Free Sunday meter plan challenged with environmental review

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Transit advocacy groups filed an appeal today challenging a controversial vote by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Board of Directors to end paid Sunday meters last month

The appeal contests paid Sunday meters were a benefit to many, and the decision to terminate the program was made without adequate review under the California Environmental Quality Act.

"The enforcement of parking meters on Sunday in San Francisco has been doing exactly what it was designed to do," the appeal argues, "reduce traffic congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase parking availability, and increase revenues in the City and County of San Francisco."

The appeal was filed by transit groups Livable City, The San Francisco Transit Riders Union, and an individual, Mario Tanev. The appeal will now go to the Board of Supervisors, for a vote to approve or deny review under CEQA.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told the Guardian, "We'll take a look at the appeal, but it wouldn't be appropriate to comment at this time." The SFMTA had only just recieved notice of the appeal. 

Proponents of paid Sunday meters also spoke at the SFMTA board meeting, shortly before the paid meters were struck down.

"Your own studies show meters are beneficial to shoppers and businesses," Tanev said during public comment. "You could have used this money to support seniors and people with disabilities who clearly need it." 

And the need from those groups was clear, as over 200 seniors and people with disabilities came to the meeting to advocate for free Muni. The SFMTA board denied the request for free Muni for seniors and disabilities just before voting to approve a budget that included rescinding the paid Sunday meters.

The Sunday meters program brought in $11 million, more than enough money to pay for all of the proposed free Muni programs, as many at the SFMTA meeting pointed out.

Shortly after the vote, SFMTA Board of Directors Chairman Tom Nolan told the Guardian he felt pushed from all sides.

"I've been on the SFMTA board for years, and I've never felt more pressure," he said. "This is the hardest budget in the eight years I've been on the board."

At the meeting, many seniors noted the rising cost of living in San Francisco, combined with declining federal assistance and retirement funds, are forcing hard choices on seniors. Many spoke of forgoing doctor's trips because they could not afford Muni, or of forgoing food in order to afford Muni trips.

"Muni is for everybody, especially those who need it most," Nolan said. "The testimony was very heartbreaking."

Embedded below is the CEQA appeal filed against the free Sunday meter decision.

CEQA Appeal - SFMTA Sunday Meter Enforcement by FitztheReporter

Comments

their pension fund rather than pay in with real money.

But it's not like SF doesn't defer this kind of thing either.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2014 @ 7:16 am

Nice try. There is one key difference between SFMTA (which runs Muni and parking meters) and everything else you mention: It is a public agency, a.k.a. the government. Museums (most of them), bars, restaurants, gas, air travel, etc. are all run by private companies.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:26 pm

Ah, so it's fine to pay the man, as long as the man can generate a profit. Good clarification.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

Private companies cannot tell you what to do, nor tax you. The government can. which is why they must be subject to our whim.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

Private companies do tell you what to do and do charge you. You can choose to not pay AT&T/Verizon/T-Mobile, but then you have no phone. Your only "vote" is with your dollars to switch to another service. Likewise, you can choose to not pay for Muni or parking, but then you can't drive or ride the bus. Your only vote is with a vote. These seem oddly similar.

If the government gave you all the necessities in life and private corporations existed only for luxury, then you'd have somewhat of a point. But since most people gotta eat and move and have a home, you're stuck paying the grocery store, the electric company, the gas station, the bank, etc. If you can live your life without giving a dime to private companies, then you can claim they're not "the man."

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 10:36 pm

You can switch provider.

I cannot get a permit or license from an alternative to the government. If I could, I would.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2014 @ 6:07 am

Thank you for using your tax exempt non-profit status to side step lobbying laws and drive up consumer prices for people who have REAL JOBS.

Thank you for using your tax exempt non-profit status to ENGINEER PARKING SCARCITY by Preventing the construction of parking garages over the last 10 years.

here
http://web.archive.org/web/20040606152053/http://livablecity.org/campaig...

and here
http://web.archive.org/web/20030403000959/http://www.livablecity.org/new...

The obvious manipulation of the city's parking market was deliberately designed to boost revenue for both the SFMTA and the "Transportation Lobbying Groups" who are funded by them. 

http://web.archive.org/web/20021119090925/http://www.livablecity.org/cam...

Posted by sfparkripoff on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:27 pm

Let's see if we have this right, Mario and his non-profit friends who are funded by the government (our tax dollars) are suing said government over a CEQA review requirement. Was a CEQA review performed prior to instating Sunday meter enforcement? If not, how can there be a requirement to eliminate enforcement now?

Muni doesn't have a money problem. SFMTA has a spending problem. They also live in a time warp. They are planning for 2030 and we are living in 2014. When things are mess now, why should we trust them to fix the future?
Sign up to take back our streets and Restore Transportation Balance:
http://www.restorebalance14.org/

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 12:44 pm

1. Livable City and SFTRU are not funded by the government, but by their members.
2. There is no "suing" here. This is an appeal.
3. You may view this appeal as an offense towards SFMTA. But the truth is that this was not SFMTA's decision. It was the Mayor's decision. SFMTA's own analysis recommended against repeal of Sunday meters.
4. No EIR was performed prior to institution of Sunday Meters. SFMTA used a CEQA exemption permitting it to raise fees and fares to meet expenses in a budget crisis. Nobody appealed that, because it was absolutely legitimate.
5. SFMTA is trying to use the same exemption but this time to lower its fares, which it is not allowed to, and after conducting its own analysis that proves that if Muni suspends Sunday meters, congestion will increase.

Yes, it may boggle your mind that this was passed without an EIR, yet can't be repealed without one. The critical difference is that nobody could say that parking meters on Sunday would increase congestion And the data has shown that the opposite has happened. So now there is ample evidence, that removing Sunday meters will result in increased congestion and environmental impacts.

Posted by Mario Tanev on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:19 pm

irreversible then you can expect the mother of all fights against any future plans to charge for parking.

Why are you trying to make so many enemies here? And why do you want everything skewed in your favor?

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:27 pm

The introduction of Sunday meters was intended to be temporary - by your own words..."SFMTA used a CEQA exemption permitting it to raise fees and fares to meet expenses in a budget crisis". Once the crisis was over (and it is, BTW), there is no longer a "budget crisis), it's over. That should be the end of it

Posted by Richmondman on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

Mario -

The least you can do is to be honest with taxpayers.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is FUNDED with Taxpayer Money and they have collected Millions of Dollars in public funds. If you go to this link you will also find that they share an office with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

https://livablecity.org/staff-interns/

"Livable City shares an office with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and projects may involve collaboration with SFBC or partner groups such as Walk San Francisco, SPUR, Neighborhood Parks Coalition, and others. All of our internships are unpaid."

The San Francisco Transit Riders Union is fiscally sponsored by Livable City and if you make a donation "Your credit card bill will indicate Livable City, our fiscal sponsor, as the recipient"

https://livablecity.org/donate-sftru/

So its a coincidence that you share an office with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

C'mon Mario, tell the people where you are really getting your money from?

Posted by sfparkripoff on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

Livable City does not = SFMTA Livable Streets Program.

Posted by guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 4:00 pm

They are both BS.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

Ah, the "Well I don't care that I'm wrong, whatever. They all suck." response. You win!

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 10:37 pm

Wait. "Restore Transportation Balance" has a "a broad spectrum of San Franciscans" including Muni riders, but not a single listed goal has a benefit for anything other than cars?

Sorry, that's not balance. Keep in mind 66% of all trips in San Francisco are made not in a car. Balance would mean that 66% of our public streets are dedicated to something other than cars. Right now, our public streets are 90% dedicated to cars.

Just because bad urban policies of the past left us with an imbalance strongly favoring cars does not mean that reducing that marginally presents an imbalance. You can't shift you center 30 feet to one side and then scream "unfair" when it moves back 1 foot. What you have today, as status quo, is anything but transportation balance, it strongly favors private cars. If it didn't, I would be able to take my bus from the richmond downtown in 15 minutes, but instead it takes me 45 minutes.

Real transportation balance means recognizing that some people need certain forms of transportation, but when you live in a dense urban area, you have to make certain compromises. Maybe you absolutely need to drive (disability, a job that requires hauling goods or transporting people, etc.), but many others on our streets do not and may simply choose to drive. It's important that those who truly need to drive have the access and the ability to do so, and we can only get there by reducing the total number of people who drive.

Here's another way to put it: if every muni rider, every bicyclist, and every trip on foot were taken by car, we would barely have enough space to put all the cars on our streets. And without tearing down a huge percentage of our city, we never will. The fact that you can drive at all with any sort of smoothness today is because of all the people who do take transit, who do choose to bike, or who do choose to walk. Instead, you treat them like the enemy.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:34 pm

Here's another way to put it:

if every motorists, every bicyclist, and every trip on foot were taken, on public transit the city grind to a halt and stop generating tax revenue.

Fully one third of SFMTAs budget comes from parking at city owned parking garages, curbside parking meters, and the punitive fines they generate to subside public transit.

Last year the BART STRIKE cost the San Francisco Bay Area $73 million a day in lost worker productivity. How are commuters getting into the city? Private cars!

What are the lessons learned from the BART strike?

1. The city cannot count on public transit to be there when we need it.
2. "transit first" means unions first, and commuters last. 
3. If BART, CalTrain, or GG Transit fails the entire city will grind to a halt.
4. There has to be redundancy built into our transit system so that the city has a backup plan for commuters
5. If the city does not have the infastructure to support private autos then the city stops generating revenue

Posted by sfparkripoff on May. 15, 2014 @ 3:20 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 3:37 pm

As if you've ever used public transit in your entire life.

Posted by guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

I do use BART and the underground streetcars, and I will definitely use the Central Subway.

Outside of the far north part of the city, I drive.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 4:16 pm

In fact, according to the city's own study, most people in SF rely on cars to get to work and for other trips. Cycling is only 3.4% of all trips in the city:
http://www.sfmta.com/sites/default/files/SFMTA-ModeShareSurvey_FinalJULY...

Posted by Rob Anderson on May. 19, 2014 @ 11:08 am

everywhere with the exception of downtown during the day, and North Beach and ChinaTown at night.

Other than that, i can get anywhere in 20 minutes,, safely and quickly, and without having to deal with the crazies on Muni.

This city works for cars.

Posted by Guest on May. 19, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

will sunday metering return my beloved Richmond district.

8-)

I mean this, I will commit unrestrained violence towards Livable City, and its constituencies.

The reminds me ;

To the cunt lapping, scofflaw-cum-philistine riding her bike on 16th / crossing
Anza

Cunthole: The traffic laws apply to you and if you had been hit (after running the stop sign and not doing anything but "shooing" traffic out your way without actually stopping) you'd be dead or seriously injured (have health insurance that has affordable co-pays, zero deductible; I didn't think so) and YOU WOULD BE AT FAULT.

And I'd come and piss on your grave or spit on your in the hospital for being a myopic little automobile hating, low rent class-cum-contrarian cunt hair!

S T O P ( < sign ) or face the consequences

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

And people will feel less and less sympathy for cyclists who get creamed if the bike mob continue to act like they hold the moral high ground

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:28 pm

How did bikes enter this equation at all?

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

a "transit first" ideology even though they are the ultimate in private transit.

And because the bike nuts hate cars as much, if not more, than the transit nuts.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

That's your own baggage. This has nothing to do with bikes; you'll noticed the Bike Coalition isn't a sponsor of this at all. You can make all the claims you want against bikes and "bike nuts" as you call them, but I would like you to start pointing to all the "transit nuts" out there. Transit riders are the very definition of every San Franciscan, of every income class, from every neighborhood, and they make up the majority of commute trips within the city limits.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:41 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:52 pm

So your love of following the law results in you bing intent on enforcing minor traffic laws by committing felonies. Nice.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

that are prejudicial typically does not work out well for those who thought they had won.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

The transit Prop 13 seems inevitable and these "transit advocacy" and SFBC types will have no one to blame but themselves.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:15 pm

What is this ideological law, out of curiosity?

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:18 pm

This particular tactic is making driving more and more expensive.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

So even though every bit of research found Sunday parking to be beneficial to drivers, this is a car-hating maneuver. And even though I drive everywhere but work, but am willing to give up some parking so that my Muni commute can go faster, I am now lumped into "an ideology of hating cars"?

My car is incredibly useful for me in the evenings and on weekends, but so is Muni to get me to/from work.

Sounds like you're bringing the ideology of "cars at all costs!" I, for one, seek balance.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

If you want to know what I think about something then ask me, don't tell me.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:49 pm

Because that's how research is performed. Your anecdotal opinions.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 3:08 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 3:33 pm

I can't understand how this is about "car haters."

1. This was a net positive for parking availability. It reduced congestion and increased parking space availability. I've been driving here for 10 years and I actually felt for the first time I could find parking spaces on 24th Street. Imagine!

2. A lot of people here are constantly bitching about the SFMTA and their cronies, and how all these nonprofits just do lip service to the SFMTA. But here you have groups actually filing an appeal *against* the SFMTA. The enemy of your enemy is a friend?

3. I'm tired of this rhetoric that "car drivers" vs "bikers" vs "transit riders" vs "pedestrians". I absolutely drive a car, but I also commute on Muni and of course I walk on our streets too. I would love to have better public space and streets, I would love to reduce congestion, and I would love to support local business. Isn't this exactly what Sunday Meters helped with??

4. Parking should not be free, just as Muni should not be free. At $4-6/sqft/mo, that parking space is worth almost $10k/year. Providing that for free (or extremely low cost) is a major subsidy, just like public transit. I don't see why we should get a free pass just because we drive, while someone taking that trip on a bus still has to pay $4 round trip on Sundays, just like every other day of the week. Is the barrier of entry "I can afford a car, so I shouldn't have to pay for public services?" I don't understand the logic.

Mario, I don't know if I agree with the appeal process here, but I do think the SFMTA misstepped by making Sunday Meters free again.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:50 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:12 pm

Oh, I get it. You've already made up your mind and don't care about facts or a discussion about sunday meters at all. Carry on, divide the city.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

Including those pesky small business owners who want the turnover that Sunday meter enforcement ensures?

Posted by guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 4:05 pm

park outside my own home?

It's got nothing to do with businesses. They don;t have a vote. It's about ordinary people and their vehicles

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 4:13 pm

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