San Francisco businesses and Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin are asking the Municipal Transportation Agency to delay plans to extend parking meter hours to weeknights and Sundays starting July 1 in some neighborhoods.
Peskin introduced a resolution urging the SFMTA to stop any further implementation of the expanded parking meter enforcement plan until an independent economic report is complete and reviewed by the Board of Supervisors and the transit agency. He said he wanted to know if the cost of implementing the plan will cost more than the revenue generated from the plan, adding:
“This proposal seems to go against everything that we have been working on to make San Francisco work better during this critical economic recovery period. Now is not the time to literally nickel-and-quarter our small businesses that are still struggling to recover from the pandemic.”
SFMTA spokesperson Stephen Chun said in a statement in response to the resolution:
“We appreciate Board President Peskin for his thoughtfulness and look forward to working with him on this.”
Peskin’s resolution will be voted on at at Tuesday’s board meeting.
In response to the SFMTA plan to extend parking meter hours, the Mayor’s Office sent SFBay the following statement:
“As part of last year’s budget, SFMTA balanced their budget by including funding assumed from extending the hours of parking meters. This will allow them to continue key operational priorities to provide service to the nearly 400,000 people who rely on this service every day. The SFMTA has come up with a proposal to extend parking meter hours and is now conducting outreach and engaging with stakeholders on this proposal.”
Officials Tuesday at the SFMTA Board of Directors meeting unveiled plans to extend parking meter hours until 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
The SFMTA said they will implement the parking meter changes through six phases over a period of 18 months with the first phase beginning on July 1
Fisherman’s Wharf and Dogpatch are part of the first phase that will see the parking meter hour extensions. The second phase, which includes North Beach, Union Square and the Marina, will start in September, the SFMTA said. The SFMTA has posted a schedule online shwowing when parking meter hour changes will occur in neighborhoods.
SFMTA Chief of Staff Viktoriya Wise said the schedule is in coordination with the transit agency installing new parking meters citywide.
Extending parking meter hours will generate the SFMTA approximately $18.5 million annually. The transit agency is facing a critical time as they forecast a projected $130 million budget deficit in the 2025 fiscal year and larger projected deficits in future years.
SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin had previously said that the $130 million deficit is equivalent to cutting 20 Muni lines.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May budget revision includes no relief funding for transit agencies, though the budget did recognize that post Covid-19 ridership trends have caused operating challenges for transit agencies statewide as federal relief funding runs out. Newsom’s office welcomed discussion with the state legislature on potential short-term and long-term solutions.
There has been swift reaction to the parking meter hour changes, including from Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, who said in a statement:
“We understand the significant financial challenges that SFMTA is facing and strongly support the need for a robust public transportation system in the city, but we need to look holistically at these issues as a part of the larger budget discussion happening at every level of government.”
Thomas said she supported Peskin’s resolution and added that the SFMTA’s plan is “short-sighted.”
This is not the first time the SFMTA tested out the waters in extending parking meter hours. In 2013, the agency implemented Sunday parking meter hours as part of its approved two-year budget in 2012, but was shelved in 2014.
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. He covers transportation and City Hall. He has spent over a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Jerold is a native in the city and frequently takes public transit everywhere he goes. Email tips to [email protected]