Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Suspicions confirmed: SF parking meter rates among highest

The online comments to the parking meter story below are of interest, like this one:

According to the MTA web site, state law describes parking ticket income that exceeds the costs of administration and expenses as a tax which is not allowed under Proposition 13 without voter approval. If this is the case, it will be interesting to see how the MTA explains where the parking meter money is going.

The MTA doesn't have to explain itself, since there's no dissent on the MTA board and no dissent on the Board of Supervisors on city traffic and parking policy. There is some dissent in the neighborhoods, which the story links and City Hall couldn't ignore. The whole anti-car thing is a paper tiger politically, since city voters never get a chance to vote on these policies. If City Hall continues down this road, so to speak, the next step in the political process: city voters might begin rejecting candidates that support policies that see people with cars as primarily a source of revenue.

Where a lot of the parking meter money is going: into the bottomless pit called the Central Subway. According to page 4 of this document the "SFMTA and Parking Revenues" are contributing $163,890,000 to that project, even though MTA is chronically in the red and the city is borrowing money to pave our streets.

And the SFCTA is contributing $123,800,000 to the city's own Big Dig.

San Francisco is contributing $287,690,000 to the Central Subway boondoggle, as our Muni system wallows in red ink. 
by Rachel Gordon, SF Gate

San Francisco shares the top spot for the steepest parking meter fines in the U.S. and has the third highest hourly parking rates for metered spaces.

That was the finding of a new survey by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency that compared meter rates and fines in 40 of the nation’s cities, most of them at the center of major metropolitan areas, with a handful of smaller suburban communities and tourist hubs added to the mix.

The penalty to park at an expired meter tops at $65 in New York City and San Francisco’s downtown zones; the fine drops to $55 in San Francisco’s outlying commercial districts. The best places for money-mindful motorists to park illegally: St. Louis and Champaign, Ill., where the fine for a meter violation is $10.

Closer to home, the fines in Oakland and San Jose are $58 and $35, respectively.

Chicago leads the pack on the cost to plug a meter, with the charge there capping at $5 an hour but running as low as $1.50. The peak rate in New York City also is $5, in Greenwich Village, and $2.50 downtown.

San Francisco charges up to $4.25 in high-demand areas, and 75 cents on metered streets where parking is plentiful. The groundwork has been laid to inch up the hourly charge to $6 on certain San Francisco streets during peak hours.

San Jose remains a relative bargain, at $1 an hour. Oakland is double that, but still much cheaper than San Francisco.

The Municipal Transportation Agency survey, based on December 2011 rates and fines, has been conducted annually since 2009. In addition to the costs, it also looks at the hours and days the meters operate. Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., and Las Vegas, for example, have 24-hour enforcement in certain areas.

San Francisco meters, for the most part, don’t have to be plugged before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m., although the hours are extended in some neighborhoods. The agency also is looking to expand operations deeper into the night and to more places on Sundays. There are about 28,000 meters in the city.

While the city is experimenting with using parking meters to battle congestion by using pocketbook policy to change drivers’ behavior, meters also are a big money maker for the agency. Revenue from meter-related charges and fines amounts to more than $50 million a year. A recent proposal to add about 5,000 new meters in the city was put on hold last month amid strong opposition from residents and business owners.

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At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Among the highest? Fuck that! Why do we settle for less than the best! Raise the roof on parking scofflaws! OBEY! RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH!

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parking meter prices do more harm internationally to the US's image than torture and wars.

SF is just poking Al Qaeda to attack us! Stop the madness before we get bombed!

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Another failed attempt at cleverness. Keep trying, moron!

No comment on the fact that the MTA and the SFCTA are spending $287,690,000 on the Central Subway project, when Muni and the city itself are deep in the red?

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't care where the money goes. As long as the drivers get the shaft.

At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only SF had acres of parking and it was all free!!

Oh yeah, that's the fucking rest of the country. Good thing people hate living in a city.

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Who thinks "people hate living in a city"? Your reading disorder is showing again.

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's come out of your mouth.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Let's see a citation.

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"The reality is that most people---especially people with families--don't want to live in "stack and pack" housing in a city. That might suit the young and the old single groovies but it's not for everyone. That's what makes all this trendy prattle about "smart growth" unrealistic. Many people would rather submit to a long commute in their Death Monster/car than what the dense development, transit corridor planners want them to do."

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

That's about housing---and the trendy Smart Growth bullshit---in the city and nowhere near "people hate living in a city." I like living in this city just fine, but I don't live in "stack-and-pack" housing.

At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The people living in and/or commuting to SF obviously don't want to live here, even if they have to come here every day to work."

At 3:26 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Okay, that's better. But I left out a phrase in my comment. It should have read "The people living in the suburbs and/or commuting to SF obviously don't want to live here, even if they have to come here every day to work."

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's still a stupid fucking comment.

Maybe they can't afford to live in SF. Why is SF expensive if only 800k people want to live there? It's expensive because demand is high for a limited supply of housing.

At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you see this? Today's New York Times is calling SF's parking plans "de facto class warfare."


The elitism of the city's hypocritical left (who drive their SUVs to work) has been exposed by the most elite newspaper in the world! How's that for irony.

At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't drive our SUVs to work, we have our driver drive us in our SUVs to work. Pass the Grey Poupon.

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, we drive them into the ocean.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Maybe the city needs an Ocean Beach Parking Meter Plan to put some meters out in the sand.

At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the city tried to meter the sand, you'd file a lawsuit.

At 3:36 AM, Blogger alai said...

SF's housing costs are also among the highest. To keep parking rates-- rents for cars-- artificially low, while letting rents for humans climb higher and higher is a pretty nasty policy. And that's exactly what happens when housing construction is blocked because of "insufficient" parking, or when parking lots are required to be maintained even when the owners would rather build over them.

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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 $100.00 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 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.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger alai said...

That is a failure. As I understood it, they were going to start new meters at 25c/hour and go up as demand warranted. Why didn't they do that here?

At 4:04 PM, Blogger alai said...

I think I've answered my own question-- that area is not in the SFPark program, so they have fixed $2 rates. Should've gone with the variable-rate ones.


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