Walnut Creek Parking Meter Glitch Fixed After Malfunction Produced Unwarranted Tickets

cbslocal – excerpt

WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) – A glitch found in some new downtown Walnut Creek parking meters that left at least 100 drivers with unwarranted parking tickets has been fixed, city officials said.

Sensors near the new “smart meters” installed downtown last year are designed to wirelessly signal to the meter when a vehicle enters and leaves a parking spot, city officials said.

But some of the sensors were too sensitive, causing them to erroneously reset and prompting parking enforcement officers to issue tickets, according to Matt Huffaker, assistant to the City Manager… (more)

Or in the case of the sensors in SF, the batteries died.

Downtown San Jose street parking cost could double to fund new smart meters

By Mike Rosenberg : mercurynews – excerpt

SAN JOSE — The cost to park on downtown San Jose streets could double to pay for new meters that accept credit cards, a change that could free up more spaces and cut down on parking tickets — or drive visitors away.

The City Council on Feb. 4 is set to order new smart meters that also eventually will allow drivers to pay with a cellphone – in addition to credit and debit cards and coins – and provide real-time data for a new app that will show where parking is available.

To pay for the $1.3 million batch of new meters, city officials say rates would increase at those meters from $1 an hour to as much as $2 an hour. Dropping in 50 cents would put 15 minutes on the meter — and a dime would net you 3 minutes.

The current $1-an-hour rate at San Jose meters hasn’t budged in 11 years, making it one of the cheapest big cities in the United States for parking, far less expensive than San Francisco and half the cost of Oakland…

But some business owners say the parking fee increase will give customers an excuse to shop somewhere else.

“As it is, it’s hard to get people to come to downtown San Jose,” said Kam Razavi, who owns the Loft Bar and Bistro on South Second Street. “If they’ve got to spend more money, it’s the last thing we need.”…


Talk about adding insult to injury. Forcing the victims to pre-pay for their punishment. And the rationale is, you must pay more for convenience. This is hype and we know it. Looks as if the city council holds the authority in San Jose. That is an elected body. Let’s see how the voters react during the next election.

SFpark losing real-time street data

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

The City’s SFpark app will lose its real-time information feature for on-street parking occupancy beginning Monday, but the service will continue to be available for garage parking.
The loss in real-time data, which is due to parking-sensor batteries being drained, comes as the pilot phase is being evaluated through spring 2014. Transit officials say key services of the parking app feature have included demand-responsive pricing, longer meter time limits and meters that make it easier to pay… (more)

The SFMTA doesn’t need data to lower the parking rates any more than they needed data to raise them.

One wonders how this loss of data will effect the multitude of parking apps that have sprouted up lately. Are they dependent on this data? One also wonders how much this study costs. Did they break even? When will we get the results of the study?

Old meters set to expire as San Francisco looks to upgrade parking its systems

By Will Reisman : .sfexaminer.com – excerpt

Drivers in San Francisco soon may not need a cache of coins in their cars to feed the meters as a part of a proposal to replace The City’s entire network of parking meters — some 30,000 devices — with newer technology by this fall.
San Francisco has about 23,000 older parking meters that accept only coins and payment cards issued by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which is in charge of parking in The City. There are an additional 6,000 or so meters that feature the agency’s new SFpark technology, which accept multiple payment forms and offer differing hourly rates. Another 1,000 meters are located on property the Port of San Francisco manages.

The agency has not calculated the total cost of the project, as that will depend on negotiations with contractors, who are expected to submit bids in the next month. If the project goes ahead as planned, the meters could be replaced by late summer or early fall, said Primus. The project will be funded through the agency’s operating budgetmore)

Looks like we will all be getting smart meters after all. One assumes that the operating budget they are referring to is the Muni operating budget, if, in fact there is one. Perhaps the Supervisors should be approached on this. Why is money taken out of the Muni budget to finance parking  meters? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? The meters are supposed to pay into the Muni budget.

Smart meters v non-smart meters – what difference does it make

by zrants

This article is in response to some recent stories from folks who profess a preference for Smart parking meters because they believe the rates are lower. We are also sharing a few facts we uncovered by attending public SFMTA meetings and talking to people who have experienced the destruction of their neighborhoods by the SFMTA.

SMART v DUMB meters: The non-smart meters started out at 25 cents an hour. They have been re-programed and can be re-programed again to raise or lower the rates. Parking rates are set by policy and have nothing to do with “smart” technology. Do you care what the rates are now when the SFMTA’s stated purpose for managing parking is to make driving and parking in SF difficult? How likely will they remain low?

The SFMTA admits to mistakes? Anyone who has attended public SFMTA meetings with neighborhood groups can attest to the fact that SFMTA officials freely admit their system is flawed in a number of ways:

Reiskin hands the floor to Funghi at the North Beach meeting.

SFMTA admits they lack proper public outreach: At a public meeting In North Beach SFMTA apologized for waiting four years after they signed the contract with the project developer to inform the neighborhood that Columbus Avenue would be closed down for an extended period of time while the contractor extracts boring equipment.

SFMTA admits they are digging a tunnel and they don’t know where they are aiming it: At the North Beach meeting SFMTA admitted their extraction plan lacks any clear benefit to the neighborhood since they have no exact station location, funding or clearance to build past the China Town station. This project represents billions of taxpayer dollars and a number of lawsuits are pending. Now we see why. Look at tapes of public meetings in North Beach and North East Mission decide for yourself how you feel the SFMTA:   http://vimeo.com/groups/168462

SFMTA rates are subject to changing times and rates without notice:
Meters in Mission Bay run from 7 AM to 11PM at night on some streets and the rates are subject to change during the day so you never know how much you are paying to park.

What is SFMTA doing with the additional money? SFMTA has raised rates on Muni, cut back service and taken in more money from parking rates, fines and fees, or at least budgeted to to so. Where is the money going? Not into Muni. Lines are being cut and service is at an all time low.

Ask people in negatively impacted neighborhoods: Ask the folks around Valencia how they like SFMTA parking policies. First they removed the Muni lines on Valencia, then they installed parking meters and put in bike paths and parklets to further eliminate parking. The final blow came when a developer got approval to build a higher denser apartment on Valencia with no off-street parking and no RPP rights. As soon as the ink dried on the permits, the developer switched the address to a side street so the residents can apply for RPP, further squeezing parking in the neighborhood.

Meter Madness: Santa Monica Introduces New “Smart” Parking Meters

jjonathanturley.org – excerpted

Santa Monica, California is introducing new technology to end the practice of drivers using minutes remaining on parking meters from the prior cars. New meters use internet connections and sensors buried in the asphalt to wipe out remaining time once a car leaves the parking space. It seems a bit unfair. The city was paid to rent the space and I think I should be allowed to hand over my time to another citizen — after all I paid for the rental and could remain in the spot for the full duration… (more)

Rumor has it our SFMTA is considering bringing this system – resetting the meter to zero when a car leaves a parking spot – to San Francisco. Tell them what you think about that.

To Reset or Not to Reset…
We should remember one other thing: When we change to a pay-by-credit-card meter, most people pay the maximum anyway, whether they plan to stay the maximum time or not. Revenue skyrockets for cities because of this… If a city is so financially tapped out that every little bit needs to be wrung out of the citizenry, isn’t something else wrong? When parking policy becomes a “tax,” instead of a way to affect behavior, are we moving in the right or wrong direction?

Smart Meters vs. Social Capital

ASHLEY TRIM : city-journal – exceprt

When efficiency clashes with community
… Now San Francisco officials are considering a proposal to follow Santa Monica’s lead by installing “smart” parking meters to boost city revenue. Using ground-sensor technology, these solar-powered meters can tell when a parking spot is occupied; send text messages to notify drivers that their time is running out; prevent drivers from adding money over permitted time limits; change parking rates based on congestion; and—the main source of controversy—reset any remaining time when a car leaves the parking spot. In other words, the harried minivan mom will be out of luck… (more)

Fortunately for us the sensors don’t seen to work in SF yet. People familiar with the meaning of “land fill” will understand why.

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?

San Francisco Marks 65th Year Of Parking Meters

Parick Sedillo : Yahoonews – excerpt

On August 21 st , 1947, the first parking meter was installed on San Francisco city streets. Patrick Sedillo takes a look at how the meters and the fines have changed…


San Francisco transportation agency looking in wrong direction with meter extension

By: Amy Bacharach | Special to The S.F. Examiner
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency would like to work toward balancing its budget by extending meters on evenings and to Sundays. Not only is this a regressive and backward thought process, it will create collateral consequences for everyone. Policies that are based solely on the idea of creating revenue are always unwise.

The SFMTA runs an archaic transit system and has yet to provide efficient, effective and reliable service. This has little to do with revenue and can be attributed to the poor structure of the organization as well as the seemingly tied hands when it comes to making financial decisions. The small amount of revenue that extended meters will bring will not fix the SFMTA’s underlying structural and organizational problems.

What extending meters will do, however, is further drive families out of San Franciscoand keep commuters from staying to dine and shop, thus continuing to hurt small businesses…

There’s nothing progressive about trying to feed a bloated and ineffective agency more and more revenue in the hope that it will magically turn into the type of agency that manages the transit systems of Washington, D.C., or Paris.

Related links: SFMTA April 3 meeting