Mission Bay SFMTA Meeting, April 19, 2012 – Overview

Notes taken by Mari Eliza

City officials in attendance: Ed Reisken, Executive Director of the SFMTA; Bond Yee of Livable Streets; District Supervisor Jane Kim; Lauren Mattern of SFPark; and David Beaupre, Senior Planner at San Francisco Port Authority.
Ed started the meeting by explaining his agenda and introducing city officials.
Bon explained that SFMTA is installing meters to head off a future parking crisis.

They envision a very dense mixed-use that includes retail, offices, homes, and a ballpark with special events needs. For this meeting, they want to focus on Mission Bay proper, the area East of 7th St., North of Mariposa, and south of the park.

Based on a DOT grant they received, SFMTA started to experiment with a parking management plan in 2008. Mission Bay was one of the first pilot projects. SFMTA has not yet determined the proper hours for meters enforcement, or the charges for the extended hours during special events, even though people are getting ticketed while they are figuring it out.

Mission Bay residents let them know that they were not there to talk about the future or special events. They were there to get some relief from the parking meters SFMTA planted in front of their homes that have turned their lives upside down.

The meeting changed course when a Bluxome Street resident spoke up and asked, “Do you only plan to discuss the special-events parking plans, because we are here to talk about parking problems residents have today. Residents are only mentioned twice in that plan. We want to apply for a residential parking permit. I gathered all the residents’ signatures. I was told that because the meters had already been put in, and we had no say in the matter, that they could not be removed.”

Complaints and comments

  1. Lack of notice of the meeting and the venue
  2. Request for mixed-use Residential Parking Permit
  3. Objections to meters hours and rates
  4. High-priced meters are pushing residents into other neighborhoods
  5. No response from city officials
  6. Smart meters are impossible for some people to figure out and use
  7. Complaints about smart meters that are not charging the rates stated on the meters and signs
  8. Signs conflict and/or confuse people.
  9. Some signs are too high to read. mounted 7 to 12 ft above ground.
  10. Request for parking handbook. No clear parking rules.
  11. Mission Bay is poorly served by public transitN
  12. No off-street parking options in the plans
  13. Plans don’t account for the present residents’ needs
  14. No conflicts with ballpark events prior to the meters
  15. Conflicting time limit information
  16. Maritime issues

General areas of complaints:

Residents complained about the lack of notice of the meeting and the venue. First complaint was about the poor job SFMTA did informing the neighborhood about the meeting. Second complaint was about the choice of a venue in an area not well served by Muni. The third complaint was scheduling the meeting during working hours so that many could not attend.

Everyone wants a new kind of mixed use Residential Parking Permit. The call for residential parking permits was repeated throughout the evening. A resident claimed, “We need another form of residential permit program for the mixed use areas. Right now your RPP program is designed for the Sunset and the Richmond. It was not designed for neighborhoods that are part commercial and part residential. You may need these parking meters in some places, but the residents in those areas should be allowed to park by their houses.” Other areas of the city have residential parking permits. Mission Bay does not. Even an interim RPP would suffice. There is some resistance from officials, suggesting residents may rely on the RPP solution if it is temporary.

There are objections to meters running from 9 to 11 at night for special events, including Sundays and holidays. “Why are we basing the parking on ballpark needs when the ballpark is a small percentage of the use and residents live there 100% of the time?”

High-priced meters are pushing the residents into other neighborhoods and do not solve the parking problem in Mission Bay.  Many people complained about the high-priced meters, and “the whole price manipulation scheme” that is creating havoc with residents all over the city while leaving empty meters all up and down the streets.

Many people claim they get no response from city officials after repeated attempts. People complain that their attempts to contact SFPark’s Lauren Mattern and other SFMTA officials have been in vain.

The smart meters are impossible for certain classes of people to use and/or figure out. The smart meters are too difficult for short people, disabled people and people with bad eyesight to deal with. The combination of the signs and the meter instructions are also confusing and often contradictory.

The smart meters are changing event rates for some non-event time periods. There are many complaints that the meters are not accurately following actual event schedules. They are going up when there are no events. People are ticketed anyway. “There is a difference between having meters and enforcing them.” Ed admits there are programming problems with the smart meters. There should be a way of forgiving these tickets. See notes below.*

Signs conflict and/or confuse people. Street signs are not consistent with the meter and/or parking lot signs. Some of the signs are over over 8 feet high and are impossible to read. Is a sign that is illegible and/or positioned in such a manneras to be impossible for a person to see considered proper notice? Is there a legal height limit requirement for street and parking signs?

There are no clear rules on parking in San Francisco. There are requests for public access to a parking enforcement officer’s handbook since the parking rules change so frequently and appear to be so arbitrary.

Many complain Mission Bay is poorly served by public transit. How are we expected to get around without cars when there is no reliable public transit in Mission Bay?

There are no off-street parking options and no plans to increase them to contain the expected population explosion.  Many complain of a lack of off-city parking options in Mission Bay, and the plans to increase the population without adding substantial public parking options, even though there are already demands for parking which are not being met.

Maritime issues were raised

  1. Boat clubs and people who use the public boat ramp have no parking available other than street parking. “Now we have been here 70 years, going on 80 actually. And we are now going to pay a tax of $1.25 an hour on non-special event days to come use our club.”
  2. There is major confusion over how the trailer spots are supposed to work and be paid for.
  3. Limited parking hours don’t work for maritime use of the city’s only boat ramp.
  4. Muni doesn’t work for people who use the ramps.

There were no conflicts with ballpark events parkers until the meters were put in. Over the years the ballpark, clubs and residents worked out the parking issues without a hitch and were getting along prior to the installation of the parking meters. Two-hour limit street signs are deterring use of the new meters. No one understands how to use the smart meters.

Conflicting time limit information – On March 27, 2012, on KQED’s Forum Jay Primus claimed “so time limits are now either four hours or there is no time limit at all.” Ed said that is the plan, not the present reality. Here they go confusing the present with the future again.

The plans don’t meet Transit First parameters in Mission Bay

  1. SFMTA is picking and choosing what part of Transit First they implement.
  2. No residential plan.
  3. No off-street parking plan.
  4. No plan for employees parking.
  5. No reliable public transit
  6. Arbitrary decision to remove street parking does not satisfy other Transit First goals
  7. Planning for the future does not satisfy today’s needs
  8. Forcing people to pay to park at home all day makes it impossible for them to  take the train or Muni or walk or bike.

Ed’s Admissions:

  1. There are programming problems with the smart meters, resulting in arbitrarily high rates on non-game days. These should be contested and the tickets forgiven.
  2. Tickets resulting from confusing signage should be forgiven as well.
  3. There is a problem with the conflicting time limits.
  4. There is not sufficient public transit into Mission Bay.
  5. There are legitimate complaints that, when filed with the DPT with proper documents proving meter problems and/or conflicting signs during certain dates, should be forgiven
  6. SFMTA has no results from analysis or evidence that the smart meter system is working as promised.
  7. The web site is awful.

SFMTA promised to conduct another meeting, probably on Saturday and that they would pick a place near public transit next time.

My Notes:

  1. The smart meters don’t really operate as promised.
  2. People don’t like them
  3. You must have a smart phone to use some of the features, such as the ability to add time by paying remotely on your smart phone, which appears to discriminate against people without smart phones, and people who aren’t tech savvy. Even tech savvy people are confused by the meters.
  4. Short and disabled people can’t read them.
  5. Ed admitted the smart meters have a programming problem.
  6. The signs contradict the meters and the actual hours are not properly noticed.
  7. Some of the signs, especially on Pier 52, are positioned to high for the average person to read.

Maritime issues were raised

  1. Boat clubs have no parking available other than street parking. Now we have been here 70 years, going on 80 actually. And we are now going to pay a tax of $1.25 an hour on non-special event days to come use our club.
  2. Major confusion over how the trailer spots are supposed to work and be paid for.
  3. Limited parking hours doesn’t work for maritime use of the city’s only boat ramp.
  4. Muni doesn’t work for people who must carry a heavy load.

*Instructions on how to protest a confusing sign or faulty meter. Better have your camera handy, and hopefully it has a calendar set to the correct date:



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