Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Metering neighborhoods to support an improvident MTA

Good rant about parking meters below that has already appeared as a comment to Streetsblog. For essential context, add the fact that San Francisco taxpayers---through the MTA and the SFCTA---are contributing $287,690,000 to the Central Subway project, even as the MTA threatens Muni service reductions and higher fares. And recall that Muni boss Ed Reiskin is an anti-car bike guy:

SF Park is an EPIC FAILURE! Jay Primus and the rest of the SFMTA are not listening to the residents!! SF Park came through my neighborhood in SOMA and replaced half of the Residential (Y) Zone parking with meters. The end result is that taxpaying city residents can no longer park their cars near their homes, apartments, and businesses. The city is effectively *RE-TAXING* residents through the use of these job-killing meters. The epic failure is that NO ONE IS PARKING AT THE METERS along the Caltrain line Near Townsend and 6th street. Residents on Bluxome Street now have to park our cars up to 4 blocks away from our homes or pay $2.00 an hour to park at the meters to bring in groceries or off load our children. Is it any wonder why families have given up on San Francisco? It is a huge inconvenience to the businesses and residents in my neighborhood and its made SOMA a less desirable place to rent, own real estate, or operate a business.

The residents see this as a money grab by the SFMTA who rammed these meters through without regard for the needs or input of our neighborhood. The city takes away street parking from hardworking residents so that the SFMTA can build websites and useless smartphone apps that require a $100 a month cell phone plan.  This is class warfare that favors the wealthiest  residents of the city and penalizes poorer, working class citizens who have less money and education.

SF Park states that they use "innovative technology and advanced pricing strategies." I say that residents should not have to own a smart phone or be digitally literate in order to park their cars. If you are elderly, disabled, or on a fixed income, you will be forced to take MUNI to get around the city. 

The SFMTA  used a $19.4 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration to add 6,000 metered parking spaces, bilk motorists, and expand city government. This de facto tax threatens to price residents out of their neighborhoods and decimate small businesses. More than 1 in 3 of San Francisco's nearly 27,000 city workers earned $100,000 or more last year. The revenue from these new meters will only benefit the pockets and pension plans of city employees. Residents in other parts of the city should fight this fascism and not allow these meters to be installed. The people who implemented this poorly run project should be ousted from their six figure, app-writing ivory towers and replaced with people who are willing to work with residents.

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At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read it in the comments of Streetsblog ergo it is THE TRUTH!

At 6:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Caveat, only comments Rob agrees with because 99% of the comments are by bike nuts and we all know that everything by the editorial staff of Streetsblog is firmly in the bike nut tank.

At 7:25 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Nope, just good enough to share. I usually read Streetsblog. Though I disagree with almost everything they post, they're an important source.

The city may be reaching a limit on how much it can extract from drivers, whether in parking tickets, parking fees, meter fees. And City Hall is doing all this extracting as it caters to the Bicycle Coalition in making it increasingly difficult to drive in SF.

At 5:32 AM, Blogger Nato said...

Greece used to give all sorts of things to both citizens and employees without making people pay for them through taxes or use fees, and then suffered riots when they admitted they couldn't afford to keep giving those things away. No amount of listening to disgruntled people who were losing benefits would have made those giveaways sustainable, and the truth is that people will have to figure out different ways to do things. That SOMA space is some of the most valuable in the city, and if it's not going to be paid parking, it should be something else that generates revenue or adds real value, not as a free warehouse for private property.

I have and will support any reasonable effort to reduce city payrolls, but I also support charging for heretofore "free" services, regardless of if people think that because they've always been given something that means they're owed it.

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

People in the neighborhoods are already paying property taxes, vehicle license fees, sales taxes (SFCTA brings in $70-$80 million a year in sales taxes for city transportation projects) gas taxes, parking fees, and, if they're unlucky or careless, parking tickets.

If City Hall had a record of spending all that money wisely, attitudes in the neighborhoods would be different. Instead, the city has bloated payrolls full of overpaid workers; dumb, expensive projects like the Central Subway; a bus system that is chronically in the red, and is actually borrowing money to pave our streets!

SF is unlike Greece in how it collects money but a lot like Greece in how it wastes the money it collects.

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead, the city has bloated payrolls full of overpaid workers.

Thanks, Mr Boehner.

At 12:38 AM, Blogger Nato said...

I pay all those taxes and fees, but I don't get free parking provided by the city, so I think the city should set aside some room at City Hall for me to use as self-storage at no charge. That's appropriate, right?

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Perhaps we have different ideas of what "public" should mean. You seem to think that it means City Hall owns our streets and that private citizens only have rights to their use based what City Hall is willing to grant. I think the public ultimately owns the streets.

As a corollary, I see City Hall not only as a predatory, anti-public power---parking meters are an important source of revenue for a predatory, improvident city government---but as implementing PC, anti-car policies in a city whose population and economy in fact depends on motor vehicles.

I reject the notion that allowing people to park without charge in their own neighborhoods is some kind of privilege that can be revoked by City Hall.

At 10:49 AM, Blogger Nato said...

"I think the public ultimately owns the streets."

This is true, and that public does not only consist of people living on a given street. I certainly agree that neighborhood residents should have special say on the character of their neighborhood, and to an extent they do, because they (for example) vote of their district supervisor. The disposition of public space like streets is and should be subject to democratic processes (which is not the same as putting every decision up to a referendum!).

We elect people to triage priorities, using public resources on our behalf. You feel they are being abused. I feel that the status quo has been biased toward using public resources for the benefit of a certain type of driver, at the expense of others. Further, because the benefit has never been priced, some have come to see it as their right that the city is coming along and stealing, but the reality is that it is essentially a kind of welfare program that's being withdrawn because it's too expensive and counterproductive. That people have become dependent on it is probably not the best argument for keeping it, though it might be a good argument for taking some sort of mitigatory measure.

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A coalition of residents in the Mission, Dogpatch, Potrero Hill and Mission Bay have launched their own website to protest the SFpark program.

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone needs to research what has become the epic of all failues...MTA/DPT. This organization only dates back to Mayor Willie Brown. It started off as a grassroots organization called "Rescue Muni". What it has become is a huge drain on the city budget. Someone also needs to question a possible conflict of interest case when the people who run MUNI also run the meter system and control the issuing of tickets. Before Mayor Brown, all meter maids worked for the SFPD not MTA. MTA is a burden on SF and loses money every year.


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