Re: Policy for On-Street Parking Management Plan

September 17, 2012
Open Letter to the SFMTA Board of Directors

Re:  Policy for On-Street Parking Management Plan

Dear SFMTA Board:

In regards to the upcoming vote on the Parking Management Plan, I am dismayed that the plan has been constructed without input from neighborhood groups or residents. This plan basically lays out parking meters as the agency’s prime parking management tool, a step that I believe to be dangerous to the cultural and economic vibrancy of San Francisco, and one that is far from guaranteed to achieve its purported goal of improving traffic and parking availability.

Many San Franciscans have stated they are willing to pay more for the privilege of parking—but the fees must be rational, fair and not punitive. Our parking fines are the highest in the nation and have more than doubled in the last 15 years. Yet if there have been improvements in MUNI, hardly anyone has noticed!

Below are some of the concerns I have with the proposed Parking Management Plan.

  • The plan asserts that meters will generate parking availability whereas time limits or other restrictions will not. But where is the proof? I have seen no evidence—neither scientific nor empirical—that this is the case. Any evidence that may exist is certainly not strong enough to base an entire city’s parking policy on.
  • The Plan excludes almost all neighborhoods as being appropriate for RPP except for “low-density residential areas.” There are few neighborhoods in San Francisco that can be described as such except for the mansion district of Pacific Heights.
  • The plan states that parking needs for commerce “are a high priority” yet ignores the economic needs of residents. I believe this is typical of SFMTA’s tunnel vision: there will be no commerce in this city if the economic wellbeing of its residents is ignored.
  • Regarding Live/Work zones, from the Mission Area Plan, Page 43:   OBJECTIVE 4.3 states that “… curbside parking should be managed to favor residents, while allocating any additional spaces for short-term visitors to the area.”  In the Mission Area, there are pockets of newer Live/Work buildings built by developers backed by City Plans, and long-time standing Live/Work buildings with residents.  These residents have parking needs, alongside other residents in the City.
  • By making it increasingly difficult for residents to park their cars during the day, the proposed plan will have the unintended consequence of incentivizing residents to drive rather than take transit. Please provide solutions, not more barriers to transit!
  • The plan states that SFMTA does not like to use time limits or RPP because they are “labor intensive to enforce.” Seriously?!! Profit margin should not be a criterion when deciding parking policies!

When the outcry from so many San Franciscans is so overwhelming—complaints that SFMTA is nickel-and-diming residents to death, that it is balancing its budget on the backs of the lower- and middle-classes, that it is ruining the quality of life in San Francisco—I don’t believe you can afford to ignore these voices.

I urge you to send this plan back for further study and input from a diverse and representative body of stakeholders.

A public comment by Attorney Mary Miles brings some disturbing issues to light.

Concerned San Francisco citizens

SFMTA Recipients:,,,

District Supervisors:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,