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SF to explore use of parking meters at night

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San Francisco may consider charging parking meters at night. (S.F. Examiner file photo)

San Francisco will explore whether to charge parking meters at night in some areas.

The move was seen as an effort to mitigate the impacts of lowered towing fees for drivers that were approved Tuesday.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors asked agency staff to study the impacts of charging for nighttime parking meters at the board’s meeting Tuesday, citing the need for more revenue amid a budget shortfall in the next two years.

Just minutes before the agency discussed the possibility of charging parking meters at night, the board voted to lower towing fees through a contract with the company AutoReturn, which left the agency on the hook for $3.5 million, board Director Cheryl Brinkman noted.

The SFMTA, which runs Muni and manages The City’s streets, is debating its budget for the next two years. The budget is slated for final approval in April.

The agency has funding challenges ahead, directors noted. SFMTA staff anticipates a $13.5 million and $14.3 million budget shortfall in 2017 and 2018, respectively, according to budget reports.

Many budget proposals this year affect transit riders, with few new financial burdens to drivers, critics of the budget noted previously. Addressing that concern, Brinkman suggested charging for parking in “targeted” areas at night may help mitigate the lost funds on the AutoReturn contract.

She said lowering the AutoReturn fees was a “very, very, very, worthy goal,” but “I want to make sure we’re managing the resources of our parking better.”

Brinkman also reminded the board that the SFMTA backed off its proposal to charge for Sunday parking meters, which lost the SFMTA another $8 million annually.

“I’m not suggesting we go back to the Sunday metering,” she said, but “I want some targeted meter hour extensions to show up in this budget, especially since we’re another $3 million behind.”

The board previously reversed their position on charging for Sunday meters at the behest of Mayor Ed Lee, who heard concerns from drivers across San Francisco.

But, Brinkman said, not charging for parking in “thriving nightlife” areas is “unheard of in every other city I’m used to.”

Ed Reiskin, the SFMTA’s director of transportation, told the board that the SFMTA is not enforcing parking, nor does it charge parking meters, during nights of peak activity.

“Stopping [enforcement] at 6 p.m. in a vibrant, commercial evening district doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” he said. “From a parking management perspective, it could be a chance to advance our transportation policy that has some revenue benefits.”

Malcolm Heinicke, another board director, said he supported the study if the business community is consulted heavily.

He noted that when some new parking meter fees were announced, business owners disagreed with the proposal — at first.

“We heard, ‘They hate it, they hate it,’” he said. But, he added, “We did it and they said, ‘We love it, we love it’ because there was more turnover, and more people were parking their cars.”

More turnover of cars, he said, means more business.

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  • BFlatlander

    Screw all of you. No, it will not be used to fill pot holes. There are pockets that need lining in Ed Lee’s office.

  • frenchjr25

    This is outrageous. It’s time for a massive change at MTA. They are money hungry and they are not taking the needs or wants of citizens into account. It’s time for the administration and the Board to be replaced.

  • frenchjr25

    And if they are projecting budget shortfalls maybe they need to look at cutting some of their program and staff.

  • Howard Epstein

    The SFMTA is an avowed enemy of productive, taxpaying San Francisco residents, businesses and visitors. Their war on the automobile and people who drive them force people to go to Westlake or other San Mateo County shopping centers.

  • This is outrageous!!! Why should I have to pay anything to store my car after 6 pm. I’ll pay for goods, services, but I refuse to pay to store my metal box.

  • kinopio

    People who park their private property for free on public land are freeloaders, not productive, paying residents. Why should you be able to store your car for free? Can I set up my patio furniture and grill on the street for free too?

  • Careful Thinker

    Are you trying to claim city streets are equally suitable for cars and patio furniture?

    Are you aware that extended parking meter enforcement has been shown to hurt businesses, especially bars, restaurants, and other small, local businesses, thus reducing taxes earned in other areas while forcing small businesses out?

    If people are worried about the meter, they’re not casually spending money, they’re looking at their watches.

    Parking meters are not a revenue generation system, they are a revenue shifting system.

  • MirrorTheObvious

    Night time parking meter enforcement? “Whoopee!” thinks the SFMTA — they’ll get paid overtime for night time patrols. Despite being flush with higher than ever tax, fare, & fine revenues, costs will go up, and that has been fine with these government agencies. These bureaucrat controlled government agencies have an insatiable appetite to gobble up more & more tax, fine, toll, fare money from the public.

  • James Fabian

    I highly expect to hear a story in a few years of people in the SFMTA stealing massive amount of money for themselves. It is the only explanation of how they can take in millions of dollars a day and still claim to have a “shortfall”. The only shortfall is that we hired greedy inept morons to run our public transportation.

  • sfparkripoff

    *The State of California has a budget of $165 billion with a population of around 38 million. San Francisco only has a population of say 850,000 but look at our city budget. State spending is around $4,342 per resident, while SF’s spending is $10,470 per resident.

    Of course the SFMTA wants to charge for overnight parking! Aside from the outlandish salaries and pensions, employees of the SFMTA also get LOW COST TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZED parking under a collective bargaining agreement. Thats right taxpayers SFMTA city employees pay less than 1/3 of what ordinary taxpayers pay for city owned parking spaces. See excerpt from collective bargaining agreement between San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency and SEIU Local 1021:

    “PARKING FACILITIES
    152.The SFMTA agrees to participate, on behalf of service critical employees at the, in Union/ City discussions regarding parking facilities. For the duration of this Agreement, the monthly rate for basic employee parking at any SFMTA operated and controlled parking facilities, will not exceed rates in effect as of June 1, 2004 or the price of a MUNI Fast Pass, plus $10, whichever is higher.”

    Taxpayers pay $500.00 a month to park at City owned garages while
    SFMTA employees pay only $90.00 a month How’s that “Transit First” policy working out for you San Francisco?

  • sotwr9

    Fully support this, and charging for parking meters on Sundays. While they’re about it, they can stop the churches flouting the parking laws – promulgated for the safety and convenience of everyone – every Sunday too.

  • sfparkripoff

    Prop E (1999) created the SFMTA (San Francisco
    Municipal Transportation Agency) with more powers, more General Fund dollars and an 85% on-time performance mandate. Instead, Muni falsified on-time data and paid bonuses to its Director. Today, Muni’s current on-time compliance rate is only 60.6%.

    Prop K (2003) extended the transportation sales tax
    and prioritized projects. The Central Subway’s listed cost of $647 million escalated to $1.6 billion. The citywide Transit-Preferential Streets Program and Bus Rapid Network were never implemented.

    Prop A (2007) gave SFMTA more funding authority,
    revenue-bond-authority and even more General Fund dollars. Instead, work orders sent the new funds to other city departments.

    Prop B (2011) provided a Road Repaving Bond of $248
    million, with interest of $181 million, for a total debt of $429
    million.

    Central Subway: $1.6 billion cost includes $605 million in state/ local matching funds—taken from the rest of the Muni
    system. New cost overruns will take more state/ local dollars from the Muni system.Increased budgets have been given to SFMTA by escalating annual budgets, federal/ state/ local funds, transportation taxes, fares/ fees/ fines/ citations/ overhead and more. But SFMTA has mismanaged the money.

  • Zippster

    Boycott SF. You will be happier and your blood pressure will go down.

    Plenty of other great places to spend your money in the Bay Area.

  • Zippster

    Just like those bums who were living it up on Division St.

  • Bruce

    Bring back Sunday metering! While it was in effect it was much easier to find parking on Sundays. Now it’s once again impossible, because people leave their car in the same spot all day.

  • sffoghorn

    Yes, please do not come to San Francisco, nothing to see here, the band has left the building.

  • sffoghorn

    SPUR and the Chamber of Commerce both supported the creation of the MTA and defend it against any efforts at reform.

  • Candi Cane

    There are thousands of car break ins. Is the additional revenue going to mean that the cars will be protected? No? I didn’t think so. And no, you cannot create utopia with government. It only attracts gypsies, tramps and thieves…..

  • SvnLyrBrto

    More than that… If I’m going for dinner and I know there’s a hard limit of how long I can safely stay; not only am I going to be checking my watch rathar than casually spending more money, the restaurant I’ll goto in the first place will be a place that can reliably serve me quickly. These are likely burrito, pizza, or sandwich places that are fairly inexpensive. No fancy (and pricey) French bistro where the desert course alone can take 20-30 minutes for the individually prepared chocolate mousse.

  • Candi Cane

    Bruce…..cars are evil. Didn’t you get the memo? Ride your bike, or walk….

  • Zippster

    Don’t worry, I won’t! HAHAHA!

    (microphone drop)

  • Linear Combinations

    Been stuck up here simply because of a school. I gotta say, the Bay Area honestly sucks. There’s a weekend’s worth of new experiences and that’s about it. The constant bad vibes are such a downer and the fact SF is leading Oakland in murders this year isn’t exactly thrilling. Can’t wait to get out of CA.

  • Zippster

    The Bay Area has become a ghetto cesspool in the last 15 years. Now I have to worry about freeway shootings when I visit relatives in the East Bay.

  • Quick Chop

    There’s plenty to see in SF. Like drugged out street people taking a shet on the street, used syringes at bus stops, graffiti and tent cities. A third world paradise!

  • Randy F.

    Is that what the term Brinkmanship means ?

  • TH

    How about cutting some unnecessary costs?

  • J. G.

    Ahhh, I see… So basically we need to find out who these MTA Board members are, and make sure they are never elected to any office ever again.

  • sparky403

    They’re not elected their appointed… unfortunately…

  • J. G.

    How about we figure out where all the money goes (not the schools) before we start ramping up fees for stuff? I don’t even own a car, and I think this is bs.

  • J. G.

    EXACTLY

  • J. G.

    Great argument. Also applies to bikes. Good job.

  • J. G.

    As a native, I hope for your swift egress. Take the techbros with you, please.

  • sojourner_7

    Ergo, bicyclists who use streets/sidewalks without paying a licensing fee or use-tax are also freeloaders.

  • gb52

    That’s the typical mentality as no one wants to pay… but there’s no such thing as a free lunch or free parking. And the studies actually show the opposite. However the cost of parking should be based on demand not a fixed rate.

    Now, paying parking in the middle of the night when the businesses are closed..That’s unnecessary since there is no need for turnover in the middle of the night.

  • gb52

    Sunday metering and matching business hours of the local area makes sense and businesses need to step up to the plate and support it as it’s not going to turn away business. BUT metering 24/7 in neighborhood commercial districts where ample after-hour parking is available is unnecessary and not the intended use of parking meters.

    Also, we need to expand SFpark! Demand based pricing is the only fair way to meter spaces, and it actually helps to draw in additional customers during quieter times of the day. (Essentially it’s congestion pricing).

    OH and we need to abolish free parking for those with handicap placards. There is no reason why they should get free parking. Priority parking for those with mobility issues yes, but if they can afford a car, they can afford to pay the meter like everyone else. (And yeah, i know there are ten million exceptions, but do we want to start having a low income placard too?)

  • Derek DeHaan

    When will we as a collective come together and throw these bastards to the wolves? Probably never, we are narcissistic utopia. Screw MTA, screw that scumbag Ed Lee (who will probably finish his latest term in jail). If they don’t follow the law, why should the rest of us? Anarchy is the answer, I’m parking on the sidewalk from now on.

  • Wan Tsao

    How about ticketing all the Sunday church going double parkers. That should generate some big money.

  • Mark Stebbins

    WE WILL BOYCOTT SF OH BTW ALL MY FRIENDS WHO DO MAJOR SCALE EVENTS WONT BE DOING THEM IN SF IF THIS HAPPENS !! I PROMISE YOU THAT !!!

  • Mark Stebbins

    FUCK THE GREEDY SFMTA !!

  • sfparkripoff

    This is outrageous! in early 2012 the SFMTA issued a NEW ‘Policies
    for On-Street Parking Management” document to the public, The document outlined the rules the SFMTA uses to install and enforce parking meters. The SFMTA claimed the document contain *NO NEW POLICIES*.

    After an investigation citizens learned that the document introduced all new Policies without outreach, citizen review, or buy in from the public. The most egregious conflict of interest is that the new policy document was also written by the same company who sold parking meters to the city of San Francisco. Thats right Taxpayers! The company that holds the SFpark meter collection and servicing contract created a *NEW* citywide policy document that justifies the installation of new parking meters that THEY MAKE MONEY FROM!

    20+ Business and Neighborhood groups have demanded that SFMTA rescind the policy document and examine staff actions. In April 2014 the SFMTA Citizens Advisory Committee passed a motion urging the SFMTA board investigate the conflicts of interest and to date the SFMTA Board has done nothing. Had ENUF? City Supervisors have a hidden power. They can vote themselves authority to review all SFMTA parking decisions and stop the them from preying on the public.

  • c in sf

    The city has a $9 BILLION dollar budget….and that is why they need more revenue..

  • Picky

    How about just better management? Fix SFMTA mismanagement. Why should SF residents and visitors subsidize for SFMTA outrageous salaries and pensions?

  • sfparkripoff

    Bob the city passed through billions of dollars in property tax and rent increases to the public through Bond measures like Props A, Prop B, Prop C, Prop K and through gasoline taxes. If the citizens are not allowed to park their cars on the streets that they so dearly paid for then the city should simply refund all of the Bond money to the taxpayers.

    Parking meter rates have quadrupled since 1992. The meter rates in SF are the second highest in the land, and the fees and penalties for parking citations are the highest in the country. Also, the revenue of the parking meters and the revenue from traffic citations are not only paying for themselves, but are also subsidizing MUNI as one third (350 Million) of the SFMTAs billion dollar budget comes from fines, fees, parking meters, and the SFMTA preying on city motorists.

    The inefficiency of MUNI and the ridiculous salaries of the people that work (at SFMTA) are being subsidized by meter fees and parking tickets. The average yearly salary of a MUNI bus driver is well over $100,000, and there are over 150 office workers at SFMTA making well over $100,000 per year. So, let’s all be clear about who is paying for what.”

  • sfparkripoff

    Bob the city passed through billions of dollars in property tax and rent increases to the public through Bond measures through Props A, Prop B, Prop C, Prop K and through gasoline taxes. If the citizens are not allowed to park their cars on the streets that they paid for then the city should simply refund the money to the taxpayers.

    Parking meter rates have quadrupled since 1992. The meter rates in SF are the second highest in the land, and the fees and penalties for parking citations are the highest in the country. Also, the revenue of the parking meters and the revenue from traffic citations are not only paying for themselves, but are also subsidizing MUNI as one third (350 Million) of the SFMTAs billion dollar budget comes from fines, fees, parking meters, and the SFMTA preying on city motorists.

    The inefficiency of MUNI and the ridiculous salaries of the people that work (at SFMTA) are being subsidized by meter fees and parking tickets. The average yearly salary of a MUNI bus driver is well over $100,000, and there are over 150 office workers at SFMTA making well over $100,000 per year. So, let’s all be clear about who is paying for what.”

  • Anandakos

    Why is it that 95% of the people who post on newspaper websites are angry, resentful, ill-informed, narcissistic boobs? Really, it’s an amazingly skewed sample and seems to be true all over the nation. Very weird.

  • sfparkripoff

    Remember “Pharma Bro” who raised the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 to $750.00. The SFMTA has done the same thing to the public under the guise of “managing traffic”. In 2000 the SFMTA took over
    parking and transit with a starting budget of $350 Million. Sixteen years later the MTA has TRIPLED their budget to over a Billion dollars while the public’s wages have barely gone up.

    The weapons the SFMTA uses against city residents are same behavioral-finance strategies that Wallstreet uses to manipulate markets. Keep the public in the dark, dependent, irrational, and woefully un-informed, then present a “we care” persona to convince the public to fund the money making machine.

  • Totally agreed! So the city shouldn’t try and regulate traffic in any way whatsoever. Why not get rid of all parking fees? Let’s also get rid of parking permits while we’re at it. Also, we all know street sweeping is BS so let’s just stop that altogether so people can store their cars indefinitely. Starve the SFMTA beast & all motorists in SF will benefit.

  • sfparkripoff

    Remember “Pharma Bro” who raised the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 to $750.00. The SFMTA has done the same thing to the public under the guise of “managing traffic”. In 2000 the SFMTA took over
    parking and transit with a starting budget of $350 Million. Sixteen years later the MTA has TRIPLED their budget to over a Billion dollars while the public’s wages have barely gone up.

    The weapons the SFMTA uses against city residents are same behavioral-finance strategies that Wallstreet uses to manipulate markets. Keep the public in the dark, dependent, irrational, and woefully un-informed, then present a “we care” persona to convince the public to fund the money making machine.

  • Sooo… we should get rid of any parking management, right?

  • sfparkripoff

    Theres nothing wrong with parking management as long as Taxpayers paid the same as city employees. For instance city residents pay $500.00 a month to park at City owned garages while SFMTA employees pay only $90.00 a month. Currently, under a collective bargaining
    agreement SFMTA city employees pay less than 1/3
    of what ordinary taxpayers pay for city owned parking spaces.

    See excerpt from collective bargaining agreement between San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency and SEIU Local 1021:

    PARKING FACILITIES
    152.The SFMTA agrees to participate, on behalf of service critical employees at the, in Union/ City discussions regarding parking facilities. For the
    duration of this Agreement, the monthly rate for basic employee parking at any SFMTA operated and controlled parking facilities, will not exceed rates in effect as of June 1, 2004 or the price of a MUNI Fast
    Pass, plus $10, whichever is higher.”

    Is this what the citys “Transit First” policy is about? Bleeding taxpayers dry and funneling those proceeds back to city workers under the guise of “managing parking”.