If you’re the kind of driver who likes struggling to find a parking place, then you’re the kind of driver who San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is trying to appeal to with his campaign against parking-meter enforcement on Sunday afternoons.
As mayoral appointees, Boardmembers of the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA), which governs the city’s transportation system under the mandate “transit first”, were forced to approve the proposal. The mayor, who expresses a concern not to aggravate drivers when he will need their votes for major funding issues this November, proposed dropping enforcement of parking meters on Sunday afternoons.
The change was opposed by a wide spectrum of the community, ranging from the Chamber of Commerce and the MTA Citizens Advisory Council to the Sierra Club. Muni can not afford to lose the $9 million a year in meter revenues and fines. The obvious alternative, raising fares faster than the cost of living, would be disastrous for lower-income residents, the ones who depend most on transit services.
Drivers, too, benefit from healthy transit attracting people who would otherwise drive. Forcing even a small proportion of Muni riders into cars would cause disproportionate increases in congestion on streets that are already close to their limits for comfortable vehicle movement.
Further, the meters have helped assure a turnover of parking spaces. Now drivers will be forced to resume cruising around looking for empty spaces. Businesses will lose revenue when drivers give up coming.
So who are the losers? Transit riders, drivers, local businesses, and the environment? Are there winners? That’s hard to say.
Write to Mayor Ed Lee at:
City Hall, #200
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
and the MTA Board of Directors at:
Attn: Roberta Boomer
One South Van Ness Ave., Seventh Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
Encourage them to reinstate charging for meters all day on Sundays.
Howard Strassner, Executive Committee, Sierra Club San Francisco Group