Are Parking Meters a Tax on Small Businesses?

by Mark Hay : magazine.good – excerpt

Back in June, a bunch of drunk youths shambling around Cardigan, a Welsh town of about 4,000 people, decided to try to get more beer money by breaking into the city’s four pay-and-display metered parking machines. At first this act of vandalism seemed like a real headache. The bill to fix the meters came in at around $35,000, a fee the local city council had so much trouble sourcing they had to leave the meters broken, and subsequently downtown parking free, for weeks. But as the days dragged on, shoppers and local business owners started feeling glad that the meters had been destroyed. It seems the convenience of free parking and the liberty to stroll from shop to shop without worrying about feeding the meter had increased main street storefront revenues by an  average of about 30 percent and by as much as 50 percent. The boost evened the playing field between local vendors and megastores with free lots outside of town.

We’ve long campaigned for free parking,” Keith Davies, a 64-year-old butcher who’s run a shop in Cardigan since 1978, told the city council. Davies, along with other local businesspeople, is angling to use the evidence from this accidental experiment to eliminate metered parking downtown. “While we don’t condone the damage to the machines, the difference it’s made is unbelievable.”…

Over the past couple of months, journalists (including one columnist in the nationally distributed Independent) have started talking about parking meters as a tax on local businesses, one paid indirectly by customers just for the right to spend their money. Even prominent members of the sitting conservative government seem to be getting behind free parking as a means of reversing the decline in main street shops, 20,000 of which have closed in the last few years alone. Member of Parliament Marcus Jones, who this May became Undersecretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has even publicly suggested that small towns could use meter-free status as an effective means to save local shops…

At the very least, though, Cardigan’s recent experience (along with mounting bodies of evidence from other British towns) has started serious conversations about forcing reticent local councils to experiment with decreasing hourly fees and increasing stays. Hopefully these small towns can attain the gains Cardigan felt during the brief vandal-born parking anarchy, all without losing major revenue or running the urban planning risks of free parking… (more) 

2 property tax bills: 1 for condo, 1 for parking space

By C.W. Nevius : sfchronicle – excerpt

When a tax measure to help pay San Francisco Unified School District teachers was proposed in 2008, Richard La Rose was an enthusiastic supporter. As a teacher at a private institution, La Rose wouldn’t directly benefit, but he didn’t mind paying the annual fee, which he says is $259.20.

He just didn’t expect to pay it twice.

La Rose, like some other residents, is taxed once for his one-bedroom condo and a second time for his parking space. Since the parking spot was sold separately it has its own deed, which is now a common practice among developers. That means he is considered to have two parcels.

“I went to the tax office, and I said I didn’t see why I should have to pay twice,” La Rose said. “They said, ‘Yeah, we get that complaint all the time, but there’s nothing we can do.’”… (more)

RELATED:
An Unintended Consequence of Unbundling Parking from Housing
Transportation and affordable housing advocates advocate unbundling parking from housing to provide an incentive to own fewer vehicles while reducing housing costs and increasing supply. But should parcel taxes be applied to parking spaces?... (more)

Muni might seek money through San Francisco voters

By: Will Reisman : sfexaminer.com – excerpt

Muni’s transformative transit initiative achieved an important planning milestone this week, but the ambitious project still faces major funding barriers and officials are considering asking voters for money.
Crafted in 2008, the Transit Effectiveness Project was the first review of Muni’s operations in a generation, and the recommendations from the plan included more bus rapid transit networks, an increase in transit-only lanes and other initiatives aimed at speeding up The City’s public transit system.
On Wednesday, the Planning Department issued its initial study of the project, clearing the way for the vital environmental reviews that must be completed before recommendations of the plan are implemented. The final environmental review is expected to be finished in 2014…
“We don’t have the confidence of the public today that we can spend and execute this money in an efficient manner,” Reiskin said… (more)

Ain’t that the truth!!!

Comment on sfexaminer. That is a good place to let the Mayor, Supervisors, and Ed know just how you feel about forking over more money, I mean increasing the public debt, to pay for their future vision of our city. Letters and emails work too.

It is time to end the era of rule by SFMTA desire. Too much authority and not enough oversight is a recipe for disaster. There is ample evidence that money is not the problem, but evidence that the experiment has failed.

Board of Supervisors Approves Bill Permitting Citywide Parking Rentals

by Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblo.org – excerpt

A bill allowing many residential parking spaces to be rented to residents citywide was passed unanimously by the SF Board of Supervisors yesterday despite criticisms that it could encourage car commuting and discourage property owners from converting garages to housing units.
At a board meeting last week, D5 Supervisor Christina Olague proposed postponing approval of the legislation for further analysis in response to a letter from Jason Henderson, a geography professor and chair of the Market and Octavia Citizens Advisory Council (and occasional Streetsblog contributor)….
But the bill was pushed through after other supervisors said they felt further consideration unnecessary. The provision removing the 1,250-foot rule was one piece of a larger, generally popular proposal to simplify procedures for collecting the parking tax from property owners who own five or fewer parking spaces.
Supervisor Scott Wiener, who sponsored the legislation, said the reform was necessary to encourage property owners to begin paying the tax on spaces rented to non-building residents, which has gone virtually unknown and uncollected since it was put in place in the 1970s. Wiener also argued that the current 1,250-foot rule is unenforceable, and that the provision was properly vetted by the Planning Department… (more)

Local business enterprise joint venture completes transition of four landmark SFMTA parking contracts

By Impark : heralkdonline.com – excerpt

VANCOUVER, SEPT. 4, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ – Impark, one of North America’s largest parking operators, announced today it has completed the transition of four San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) garages into its management.  The five-year parking management contracts were awarded to Impark joint venture company IMCO parking in three phases over the past six months with the final transition taking place on May 1st, 2012…

All four contracts are to be managed by IMCO; a joint venture between Impark and Convenient Parking, an organization certified under the City’s LBE Program. “I am very proud to be working with Impark on these major projects” said Fred Bekele, owner of Convenient Parking.  “While we have partnered with Impark on various projects since 2005, the new SFMTA contracts are a tremendous opportunity for a developing local business such as ours”… (more)

Looks like the parking business is the fastest growng industry in San Francisco, unless we fight SFMTA and turn that around. How many local jobs do you suppose they are creating for the residents? How much of that money is staying in the local economy and how much is being sucked up by outside interests?

CA$HING in on Taxpayers

According to the latest SF Transportation Fact Sheet, the city of San Francisco makes $40,520,486 from parking meters and $86,306,584 from parking tickets for a total of $126,827,070.

Note, that the city makes twice as much from parking tickets as it does on parking meters. But if there are no parking meters, the city can’t issue parking tickets, which is why City Hall is putting more parking meters in city neighborhoods.

Note too that the city also makes $38,742,622 from city-owned parking lots and garages and another $9,040,407 from its residential parking permit program, which has people paying for a permit to park in front of their homes. Creating the SFMTA seems to have only accomplished creating one very large dysfunctional organization. If anyone doubts why San Francisco is broke, look no further than the fact that 1 out of 3 public employees make over $100,000 a year, 20% more than the private sector pay, with vastly better benefits and health care…

(more)

San Francisco’s meter madness: No quarter given

San Francisco Business Times – excerpt

With too many vehicles and too little space, San Francisco clearly needs good policies on transit, transportation and parking. The problem comes when ideological vehicles are given the right of way, and reality is forced to pull over.
That’s in danger of happening as the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency resumes plans for a wholesale reordering of street parking, most notably by adding thousands of meters to what are currently “free” parking spaces, and extending to as late as 10 p.m. the hours during which meters must be fed…

(more)

You will need to subscribe to read the article, but you have to appreciate the title.

LA Parking Meters Vote: More Than 400 Will Be Added To Streets

By Eliza Fisher : The Huffington Post – excerpt

In a city where nearly everyone drives, any news regarding parking is bound to be upsetting.

Yesterday, the LA City Council voted to add more than 400 parking meters to the city’s streets, in an attempt to boost revenue, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The affected areas include Palms, just north of Culver City by the 10 Freeway, where 247 meters will be erected, as well as Westchester near LAX, where another 190 meters will go up.

According to the Times, the new meters will generate more than $280,000 per year for the city. That expected revenue will hopefully follow the $653,000 earmarked for the project, reports JournalStar.com…

(more)

This is clearly a state-wide issue. Is LA really trying to become anti-car?

Contemporary Approaches to Parking Pricing: A Primer

BY ALLEN GREENBERG : blog.parking.org – excerpt

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) learned that a parking pricing primer would be valued from feedback received at a two-day parking pricing workshop we sponsored in San Francisco in September 2011. Despite the dire financial straits of many local governments, more than 70 governmental parking and transportation officials attended and the level of engagement was incredible. We left with a clear message that city transportation and parking professionals were clamoring for help to do more…

FHWA funded the nation’s largest and most sophisticated performance-parking program to date: San Francisco’s SFpark…

(more)

Isn’t it fun being a guinea pig?