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Preschool teachers to get residential parking permits under new SFMTA rules

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(michael ares/special to s.f. examiner)

The City has expanded its residential parking permits program for teachers to include smaller schools than it ever has before, which may help preschool teachers find more available parking.

Following a vote Tuesday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors, the program will include schools with fewer than 15 teachers, which were previously ineligible for residential parking permits.

Those smaller schools tend to be preschools, according to the SFMTA.

Though the change to parking regulations may be small, it will usher in a large increase in the number of parking permits issued to educational institutions, according to the agency.

Before the change, 141 educational institutions were eligible for parking permits in residential neighborhoods, which allow parking for longer than two-hour periods. About 30 of those institutions have been issued a total of 202 permits.

After Tuesday’s vote, however, another 111 permits may be issued, which may lead to more than 300 teacher permits issued citywide, according to the SFMTA.

The move was one that Mayor Mark Farrell called for during his time as supervisor, and he hailed the vote as a way to support teachers. Farrell said an $84 ticket for not having a residential parking permit is an economic hardship for a teacher who may earn less than $70,000 a year.

“We need to do everything we can — big and small — to support our teachers,” Farrell said, in a statement. “This is one change, but for a teacher working in a neighborhood school with limited access to mass transit, this makes a difference.”

The residential parking permit program was established in 1976, to give San Franciscans priority in parking versus those from driving in from outside The City. The SFMTA considered its first major overhaul of the residential parking permit program in October last year, aiming to reduce the number of permits available per household in order to provide more parking permits across San Francisco.

The SFMTA has also offered permits to teachers, in recognition of their service to San Francisco children, but historically that did not extend to preschools, according to the SFMTA.

“When the Residential Permit Parking program was first established, policy-makers did not envision the profound shift in the number of employed mothers and single-parent households,” SFMTA staff wrote in a report to the Board of Directors. “The proposed legislation addresses this major economic shift by providing teachers at smaller schools, including early childhood education facilities to obtain parking permits.”

There are currently more than 78,000 permitted parking spaces in San Francisco, with about 153,000 households eligible to apply for them, according to the SFMTA.

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