The best transportation option in San Francisco might be one you’ve never heard of

Rakesh Agrawal : venturebeat – excerpt

Startups Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar get all of the attention when we discuss alternative transportation options in San Francisco. But one of my favorites is BMW’s little talked about DriveNow…

According to CEO Rich Steinberg, there are currently 70 vehicles in the San Francisco market. Although the service was off to a slow start, usage has now picked up, and the company is considering doubling its fleet.

Like Daimler’s car2go product, which I wrote about before, some of the expansion Steinberg would like to see has been blocked by the intransigence of the SFMTA. I asked why there were no DriveNow locations in the Mission or on the west side of the city. Steinberg said he’d love to have them out there, but he can’t find suitable parking spaces. The demand is there, but he can’t fill it.

In other markets in which DriveNow operates (all in Europe; San Francisco is the first U.S. deployment), cars can be parked almost anywhere in the city; there are no designated stations. But Steinberg couldn’t get the SFMTA to cooperate with such an approach.

I asked David Chiu, my San Francisco supervisor and the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, why this is the case.

“I’ve championed city car-sharing with past legislation and have also advocated for one-way car sharing, as I’ve learned about issues from some of the new providers,” Chiu responded. “I understand the SFMTA has been a bit slower on this new innovation than we’d all like.”… (more)

“some of the expansion Steinberg would like to see has been blocked by the intransigence of the SFMTA.”

Another complaint about the lack of parking in the city, and this time it is coming from a rental contractor set up by the SFMTA. The SFTMA Board spends more time fighting cars by removing parking, than it does running Muni. You know what to do about it. Letters of complaint and suggestions for expanding parking options near freeway exits can go to the parties listed here: http://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/san-francisco-officials/

SFMTA Continues to Examine Parking Management Strategies

By Keith Burbank : Potreroview.net – excerpt

November 2012

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...
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… (more)

(signatures added on a daily basis)
Get ready to give feedback at the next SFMTA meeting which is tentatively scheduled for November 28 or 29.

Accessible Parking Policy

sfpark.org – excerpt

The Accessible Parking Policy Advisory Committee will review and make recommendations regarding on-street accessible parking policies, including those governing disabled placards and blue zones. These issues affect access and mobility for people with disabilities in San Francisco, whether they travel by car, paratransit, or public transit…
Public attendance: Meetings will be open to the public. To ensure that the committee has sufficient time to achieve its goals, there will be no public comment during the meetings. The public will have a chance to provide spoken comments at a later date, and can email comments to accessibleparking@SFMTA.com at any time. This committee is considered a “passive meeting body” per the Sunshine Ordinance section 67.4…
Schedule of meetings through March 2013(more)

This appears to be about blue zones.

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.

Sincerely,
Concerned San Francisco citizens

SFMTA Recipients: MTABoard@sfmta.com, Jay.primus@sfmta.com, Bond.Yee@sfmta.com, Ed.Reiskin@sfmta.com

District Supervisors: MTABoard@sfmta.com, Jay.primus@sfmta.com, Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org, Jane.Kim@sfgov.org, Bond.Yee@sfmta.com, Ed.Reiskin@sfmta.com, Eric.Mar@sfgov.org, David.Campos@sfgov.org, MayorEdwinLee@sfgov.org, David.Chiu@sfgov.org, John.Avalos@sfgov.org, Carmen.Chu@sfgov.org, Sean.Elsbernd@sfgov.org, christina.olague@sfgov.org, Mark.Farrell@sfgov.org, Scott.Wiener@sfgov.org

Oakland, Berkeley eye driver-friendly parking laws

SFGate, by Carolyn Jones

“We’re trying to have a kinder, gentler parking policy,” said Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington, who proposed the Berkeley ordinance. “If you show up to move your car, that should be good enough. I don’t think we should be punishing you for that…
A distressed driver wrote all the council members and the mayor pleading for help. Worthington crafted the legislation and the council is expected to take it up this week (February 14, 2012)…”