Saturday, February 11, 2012

Halftime in America

Labels: ,

The spoils of the parking war

Photo by Liz Hafalia for the SF Chronicle

The parking meter rebellion has been simmering in San Francisco for years. The city's determination to put parking meters in the neighborhoods sparked the recent revolt in Dogpatch and Portrero Hill. C.W. Nevius wrote about parking several years ago in the Chronicle, as did Ken Garcia in the Examiner about a similar rebellion in Oakland. I've been writing about parking in the city since 2006, pointing out that parking meters, parking tickets, and city-owned parking lots/garages are a major source of income for the city.

The Dogpatch/Portrero parking rebellion has been noticed by Supervisors Kim and Cohen, who represent that part of town. Supervisor Kim may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she knows a potential political problem when she sees it. From her newsletter:

The MTA has proposed new parking meter plans in our District. After hearing from countless neighbors, our office decided to support the community in their assesment[sic] that more time is needed to perform outreach and develop a parking management plan which fits our mixed use neighborhoods. The MTA listened to us and committed to delaying implementation and working with our neighbors to develop a stronger plan.

A "stronger plan" will mean no plan at all if Kim is really hearing those "countless neighbors" in her district.

Oakland is considering a "kinder, gentler" parking policy. "Parking is such a big issue in this city---people are thrilled we're finally doing something to help them," [Councilmember Jane]Brunner said.

Haven't heard of a similar policy initiative from any of our supervisors, which means the parking war will continue here.

If City Hall adopts a "kinder, gentler" policy and stops so aggressively preying on city drivers, the city's income will go down. According to the latest San Francisco Transportation Fact Sheet, in FY2010-11 the city made $49,520,486 from parking meters; more than twice that on parking tickets, $86,306,584; and $38,742,622 from city-owned parking lots.

The city makes a lot more on parking meter violations than it does on the meters themselves. 

Add the $9,040,407 from residential parking permits, and the total the city made from owners of those devilish motor vehicles: $171,610,099.

Labels: ,