SFMTA repeals paid Sunday parking meters, loses $9.8 million

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Over around 100 people line up outside room 400 at City Hall to speak to the SFMTA board of directors.
Photo by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez


San Francisco transit riders won some and lost some today [Tue/15] at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Board of Directors meeting. The board voted to repeal Sunday parking meters, effective July 1. It also asked SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin to add 18-year-olds into the Free Muni for Youth program, which will take effect Nov. 1. 

But a proposal for free Muni for seniors and the disabled hit a snag, and the board decided it would evaluate their budget in January 2015 to identify available funding for the program. Until then, the program is in limbo.

"I think free Muni for seniors and people with disabilities is a great need, it’s a moral imperative," said Tom Nolan, chairman of the SFMTA board. "It’s not a question if these things will happen, it’s when." 

Nearly 100 of advocates for the Free Muni For Youth and Free Muni for Seniors and the Disabled programs packed into the small board chamber at City Hall Tuesday. Some came in wheelchairs, others walked in carefully with canes, and small children bounded into the chamber playfully. At least 100 more people waited outside the doors of the chamber in line to speak. All came with a purpose: to tell the SFMTA that free Muni would help them live in a city increasingly inhospitable to poor and middle class San Franciscans. 

"To some people $23 may not be much, but to (seniors), every penny counts," Pei Juan Zheng, vice president of the Community Tenants Association told the board at public comment. She spoke in Cantonese, and was later translated by a woman at her side. "I know some senior couples who can only afford one Muni pass and share it, taking turns to go on doctor’s visits."

Many public commenters reminded the board that free Muni for the disabled and seniors could be paid for by paid Sunday parking meters, which the SFMTA ultimately decided to repeal. The SFMTA's budget proposal estimates free Muni for seniors and the disabled to cost about $4 million annually. Conversely, repealing paid parking meters is estimated to cost Muni $9.8 million annually. SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said the loss could actually be as high as $11 million.

The reason for repealing the paid parking meters was made clear as day: Mayor Ed Lee and the SFMTA board are tip-toeing around car-driving voters, afraid several ballot measures to fund Muni this November will tank. To that end, they're willing to appease drivers however they can.

"It’s clear we don’t have support for (paid Sunday meters)," board member Joel Ramos said after the vote. "We have failed, frankly, to convince the great majority of people. Read [San Francisco Chronicle columnists] Matier & Ross and see the sentiment out there, it's a negative one."

For his part, Mayor Lee was pleased the board enacted his repeal proposal. His statement to the press released shortly after the vote laid clear his need to appease car-driving voters.

"Repealing Sunday parking meters is about making San Francisco a little more affordable for our families and residents on Sunday, plain and simple," he wrote in his statement. "Instead of nickel and diming our residents at the meter on Sunday, let’s work together to support comprehensive transportation funding measures this year and in the future that will invest in our City’s transportation system for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and drivers alike.”

Just two weeks ago, Reiskin suggested reducing enforcement of Sunday meters, perhaps in efforts to find a compromise. He has repeatedly publicly stated his support for paid Sunday meters. Apparently he was outnumbered.

There are silver linings. In January the SFMTA board will mull a 7 percent transit service increase for 2016, additional funding for cleaning Muni's fleet, and providing free Muni for low and moderate income seniors and disabled. The wait is due to the uncertainty of June contract negotiations with Muni workers, as well as the impending Muni funding ballot measures in November. If all goes well, the board said, funding may be identified for all of those projects. Until then, the loss of paid Sunday meters means Muni is out $9.8 million a year out of its $677 million budget.

The repeal of the paid markers doesn't just hit transit riders though. Local businesses may also lose out. 

Back in our story "Muni Fare Shakedown [2/25]," Jim Lazarus, senior vice president of public policy at the business-friendly San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, told us he is a supporter of the paid Sunday meters. "You can drive into merchant areas now where you couldn't before," he told us.

Near the end of public comment, Cynthia Crews of the League of Pissed Off Voters put the board's vote into context.

"The MTA’s purpose is to manage the effing streets, not do the mayor’s bidding," she told the board. "This is a $9 million giveaway no one is asking for but Ed Lee."

"This," she said, "sucks."

Tweets from the SFMTA board of directors meeting

Comments

Sorry, Joe. Working class San Franciscans need a break.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 6:14 pm

Sunday parking should be free.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 6:49 pm

Sundays are virtually no different than other days. Most retail stores are open. Blue laws are a distant memory. Downtown used to be quiet on Sundays and even Saturdays east of 3rd Street along Market. No more. If you park, you pay. Period. No subsidizing of single cars, when MUNI buses, which can serve 50 people at a time, are struggling to stick to schedules and frequency. And let's meter under the Central Freeway (11th St./Duboce). If you are disabled and have a legitimate placard you have free parking.
Comments to CW Nevius' column should not be influencing the decisions of SFMTA members.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 1:52 pm

You only care about what you think?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

Greg throws the poor under the bus so he can get his subsidized parking. I thought you had principles Greg.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

False dilemma... and all kinds of other logical horning of sense.

Whats odd is that you are upset about "subsidized parking" because you want to use that money to subsidize something else.

Such a crazy way to look at the world.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 9:01 pm

Yeah I want poor people to be able to ride the bus. For about a thousand reasons.

You are a sociopathic fool who only cares about himself. What a crazy way to look at the world you have, so sad.

Posted by guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 11:33 pm

It's often poor people who have to drive because they cannot afford to live centrally.

A hedge fund manager taking the bus in from the Marina doesn't need a subsidy.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 5:58 am

Do I have to prove this to you? Anyone who thinks for a minute knows that is it obvious that bus riders are more likely to be poor than car drivers.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Apr. 19, 2014 @ 12:59 am

service has never, EVER shown to exist.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

You'll never see a journalist in SF draw a chart of Muni spending versus on-time performance over the last 15 years. Oh my, that would tell the story.

It still comes down to City employee greed.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 9:18 pm

I do have principles. One of them is "let the punishment fit the crime." The punishment for parking infractions has gotten way out of proportion to the "crime." That's because the city looks at parking tickets not as a corrective or deterrent measure but as a source of revenue. Poor people drive too, and few of them can afford a parking ticket. The people of San Francisco have become the MTA's personal ATM, and this is just wrong.

We need to balance the needs of transit riders, bike riders, pedestrians and yes, drivers. Balance is the key word here, not one-sided extremism that favors one group to the exclusion of all others.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 7:47 am

"Transit First does not mean Transit Only"

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 9:34 am

@Guest - That line is nothing to be proud of. Just blithering blather.

Posted by Jym Dyer on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 7:24 am

envisaged zero private vehicles and nor did it imply a "war on cars".

In fact, technically, bikes are not transit, but the bike lobby jumped all over it and really made it a "bikes first; cars last" thing and not about transit at all.

What you see here is the inevitable backlash from ordinary people.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 7:42 am

In fact, one particular commenter is the only one who actually exists; others are mere simulcra whose false presence helps highlight the one commenter's wisdom. That commenter, like j-------h, needs no name and can speak of the "I" or and "my" in a way which carries the ultimate meaning and import.

Posted by blip in sail cull on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

Democracy rewards the dumb majority.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

So Greg is the infamous "sfparkripoff?" If only balance was what you wanted, but I'm afraid it's not. You want private auto owners to take precedence over all other modes.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 10:34 am

across various websites to further an assortment of agendas.

He was caught out here a couple of weeks ago claiming to be on first name terms with the supervisors, and it is to be presumed that he uses "Greg" and these other noms de plume so that he can rant and vent his more extreme views without it being tied back to his alleged real-life serious persona.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 11:31 am

How would you know that? Can you prove it?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 12:31 pm

with various contributors, and Greg ducked it when we got close to the truth after initially defending himself.

Look through the old threads if you are that interested

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

It was much ado about nothing. I didn't "duck." I lost interest. That happens a lot when trolls insist on the last word. Usually they get it, because I want serious discussion, not endless back-and-forth with trolls.

For instance... now. Take it away, trolls. Last word is all yours!

Oh... btw... who the hell is "sfparkripoff?" I've been here a while and I've yet to see anyone post under that handle.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 9:14 pm

You simultaneously claimed to be BOTH on first-name terms with the Supes AND to be an "ordinary guy".

It's fair to call you out on that.

And there are no name-recognized politico's or activists named Greg, so it is clear that your real name is not "Greg". But rather that is a name you use to express extremist views your real persona does not want to be associated with.

Same with this SFpark name, which is used on Streetsblog

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 6:04 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 6:06 am

The city must not see parking tickets as corrective, because they keep giving them out and the drivers never learn....

Posted by murphtsahoe on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 12:24 pm

overall motoring costs.

I get about one ticket a year which is cheap to be able to park more freely and flexibly.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 6:05 am

How is parking subsidized? The motorists of this city have been gouged for years and are paying for every project related to transportation imaginable and some projects that have nothing to do with transportation. When we waste tax payer money to paint the entire lane of the streets "red" "green" just for the bicyclists, why are we not asking the bicyclists to pay for it? Why are we not requiring the bicyclists to register their bikes for a fee
when just about all other cities do? Owning a car is not evil and should not be made to be scape goats. With gas prices sky high, how much more can the motorists absorb?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 30, 2014 @ 3:00 pm

Yeah, glad they made Muni free on Sundays too. All working class San Franciscans, especially those who cannot afford a car, need a break.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 1:19 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

I think it should be free every day. And I support a citywide VLF increase, because that's a form of progressive taxation if it's based on the value of the car.

But the parking gestapo has gotten out of hand in this city. I didn't always think this way. People were telling me that when I first moved here, and I always thought they were exaggerating. But now it's just a shakedown. The more we pull back from that, the better. We need to make it a people-friendly city. And yes, MUNI is underfunded and too expensive, but two wrongs don't make a right.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 9:23 pm

to cover its costs, the fare should be $5 or more.

The pensions and healthcare black holes are a big part of that.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 7:01 am

@Greg - How about the working-class San Franciscans who take the bus? Whoopsy.

Posted by Jym Dyer on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 6:39 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 7:02 am

Two wrongs don't make a right. I'd be happy to make MUNI free, but not on the backs of other working class people. We need to create some sort of progressive taxation scheme. I'd be open to a citywide VLF, if it was progressive based on the value of the car.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 7:31 am

and so would not pay the tax.

Muni has to have a fare if only to keep the system from being even more over-crowded. And although the farebox recovery rate is dismally low, maybe only 25% or so, at least it ensures that everyone pays something.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 7:44 am

Do you have any idea how much an average person pays in taxes and fees in this City? If you own a house, the property tax is one of the highest in the State. If you rent, a part of that tax is transferred to you. There is tax and fees on all other services such as garbage collection, water and sewage, etc. There is an employees wage tax, the meters charge 25cents for 5 minutes. God help you if you own a business as to the amount of taxes you will have to pay. There is no such thing as a free lunch, the MUNI has been a drain ever since its union became so powerful that no politicians are willing to say no to their demands. How will any new tax be able to keep up with the continuous escalation of its cost of operation?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 30, 2014 @ 3:13 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 30, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

SF's self appointed spokesperson for the entitled complains.

"

"The MTA’s purpose is to manage the effing streets, not do the mayor’s bidding," she told the board. "This is a $9 million giveaway no one is asking for but Ed Lee. Remember, anyone who can afford to own a car is getting a free ride thanks to all of us on a bus."

"This," she said, "sucks."

"

Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 6:23 pm

Yes all of those low-income youth, seniors, and disabled who can't afford cars to park for free on Sunday are soo entitled.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 6:47 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

Stop puffing the ganja and you could figure it out I bet.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 11:34 pm

There needs to be a fee or tax so that I can afford one.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 6:31 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 6:51 pm

But the non-profits figure they can legally mug people as long as they can scare the politicians

Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 7:10 pm

Tony Robles is absolutely right. San Francisco is a very expensive city and our seniors need our help. We do need to make Muni free for seniors and disabled people. I also have a compromise to fund it. First, we keep Sunday meters. We then redirect the money from services for illegal aliens. If that isn't enough, then we can take the rest from the 250 million we spend on the homeless each year. Drivers keep free meters and free Muni for seniors and disabled gets funded. Win-win.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

Now we're getting somewhere. A counterproposal. Not 'if'. We do redirect money from services for illegal aliens and for the homeless in order to make a small dent in the Muni maintenance deficit, which is purportedly in the billions. After all what's the point of free muni if you can't get the seniors, disabled people, and poor youth to whereever it is they're going -- union square to hang out, i guess -- on time.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 7:13 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 7:30 am

from the ever OPPRESSIVE greed of City employees.

Bury Sunday meters forever! Our one day of peace is back!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 9:03 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2014 @ 9:28 pm

'"It’s clear we don’t have support for (paid Sunday meters)," board member Joel Ramos said after the vote. "We have failed, frankly, to convince the great majority of people. Read Matier & Ross and see the sentiment out there, it's a negative one."'

And Ramos is supposed to be one of the "good" appointees. Not one more dime to this agency until the Board selection process is opened to to diverse appointing authorities or elections so that we can get rid of scoundrels like Ramos and Brinkman who look to C.W. Nevius for transit policy guidance.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 5:34 am

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