant parking garage for commuters there is not an acceptable alternative.

Having lived there from 1997-2004 I can tell you - you should have seen this coming. Why weren't you pushing for better transit back then? Oh - we all fawned over the T-Third at the Dogpatch Block Party. Whoops!

 
At 12:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, like many areas of San Francisco, Dogpatch has mixed residential. This is typically a storefront below multiple residential units. Is that what you are calling “non-residential”. It clearly isn’t.


That's the entire city's commercial districts. What the hell are you talking about?

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

There are better ways to improve parking availability and discourage wasteful car trips than to take away a critical quality-of-life option for those of us that must still use cars.

Don't know why I would wander in here but...

If you've reached the stage in your life where you must use a car - unable to walk or bike - you would qualify for a handicap placard and not have to pay the meter. This plan would be a boon - no charge and less competition for spots.

 
At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Ari Benderly said...

I completely agree with the comment about installing meters in the areas where only the Caltrain commuters park, although there are some local businesses there that would be impacted. The problem is that you then MUST expand the residential permitted areas, and enforce them, or those Caltrain commuters will just infiltrate the residential areas for free parking, which they are already doing. While you say you received a ticket, I can say from experience that the current residential permitted zones are not enforced. Other residents have confirmed this as well.

The problem with the MTA plan is that they aren't proposing meters only in the commuter area, they are proposing meters all over Dogpatch, including areas that are currently residential permitted.

And, targeting an 85% parking rate for the commuters is inconsistent with the goal of maximizing non-car commutes. If you leave 15% free, then those 15% aren’t taking Caltrain. It’s so obvious; one must question either the premise of this plan or the intelligence of those implementing it.

 
At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Ari Benderly said...

RE: If you've reached the stage in your life where you must use a car - unable to walk or bike - you would qualify for a handicap placard and not have to pay the meter. This plan would be a boon - no charge and less competition for spots.


What about the other half? The blue-collar half? You know, the guy that has to have a big toolbox with him and maybe pick up some materials? Can they take Muni to work? I guess they shouldn’t be allowed to park the vehicle they must drive to work? Right, let’s move them all out to Vallejo so they can have an off-street garage?

Or, I guess they can just get up and plug that meter every morning, every time they have to take a trip home, etc...

As others have said, not everyone is a 20-something tech worker who can live car-free with no impact to their daily responsibilities.

 
At 4:57 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The anti-car bike movement has never shown any concern about the interests of small businesses in San Francisco. See this, this, and this.

To cap it off, occasionally one of them let's slip the notion that they're superior to the rest of us, especially to motorists.

 
At 9:29 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

And, targeting an 85% parking rate for the commuters is inconsistent with the goal of maximizing non-car commutes. If you leave 15% free, then those 15% aren’t taking Caltrain. It’s so obvious; one must question either the premise of this plan or the intelligence of those implementing it.

--> This isn't how it works. As you noted, there is some non-Caltrain presence in that area - for example La Stazione, if we target "100%" then those businesses will be limited.

Regardless, left completely unregulated, there is no disincentive to drive to Caltrain. In practice - as is seen all over the East Bay with BART - people will drive to the station no matter what, and if they can't find a spot, Pennslyvania -> 280 -> work.

When BART raises the prices in their lots, people bitch and moan and magically the folks who CAN get to BART without driving get off their butts and take AC transit or bike or carpool or walk. Absolutely it sort of sucks to get to Caltrain from say, Bernal. 2 MUNI lines or a somewhat sketchy bike ride. But from Potrero Hill or anywhere near 24th Street it is VERY feasible to leave the car behind. If those people take advantage of those methods to save a couple of bucks, that means the Bernal folks can *always* find parking, and the PoHill/Mission people WILL find parking the days they choose to drive.

When you really get down to it - it's the tech workers you are complaining about whom are causing this problem. They ARE currently driving to Caltrain - an area where parking IS by MTA's stats becoming very problematic. Period. If you want your neighborhood's parking management to stay the way it is, you need to change that behavior. Bonne chance. I promise I won't be driving to 22nd.

This is of course, just the start, Feel free to hop on the bandwagon of getting MUNI to instigate a Caltrain centric strategy. If they can have an ##X from Caltrain to the Financial District, they can run one Noe/Bernal/Mission/Caltrain. I'd help out including heavy lifting.

 
At 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the other half? The blue-collar half? You know, the guy that has to have a big toolbox with him and maybe pick up some materials? Can they take Muni to work? I guess they shouldn’t be allowed to park the vehicle they must drive to work?

Aren't the meters only enforce from 9AM to 6PM?

 
At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the other half? The blue-collar half? You know, the guy that has to have a big toolbox with him and maybe pick up some materials? Can they take Muni to work? I guess they shouldn’t be allowed to park the vehicle they must drive to work?

Aren't the meters only enforce from 9AM to 6PM?


Yes, Mon - Sat, and how does that diminish my point? Unless they leave their home on a strict schedule that puts them in their car by 9am not to return by 6pm, they have a problem. What if that isn't one's work schedule? What if you need to stay home sick? What about Saturdays? What if you need to make multiple trips during the day, etc... This is the generic office worker model bias again. Not everyone works 9-5 away from home.

This is why residential permits make sense and meters do not. Meters create a huge, and completely unnecessary hassle for the residents. You could also extend commercial parking permits to the local business employees on those streets that don't have any residential.

If the MTA's argument is against "free" parking, then recover the costs with permits instead of meters. Meters do not make sense if there is no need for retail turnover.

 
At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the exception becomes to rule, we all lose.

 
At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the MTA's argument is against "free" parking, then recover the costs with permits instead of meters.

For the goddamn 800th time - it is ILLEGAL to charge more for permits than the cost to administer the program.

 

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