SFMTA board to take up Sunday parking meter enforcement options

The future of Sunday parking meter enforcement in San Francisco could be decided as early as Tuesday, with options to eliminate it altogether or merely reduce the likelihood for citations.

Mayor Ed Lee sparked a heated debate over Sunday meter enforcement when he said in his State of the City address in January that he wanted the practice to end.

However, only the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors can actually make that decision. The board meets Tuesday to discuss the agency’s budget proposal, including whether to scrap Sunday parking meter enforcement, which began in January 2013.

Agency officials and those who support alternatives to driving have hailed Sunday meter enforcement as a successful program based on smart transportation planning in that it decreases congestion, creates parking turnover and generates revenue.

On Wednesday, SFMTA Transportation Director Ed Reiskin said the board is faced with three options: It could eliminate the program, stop daytime enforcement and instead enforce a four-hour time limit or keep the program in place, but direct parking enforcement officers to other duties to reduce the citation issuance rate.

Since the program began, the agency has collected $3.6 million in parking meter revenue and issued 54,000 citations resulting in nearly $4 million in revenue from fines as of January. Meter violations are $74 downtown and $64 elsewhere.

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Reiskin said that in talks with the mayor, his concerns seemed to be based primarily on the high rate of citations being issued on Sundays.

If the agency redirected parking control officers to tackle other infractions in The City on Sundays, such as double parking, blocked driveways and residential permit parking rules, the chances of actually getting a citation on Sunday for failing to feed the meter would be greatly diminished, Reiskin said. That way the agency would “not lose 100 percent all the good transportation benefit and what we believe is very good policy that the program provides,” he said.

Reiskin said he is not convinced the time-limit option is a good idea.

“Frankly I think that would have pretty limited impact,” he said. “It’s difficult generally for us to enforce four-hour time limits.”

The mayor said during his address, “Let’s stop nickel-and-diming people at the meter and let’s work together to pass the transportation bond and vehicle license increase in 2014 instead.” The agency is counting on those two measures passing on the November ballot.

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