November 2012

SFMTA Continues to Examine Parking Management Strategies

Keith Burbank

Roughly a year ago, in the face of a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) plan to erect high-tech parking meters throughout parts of Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, and the Mission, residents formed the Eastern Neighborhoods United Front (ENUF). Since then, SFMTA hasn’t progressed with outreach to the 17th and Folsom area – which is targeted for meters – as called for by ENUF, and originally scheduled to be launched in September. “We have not begun the outreach for this area,” SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said. “We just finalized a document that put all existing policies on paper, so when we do start outreach, we will be able to all start from the same place.”

According to Rose, while SFMTA hasn’t set a date to start its outreach, once the effort begins the agency will work with residents who’ve been gathering information about neighborhood parking needs. “That will be part of the outreach that will precede any work to be done regarding parking in this area,” Rose said.

Under SFMTA’s recently adopted “Policies for On-Street Parking Management,” “...blockfaces” – the side of a City block between two intersections –“that contain only single family homes are...considered inappropriate for metering…A mixed use block is defined as a block containing both commercial and residential uses...the policy for mixed use areas is to use parking meters…As a separate policy proposal, SFMTA will consider reform of the Residential Parking Permit program to better reflect the needs of residents with and without vehicles, as well as the needs of the transit system as a whole…” SFMTA may develop a proposal to revise the Residential Parking Permit (RPP) program after it obtains community feedback.

According to a document attached to SFMTA’s Policies report, “While the list of uses above mentions areas where metering may be appropriate, some settings may involve the exercise of additional discretion by the SFMTA.” The Policies report states that SFMTA’s on-street parking management plan “will meet the following goals and objectives of the SFMTA FY 2013-2018 Strategic Plan: make transit, walking, bicycling, taxi, ridesharing & carsharing the preferred means of travel.”

In a press release issued last summer, ENUF called for a moratorium on parking meter installation. “We believe a moratorium on installing parking meters and rearranging traffic flows should be put in place, while the SFMTA focuses on solving MUNI’s problems...” ENUF has gathered more than 529 signatures supporting the moratorium, according to spokeswoman Mari Eliza. ENUF is also collecting surveys from residents on their parking needs, with half of the completed surveys from Potrero Hill residents.

Jennifer Ewing, a resident of Developing Environments, a live/work art studio located in the Northeast Mission, opposes installation of new parking meters, “but if they are going to put them in, they should investigate” changing the direction of the parking spaces to 90 degrees to create more spaces and generate additional revenues for SFMTA. Leo Germano, another Developing Environments resident, wants the agency to be more flexible with the RPP program, perhaps allowing RPPs on half of a block, while parking is managed another way on the rest of the block. Echoing other residents, Ewing said, “We have a station wagon for our business. How do I get a ladder on Muni or on a Zip car?”

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