Parking plan may help residents left circling by out-of-town vehicles

By: Will Reisman : SF Examiner – excerpt

Jane and James Dubuque would love to drive to a local restaurant for a meal every now and then, but the prospect is just too frightening for the retired Glen Park couple.Their reluctance isn’t related to some anxiety disorder or aversion to overpriced cuisines. It’s because they’re convinced that if they leave their neighborhood, they’ll never find another nearby parking spot…
SFMTA Spokesman Paul Rose said the current petition-based process doesn’t always align with his agency’s broader parking and transportation goals.
“This is one reason why we are working with the public to reform this residential parking tool that was established in the ’70s,” he said… (more)

Goodbye Parking Lot, Hello Park

By: Erik Neumann | September 6, 2012 – 10:00 am

Soon the Mission District will have one less parking lot and one more park, the Examiner reported yesterday. The pay lot on 17th and Folsom is slated for demolition by the Recreation and Park Department and will be replaced by what some are calling “the city’s first environmental justice park.”


SFMTA removes Clement Street’s pole gardens from parking meters

The small “pole gardens” that began popping up on the early blocks of Clement Street this summer made local and international news when we posted about them here on the blog in late August.
The gardens were being hung by an anonymous resident of the neighborhood, who only identified themselves as “Pole Gardener” in a blog comment, telling readers “I’m glad you like the gardens, I’m the person putting them up. I would invite all of you to maintain/adopt them as you see fit, including watering and replanting.”
Reaction to the mini gardens was overwhelmingly positive, and in a KTVU news story on the small creations, city officials said they have no plans to remove them from the poles and parking meters where they had been installed.
But that city stance seems to have changed. Today we received several emails, and photos, alerting us that the SFMTA is removing the pole gardens that are attached to parking meters along Clement Street… (more)

Your chance to rate the SFMTA

We know you love the Municipal Transportation Agency, the city bureaucracy that oversees all things transportation in San Francisco: Muni, taxis, parking, biking, even walking.
Here’s a chance to show your love. The SFMTA, as it’s fondly known, has gone online with a customer satisfaction survey that asks its “customers” to rate Muni, the city’s bicycle network, the suitability of city streets (sidewalks and crosswalks, actually) for walking and the city’s taxis.
Conspicuously — and curiously — absent is the occasionally controversial topic of parking. Perhaps that’s because the MTA has gotten plenty of feedback on proposals for more parking meters, night parking meters, Sunday parking meters, pricier parking meters and more enforcement of parking meters.
The survey asks Muni riders to rate their level of satisfaction (from 1-5) with the safe operation of vehicles, safety and security from crime, service frequency, cleanliness of cvehicles, stations, elevators and escalators, reliability and safety waiting at transit stops or stations.  Bravely, the survey also asks for an overall satisfaction rating for Muni.
Similarly, taxi riders are asked to weigh in on the ease of hailing cabs or reserving them by phone among other topics. Pedestrians are queried about the adequacy and safety of crosswalks and sidewalks and bicyclists are invited to rate the safety of bicycling and the security of bike parking.
The survey can be found at Results are expected to be tabulated and released later this year. They’re part of the agency’s strategic plan, which vows to listen to the people who use transportation services in the city.
And even without any parking questions, the agency is sure to get an earful… (more)

Muni (Presumably) Braces For Your Responses To Customer Satisfaction Survey

ConsumerWatch: Heeding Posted Signs At SF Mall Results In A Towing

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Next time you park in a private lot consider you may be towed even though you’ve abided by the posted signs. Two San Francisco siblings recently learned that the hard way at Stonestown Galleria mall…
A Stonestown representative said, “even though (she) went to the mall, (she) should have been the operator of the vehicle.” It did not matter how much she spent at the mall because she was not the driver of the car, her brother was.
There are no posted signs, nor any online information, that indicates a Stonestown patron also has to be the driver of the car in order to avoid being towed…
“Where is the posted policy that says the patron has to be the operator of the vehicle, he asked.
According to a Stonestown spokesperson, that policy doesn’t exist.  Representatives refused to reconsider the tow or provide a statement for this story.  The Department of Justice is now investigating whether the policy is a violation of the American’s With Disabilities Act.
The Changs are planning to sue the mall in small claims court. Legal experts believe they ate entitled to twice the cost of the tow… (more)

Lyft for riders is a downer for SF taxis

C.W. Nevius, Chronicle Columnist : SFGate – excerpt

The taxi business in San Francisco is famously fractious.
“It’s like a car crash – you can’t look away,” says Hansu Kim, owner of DeSoto Cab Co.
Drivers and cab companies bicker, freelance town cars poach fares, and there are not enough cabs on the street.
That’s how it is has been for years, which is why it’s been easy for some savvy startups to jump into the market…
“We are offering a more enjoyable alternative,” said John Zimmer, co-founder of Lyft, which uses cars with pink mustaches. “We offer a marginally less-expensive experience with extreme convenience and personality experience.”
The popularity of these companies is forcing taxi folks to realize they need to make changes…
“We need to modernize the system,” Reiskin said. “Increase the number of taxis and make sure that when you call a cab, you get one.”
Otherwise, the future looks pretty clear.
“If we are not going to enforce this, we are going to deregulate the system,” Kim said. “Everyone is going to open an on-demand service…

Mobile payments that matter: parking meters


I was having coffee with local guru Greg Sterling yesterday afternoon at Another Cafe in San Francisco, and as we were chatting, Greg pulled out his iPhone and refilled his parking meter.
This has got to be one of the most compelling use cases for mobile payments: paying for parking.
In San Francisco, mobile payments for parking are handled by PayByPhone.
Unlike most mobile payments services, it solves three real problems:

  1. Many meters in San Francisco still don’t take credit cards; with PayByPhone, they all do. Finding quarters at the last second can be a challenge.
  2. The app keeps track of the time remaining. When a meter is about to expire, it alerts the user.
  3. It truly takes advantage of mobile. Instead of having to stop our conversation, walk to the meter, put in some coins, and walk back, Greg was able to add time to his meter with a few clicks.

That’s a much better return on effort for users than, say, a mobile payments app like Square, which replaces the marginal inconvenience of swiping a credit card with fumbling through a mobile app. (The barista at the coffee shop pointed out that although Pay With Square was cool, in many cases it took longer than normal transactions because people were unfamiliar with the app. Some even held up the line as they downloaded the app at the register.)
It’s also a use case where the alternative is quite painful: a ticket for $62 or $72 for parking at an expired meter. (more)

Continue reading

SFMTA Approves 200 More Taxi Permits To Combat Uber, Sidecar And Lyft – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors on Tuesday approved temporary permits that will allow up to 200 more taxis to operate on the city’s streets.
The three-year permits will be leased directly to taxi companies, increasing the total number of cabs from the 1,535 that are currently authorized to operate full-time, according to SFMTA officials…
Agency officials said that adding more permitted taxis to the city’s streets will curb the use of unregulated cab services such as Uber, Sidecar and Lyft… (more)