Remember the halcyon days of free Sunday parking in San Francisco when the government just for once could get off your back and give you a break already?
Well, come Sunday, those happy days are here again. At the very bottom of the SFTMA traffic and transit advisory for the July 4th weekend:
“Starting Sunday, on-street meters and off-street parking meters will not require payment on Sundays, except meters on SF Port property.”
The agency says exceptions will exist in areas where meters already operated on Sundays when the shift to paid parking went into effect, in January 2013. Aside from port property, these include meters at Fisherman’s Wharf and these other off-street metered lots, as listed by SF Weekly:
- 8th Avenue at Clement Street
- 9th Avenue at Clement Street
- Geary Boulevard at 21st Avenue
- 18th Avenue at Geary Boulevard
- 8th Avenue at Irving Street
- Pierce Street Garage (between Lombard and Chestnut streets)
- Felton Street at San Bruno Avenue
And, as the Weekly reports, “parking meters around AT&T Park will continue to operate on Sundays during special events and Giants game. So on Sunday, July 13, you will have to plug the meter for that Giants home game.”
While the return to free parking may be popular with many drivers, not everyone was on board. As KQED’s Bryan Goebel reported in April, the SFMTA will lose an estimated $9.6 million annually.
“Everyone from former Mayor Willie Brown to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce to transit advocates agrees that the city should keep the meters functioning on Sundays because they create more parking turnover in commercial neighborhoods and bring in much-needed revenue for Muni,” Goebel wrote.
Lee said in his State of the City address in January that there had been a torrent of complaints about having to feed Sunday meters.
“Nobody likes it. Not parents. Not our neighborhood small businesses. Not me,” Lee said. “Let’s stop nickel-and-diming people at the meter and work together to pass a transportation bond and vehicle license fee increase in 2014 instead.”
But, as Goebel reported, a post by SF Streetsblog in March described a distinct lack of documented public backlash against the policy:
(Records) furnished to Streetsblog by Ed Rosenblatt, a hardware store merchant who supports Sunday meters and filed the request, indicate that no one emailed the mayor’s office about Sunday meters between March, 2013, and this January, when Lee announced his push to repeal them. What’s more, of the January emails, 17 were in support of keeping the parking meters, and only seven were against it. The policy is also supported by many merchants and the Chamber of Commerce since it allows more driving customers to use the limited supply of parking.
The purported Sunday meter revolt was also not evident in calls and emails to 311. According to the SFMTA’s December report [PDF] on Sunday meters, 311 received just 41 calls and emails about the policy, with 23 of those in support of meters.
Of course, calls and emails aren’t the only ways to complain to City Hall. But if there’s really a popular revolt driving Lee’s sudden push to undo smart policy, you would expect to find some trace of it in the easiest ways to lodge a complaint with the city. And there is no such trace.
The post did note, however, that church leaders strongly backed ditching paid parking on Sundays.
In any event, the debate is all over now. The SFMTA voted in April to go back to the old ways.
So save that lose change for doing laundry.