San Francisco’s first day of Sunday meter ticketing nets nearly 1,800 citations

S.F. Examiner File PhotoOf the 2

S.F. Examiner File PhotoOf the 2

Despite a three-week amnesty period, nearly 1,800 motorists were slapped with parking tickets for meter violations Sunday.

The City’s new policy of enforcing parking meters on Sundays technically began Jan. 6, but drivers were given a reprieve from ticketing for the first three weekends. Last Sunday marked the first time that enforcers were out patrolling city streets, and the results showed they were pretty busy: 1,796 citations were issued to motorists.

Along with tickets for street-sweeping violations and other infractions, a total of 2,575 citations were issued Sunday. While that pales in comparison to the average handed out during the week, it was significantly more than a normal Saturday, according to data from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which sets parking policies in The City.

The agency issues about 2,001 total citations on a typical Saturday. That’s 28 percent less than the citation haul from Sunday, even though meters are only enforced between noon and 6 p.m. — three fewer hours than on Saturdays.

The transit agency said the new enforcement plan reduces traffic congestion and updates antiquated parking policies, which were set in the 1950s when most businesses were closed Sundays. By enforcing meters, more parking turnover is theoretically created in front of businesses.

However, merchants have been skeptical about the plan. Jessie Fink, president of the Clement Street Merchants Association, noted that motorists can stay for four hours at meters on Sundays, which is much longer than normal.

“This whole turnover thing isn’t going to happen,” Fink said. “They’re doing this to raise money for The City, which is great for them. Just don’t tell me this is supposed to help businesses.”

Approved in April, Sunday meter enforcement is projected to generate $1.9 million annually for the transit agency. Overstaying meters in the downtown area results in a $72 citation. In other parts of The City, it’s $62.

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