Proposal to charge for lost parking put on hold

Amid opposition, a proposal to start charging a fee to festivals, film productions and other events for every parking metered space they put out of use was shelved Thursday.

Under the proposal, nonprofit-run events would be charged $5 per parking metered space per day while for-profits would be charged $9 the first year increasing to $22.50 in the third year.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors was expected to vote on the plan Tuesday, but SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said the proposal was withdrawn from consideration Thursday.

“We’re planning to do further review,” he said. “There’s a need to take a step back to examine the policy before moving forward. We’ll bring it back to the board at some point.”

The decision came the same day the Film Commission unanimously approved sending a letter requesting that the agency kill the
proposal.

Critics said the fees would cost jobs, reduce filming activity and threaten the existence of the colorful events that boost San Francisco’s popularity, fueling its No. 1 industry, tourism.

The fee is the latest revenue-generating proposal from the cash-strapped agency. Most recently, the agency revoked free parking for its own employees and other city workers. 

According to the memo sent by the Film Commission, “The financial benefits generated by film production and other special events are an important part of San Francisco. Adoption of the proposed fees would harm San Francisco’s ability to attract these events to our
fine City.”

City officials have acknowledged the increasing cost to put on an event in San Francisco.

Last year, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution supporting one festival charging an admission fee to be able to pay for the increasing city fees, such as Fire Department permits.

Demetri Moshoyannis, executive director of the Folsom Street Fair, said he is already paying $10,000 for police and $12,000 for trash pickup. The fee hikes are making it “more and more difficult for cultural events like ours to exist,” Moshoyannis said.

A recent memo about the proposal said there were 24,822 parking meters in San Francisco that can generate up to $557,870 per day. The most the agency could lose per space is $22.50 in a day.

Pay to not park

A proposal, which is currently on hold, would force events that take up metered spots on city streets to compensate for the lost revenue.

$5 Cost per parking metered space per day for nonprofits
$9 Cost per parking metered space per day for for-profit events in the first year of the program
$22.50 Cost per parking metered
space per day for for-profit events in the third year of the program
24,822 Parking meters in San Francisco
$3 Cost per hour to park at a meter downtown
$2 Cost per hour to park at meters outside of downtown

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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