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

A street might be pedestrianized and still be a street. But a road is for moving vehicular traffic around.

And they key thing there is that roads are fully paid for even if nobody uses them. It's paid from general taxation, vehicle fess and so on. So there is no marginal cost to me parking on a road.

you seem to just want to grab revenue wherever you think you can, even when the resource being consumed is already fully paid for.

Raods exists for the purpose of transporting vehicles and even people who do not own a car benefit from roads, so we all pay for them.

I see no argument for extra charging on top except in very specific cases such as downtown, or on purpose-built lots.

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

But you live in a city: we have streets, not roads. There are sidewalks, there are crosswalks, there are plazas, there are outdoor seating areas, there are gathering spaces in front of bars. It's not called Haight Road, it's called Haight Street.

Roads are not fully paid for. The cost of roads consistently come in substantially higher than the vehicle fees that are paid out, hence the consistent failing infrastructure around the country.

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

Wanna change your answer? Wanna call a friend?

The roads are obviously paid for, because they are there

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

Who pays for their maintenance? That is an ongoing expense. Maybe you're one of the very few people who think our roads don't need maintenance.

How about all the other useful uses of those parking spots, like wider sidewalks or even wider buildings to house more people? There is a cost to anything, nothing is free.

Posted by Mario Tanev on May. 15, 2014 @ 4:47 pm

cost of maintaining the road.

One of the main things those parking fees and fines get used for is paying the 400 DPT staff whose job it is to create parking revenue.

DPT is a profit center for the city.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2014 @ 5:02 am

Roadways are the simplest of capital infrastructure, the most predictable and the easiest to maintain. The City has not made maintenance of its capital stock a priority. Whenever the City buys a new capital system, there needs to be a funded plan in place to maintain it. The MTA is about to drop another $1b on replacing the fleet and does not have the operations resources available to maintain them throughout their lifetime.

Putting street maintenance on the credit card is like putting crack on the credit card.

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

The voters do not want to pay ever higher taxes for public services. They'd rather make their own private arrangements.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2014 @ 6:10 am

Who are you? "The roads are obviously paid for, because they are there" That is the weirdest logic I've ever heard. Can I stop paying mortgage on my apartment too? It's obviously paid for, because it's there.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 10:26 pm

Stop paying the mortgage and you get kicked out.

Ergo, it's paid for.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2014 @ 5:01 am

Better consult with David Campos on that. He thinks free Muni is a civil right.

Posted by Richmondman on May. 15, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

about 20%, or one of the lowest rates in the world.

If Muni covered all its costs, fares would be $10 a ride, which shows you just how much the costs are out of control.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

That doesn't mean it's free, even though I do agree that Muni costs are vastly higher than other systems.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 10:29 pm

Parking fees raise over $141Million for the city. Parking Tickets add another $30 Million to the city. Vehicle license fees add in another $26Million. That doesn't include the taxes charged by the city for every private parking space in the city.

And the roads are free for private vehicles? surprise, surprise surprise....

Posted by Richmondman on May. 15, 2014 @ 3:44 pm

for regardless of whether anyone uses them or parks on them, or not.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 3:56 pm

That's akin to saying that every additional Muni rider shouldn't pay. After all, it's existing capacity, Muni would have run the same number of vehicles regardless. But, that's false because that rider is causing the bus to be overcrowded, and Muni is not adding service because it isn't receiving additional revenue.

Likewise "free" parking incurs costs on others - making it harder for others to park, causing congestion, causing collisions, delaying Muni. Just because something exists, it doesn't make it ok to use for free.

Posted by Mario Tanev on May. 15, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

there would be no wear and tear, and no costs. That isn't true for Muni.

Anyway, the fact that SF makes a profit from parking proves that they collect more than their costs

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 5:11 pm

That's actually not true, and why the city still needed bonds to pay for repaving of streets. It's ridiculous, I agree, and there's a ton of waste here, but it's not an issue of profit.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 10:32 pm

go to then? That is far more than it costs to fix a few potholes.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2014 @ 5:03 am

Awesome to see neoliberal market solutions proposed by the livable city crowd!

Posted by marcos on May. 16, 2014 @ 7:40 am

EIRs have an advantage over pilots: mitigation.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 9:17 am

Hey there San Francisco Taxpayers -

Where is Livable City group getting their money from and why they are using their tax exempt non-profit status to file frivolous lawsuits AGAINST the taxpayers who fund their organizations. Is this the reason why these tax exempt non-profits exist:

Have a look at how the "transit Advocates" have been using their tax exempt non profit status:

1. To prevent the construction of parking garages around the city

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

2. They have continually lobbied City Hall to add MORE PARKING METERS, and to RAISE PARKING PRICES in city owned garages.

If you look into the history of this organization you will find that they have been funded with Taxpayer dollars. The bike coalition and livable city started getting their funding from the city budget back in 1999.

http://web.archive.org/web/20021008064353/http://www.sfbike.org/campaign...

"In 1999, the SFBC celebrated a major victory when the Mayor announced a $2.3 million dollar traffic calming program called "Livable Streets." His 2001-2002 budget renewed the program." Where is Livable City group getting their money from and why they are using their tax exempt non-profit status to file frivolous lawsuits AGAINST the taxpayers who fund their organizations. Is this the reason why City Hall funds these organizations with OUR TAX DOLLARS?

Posted by sfparkripoff on May. 15, 2014 @ 9:22 am

trivial lawsuit be deducted from their budget next year.

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

is a subdivision of the SFMTA (then DPT), it has nothing to do organizationally with Livable City or SFBC.

Reading comprehension - dig it.

Posted by Odm2 on May. 15, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

Anything with the word "livable" in it is probably not advocating any world that I would want to live in.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

...because you like things to be un-livable?

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:13 pm

subjective. My idea of a livable city is very different from yours, so why do you get to hijack the phrase?

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:27 pm

How would you define livability then for yourself? Does it involve a few hundred of your neighbors going to the ER for traffic accidents?

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

of ideologues trying to make my life difficult

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 3:32 pm

Ah, okay, so your definition of livability is all about yourself, nobody else. Have you considered a ranch in Arizona?

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 10:32 pm

You know, that thing in the constitution

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2014 @ 5:04 am

It means sucking down subsidy from others and refusing to contribute anymore yourself.

Posted by marcos on May. 16, 2014 @ 5:27 am

So where is my freedom not to do that?

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2014 @ 6:08 am

http://web.archive.org/web/20030415163032/http://www.livablecity.org/cam...

TLC serves as fiscal sponsor of the city's transportation reform groups. TLC ensures that all donations made through TLC conform to IRS requirements for

501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, freeing up those organizations to use their other funds for unlimited lobbying and supporting and opposing political candidates. TLC also provides technical assistance to help the city's transportation reform groups be as effective as they can be. Please support the following organizations:

Walk SF

San Francisco Bicycle Coaltion

Rescue MUNI

Housing Action Coalition

City Car Share

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

Fiscal sponsors typically take a cut off of all receipts that they handle on behalf of the nonprofits they fiscally sponsor. That means the developers at the HAC are subsidizing the operations of the gaggle of "livability" nonprofits.

Posted by marcos on May. 16, 2014 @ 5:38 am

How will the Dark Money Disclosure Bill SB 27 impact the future of non-profits who have been hiring lobbyists in Sacramento? How many conflicts of interests will be exposed?
They should pack up their tents and leave quietly with their winnings and leave us to fix the mess they made.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:05 pm

Thank you for challenging the leaders and the powers-that-be of our wonderfully "transit first" city. The MTA and the City of SF is failing us and failing our planet, by encouraging us to drive and by neglecting and under-funding Muni. Our climate is changing, the earth is warming. Thank you for your courage to challenge the city for their environmentally unsound decision to eliminate Sunday meters. Thank you for advocating for our planet and for a more livable San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 10:22 am

drive around the town I have been driving around for decades

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 10:47 am

In what world does this appeal tell you can't drive around the town? Sunday meters made parking easier for drivers, had a positive impact on our local small business economy, had a positive impact on transit, and brought in revenue to SFMTA that could be used for all the projects they continually face that are unfunded.

As a car driver, sunday metering made Sunday parking EASIER for me.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

just because the man cannot run a half decent transit system

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 1:49 pm

It's symbolic, is what you're saying.

I agree, I think Muni should be free on Sundays. Just one day of relief.

Also, museums. One day a week, free museums.

Also bars. One day a week, free beer, just one day to stop paying the corporate man.

And restaurants. Just one day where we don't have to stress about getting a good meal out.

And gas! And air travel! And sales tax! And energy! Oh joy, I love this plan!

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

for, so the default is that you do not have to pay to park there.

Everything else you cited is different.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:14 pm

Yes, I'll go ahead and tell DPW and PUC and the MTA they can stop doing work on our roads then. They're already done and fully paid for! Great news!

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:36 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

No,

The city had to issue bonds to pay for maintenance of the road. So not paid for by a long shot.

Posted by Mario Tanev on May. 15, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

funds to do things other than maintain the roads

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 5:12 pm

What is the fiscal justification for financing routine maintenance via debt?

Posted by marcos on May. 16, 2014 @ 5:41 am

in the city's massive unfunded pension liability.

The politicians who make these decisions want to put off the day of reckoning until after they leave office.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2014 @ 6:12 am

What pension bonds?

Posted by marcos on May. 16, 2014 @ 6:55 am

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

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