Parking enforcement will increase in San Francisco after several months in which it was deprioritized. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Parking meter pricing, time limits and enforcement to resume Monday

SFMTA hopes to discourage drivers from crowding commercial corridors, help small businesses

Demand for on-street parking is expected to increase as the economy gradually re-opens, and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency plans to start enforcing parking meter pricing again to make sure customers have access to commercial areas, officials say.

SFMTA temporarily suspended time limits and lowered meter prices on April 1 in response to the decreased activity caused by the shelter-in-place order. All meter rates were set to 50 cents per hour, compared to the average $2.50 per hour.

It also deprioritized enforcement, sending most of the Parking Control Officers to COVID-19-related emergency work.

Starting Monday July 6, rates will tick upwards. Every meter will be priced at 50 cents below its pre-COVID-19 level.

Time limits will also be reimposed, but enforcement will lag behind by a couple weeks to give people time to re-adapt to the changes. Officers will issue warnings starting July 13 and citations beginning July 20, SFMTA said.

Officials argue that metered parking and enforcement facilitates a steady flow of visitors to commercial corridors by discouraging area residents from parking their vehicles in the spots all day, therefore allowing new waves of customers to patron local businesses.

SFMTA says it’s observed an increase in the number of people parking their cars in metered spaces for extended periods of time during shelter-in-place, and it hopes to assist small businesses as they reopen by guaranteeing prospective customers have ready access.

SFMTA fine-tunes pricing block-by-block every three months based on demand data, but the agency announced it will be making those adjustments every six weeks instead. Any changes are made in 25 cent increments to better reflect how many people are using metered spots in that zone.

Staff also said parking meters undergo a deep cleaning process when crews are out for collection or maintenance.

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