SFMTA chief hopes to calm the parking meter furor at supervisorial hearing


San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency director Ed Reiskin faces a tough challenge tomorrow (Thu/2) at the Board of Supervisors Neighborhood Services and Safety hearing that Sup. Mark Farrell has called on expanding parking meters into new neighborhoods, where Reiskin is expected to face a hornet's nest of SFMTA critics stirred up by the loss of free street parking and perceptions that the agency is mismanaging public spaces and transit. [UPDATE: Read what happened here.]

Reiskin needs to quell some of the anger that is erupting in the northeast Mission District, Potrero Hill, and other areas slated for new meters enough to prevent increased supervisorial intervention into his independent agency and ensure a transit improvement bond measure planned for next year has a chance of passing – which the agency desperately needs to make improvements to Muni.

“We appreciate the opportunity to share information on how we're trying to create more parking availability and ease congestion,” SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told us.

Jay Primus, who manages the SF Park variable price meter program for the SFMTA, told us he's seen the presentation that Reiskin will be giving and finds it compelling, even though he knows better than anyone that, as Primus said, “Parking is always a difficult subject, particularly in an area as dense as San Francisco.”

It's hard to imagine what might satisfy the SFMTA's staunchest critics, who have created websites blasting and lampooning the agency's every action and formed opposition groups that use militant rhetoric.

Mary Eliza is the spokesperson for Eastern Neighborhoods United Front, which has whipped up critics of the parking plans with calls to “FILL THE HALL. Raise your flag and wear your colors.” Speaking to the Guardian, she cited a litany of complaints and deep, conspiratorial suspicion of the SFMTA and its agenda, which is why she said critics have appealed to the supervisors.

“We're not dealing much with the MTA anymore, we're dealing with the supervisors because we think it's our best chance to get anything accomplished,” Eliza told us.

They seem to have found a sympathetic audience with Farrell, a conservative from the westside, where pro-car ideologies are strongest. “Even as a transit first city, San Franciscans deserve to have reasonable parking situations in their neighborhoods. With plans under discussion to expand SFMTA's number of parking meters citywide, every potentially affected neighborhood deserves to have extensive input into and thorough understanding of SFMTA's upcoming plan,” Farrell wrote in calling for the hearing.

Primus said the SFMTA does try to be responsive to community concerns, noting that when its plans for new meters in the northeast Mission, Potrero Hill, and Mission Bay ran into strong community opposition in 2011, officials delayed the plans to gather more data and do more community outreach, separate the proposals, and remove them from the SF Park pilot program.

They are now finishing work on the Mission plan, which should come out this summer, after they do more work on solving issues raised by car repair and other light industrial businesses. But Primus said parking scarcity and good transit access in the area make it “an area where good parking management is all the more important.”

Then comes Potrero Hill, where the anti-meter furor appears to be strongest. But with increased development planned for the area, Primus noted that the community and Board of Supervisors have already called for more active parking management by the SFMTA: “All these parking policies were called for in the Eastern Neighborhoods plan, so it was already approved by the supervisors.”


after which they'll propose the exact same plan - more meters, extended hours and higher charges. After all - Reiskin needs to earn his $300,000 salary somehow.

Interesting how Steven portrays opponents of these plans as being "conspiratorial" while he spends countless hours obsessing over vast conspiracies involving Ron Conway and the mayor.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 01, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

Jay Primus is misrepresenting the Eastern Neighborhood plan.

Eastern Neighborhoods calls for on-street parking to be managed for the benefit of existing residents. It also calls for policies that preserve PDR light industrial uses.

Farrell is from D2 which is on the north side of the City, not the west.

So long as the MTA and TA have abandoned any pretense of investing in transit to make it an attractive alternative to driving, then the livability agenda is by and large a non-starter. The City cannot go raising residents' costs expecting that they will take transit that does not exist.

And who in their right mind would support more revenue for Muni when the Mayor is directing the agency to funnel out unrestricted cash as fast as restricted cash comes in to make up for it?

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

It's not broke because of lack of money - it has a lack of money because it doesn't work. To fix it requires throwing out all the management, unions, contracts and probably most of the equipment.

I'd rather dismantle mini except for the rail systems and the bus routes along the major arterial roads. And then allow jitneys to operate in the other area's.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 9:05 pm

That's the plan, to run the Muni into the ground so that supporters of public transit are arguing to preserve a corrupt system that can't be reformed so that it is all privatized and Ed Lee's contributors and Willie Brown's clients make book.

Posted by marcos on May. 02, 2013 @ 8:17 am

Doesn't matter what you do or how much money you throw at it.

It's a busted flush.

The only transit that works in SF is BART, because SF has nothing to do with running it.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 8:52 am

@Guest - Isn't this a great comments section? Anonymous commenters can all use the same name to fail the Turing test by simply blaming everything on the Big Bad Unions. Over on SFGate, they have to come up with a bunch of anonymous IDs to make themselves look more numerous.

Posted by Jym Dyer on May. 04, 2013 @ 9:44 am
Posted by Guest1a on May. 21, 2013 @ 11:59 pm

Isn't that code for the districts that generally vote "progressive?" In an either/or world, if you're not "progressive" you're not "eastern," and must therefore be a crypto-Republican "westerner."

Posted by Hortencia on May. 02, 2013 @ 10:06 am

@Hortencia - It's non-code for the districts with the most density. Kind of relevant to matters of transportation of land use, at least for those who want to have a substantive discussion.

Posted by Jym Dyer on May. 04, 2013 @ 9:45 am

The argument for more meters that SFMTA likes to raise is that it eases parking congestion so that there is parking turnover. That's such bullshit. If that is the aim, then charge 50 cents an hour and make it a two hour limit (or something other than the ridiculous meter charges and parking ticket rates).

Meters are just a revenue grab for an incompetent agency. It's outrageous how much you need to feed meters in Ess Eff.

Posted by The Commish on May. 01, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

The insidious underbelly of the argument that pricing can vary to induce availability is that if motorists know that parking is priced to be available, they will choose to drive, knowing there will be parking, instead of taking transit.

Variably priced parking to induce availability will add vehicle trips which will snarl transit more than it will generate funds to improve transit.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

That only happens when prices are too low

Posted by Guest on May. 06, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

When MTA's revenues don't come in as projected they demand more meters, more enforcement and higher fees for tickets of all sorts. They have ZERO credibility. When their plans are protested they disparage those protesting, take a break then come back in 6-9 months with the same plans.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 01, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

Everyone knows the phrase "everyone knows" is a poor attempt to turn hearsay and conjecture into crowd-sourced truth.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

@Lucretia Snapples - It is a constant mantra of motorist entitlement than any attempt whatsoever to collect money to defray the staggering expense of cars is about "revenue." What you claim "everyone knows" has been said about parking meters and traffic police for decades. It's really inane at this point.

Posted by Jym Dyer on May. 04, 2013 @ 9:50 am

"Any attempt whatsoever?"

How about the current meter rate in the Marina at weekday lunch is FIVE TIMES the rate in downtown San Rafael.

It is theft, plain and simple.

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 12:06 am

To make up for the lost parking put in meters, which will mean even less parking because metered blocks fit less cars than unmetered.

Just another money grab cheered on by true believers who claim to be government watch dogs.

Posted by Matlock on May. 01, 2013 @ 7:21 pm

though, to be sure, it was just in passing: meters reduce parking availability because the spacing between them determines how many cars will fit on each street.

When there are no meters, most drivers position their cars relative to the other cars on the street to maximize parking. When parking meters are installed, drivers tend to align their vehicles with them, thus wasting space.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 02, 2013 @ 6:48 am

optimize the space. In fact I often see cars parked half way into two spaces, which has been known to garner an irate note on the windshield, or worse.

The best parking is front-in, perpendicular to the street. Cars vary much more in length than they do in width.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 7:52 am

product of your biblical certitude: variances in car length mean they project into traffic different amounts, and cars seem to be trending narrow again.

As for your irate notes -- "or worse" -- know that when you see a vehicle which has *apparently* taken two spots, you remain ignorant of how that came to be unless you've been monitoring it all along: it may have been parked sensibly but others came afterwards and parked near it to make it look like it was driven by one of the minority of anti-social mutants.

It is something I've noticed, though -- and I'm sure most others have too -- that at the times when a number of such wasted spots can be seen, the difficulty in finding a spot in a difficult neighborhood becomes geometrically worse. I leave notes which read "Gee, it's hard to find a parking spot in this neighborhood sometimes, isn't it? Is that why you took two spots?"

I think there should be a law that if you park wasting curbspace -- i.e., more than a foot or so from a red zone/driveway or more than three feet from the car which is most efficiently parked either in front or in back of the space you've picked, that you get a ticket equivalent to overtime parking, though for the aforementioned reason, such a ticket could only be written by an officer observing the vehicle being parked.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 04, 2013 @ 10:58 am

Nobody in the North Mission feels that the removal of the UCSF parking lot at 17th and Shotwell is cause for alarm. There is a consensus, however, that the new TOD condos need to be kept to their word, and that parking must be made more difficult for these newcomers. The Eastern Neighborhoods plans all call for on-street parking to be managed for the benefit of existing residents.

Posted by marcos on May. 02, 2013 @ 8:15 am

can easily be replaced. A lot of people I know who visit ODC use that and may be stuck now.

What I'd like to see is a multi-floor development there that retains parking, as we've seen with WholeFoods multi-use developments, for instance.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 8:50 am

Per Eastern Neighborhoods, on-street parking is supposed to be managed for the benefit of existing residents. People visiting ODC can take transit and on-street parking along Folsom at night is not a problem.

The MTA is fishing for an excuse with that one.

Posted by marcos on May. 02, 2013 @ 9:15 am

Not to mention the walk thru the badlands to get there.

Sorry, non-starter.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 9:57 am

South Dakota.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 10:12 am

Perhaps I should said the killing fields instead.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 10:18 am

were in Cambodia.

Perhaps you should have said "the mildly unsightly neighborhood where my kids and their dainty dance ensemble might see a homeless person" instead.

Posted by Greg on May. 04, 2013 @ 10:10 am

-- especially since there is such an *absurd* abundance of bullshit which scores highly in Google's standings on the subject -- that domestic reports about the Khmer Rouge savagery were completely out of proportion to similar events happening contemporaneously and having similar underlying (domestic, i.e. U.S.) culpabilities.


Posted by lillipublicans on May. 04, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

Incredibly reputable source. And the HTML design of that page - a blast from 1995.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 04, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

"Cambodia became a Cold War battlefield in 1969 when the Nixon administration began bombing routes in the east of the country that Soviet-backed North Vietnamese troops were using to transport men and supplies for their war against the U.S.-backed regime in Saigon.

In 1970, then Prince Norodom Sihanouk was ousted in a coup led by U.S.-backed General Lon Nol, who cranked up the war against Vietnamese and Cambodian communists.

Sihanouk later formed an alliance with the Khmer Rouge and he urged Cambodians to join the fight against Lon Nol's regime, which fell to Pol Pot's army in 1975.

'Prince Sihanouk called on the Cambodian people to go and join the communist Khmer Rouge in the jungle and that allowed the Khmer Rouge to build up their troops from 1970 to 1975,' he said.

Without these events, Duch said: 'I think the Khmer Rouge would have been demolished.'"


"You should also tell the Cambodians that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won't let that stand in our way. We are prepared to improve relations with them."
-- U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissenger speaking to Thailand's Foreign Minister Chatichai, November 26, 1975.


"Eight months into the Khmer Rouge genocide, President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger visited Indonesia’s then dictator, President Suharto. On December 6, 1975, Ford told Suharto that “we hope to expand” U.S. influence in Asia. Kissinger explained that “China does not have expansionist aims now,” but was opposed to the USSR and Vietnam. Sharing this view, the US accepted China’s support for the Khmer Rouge regime. A deal had been struck; Cambodia was the stakes. As Ford put it to Suharto: “The unification of Vietnam has come more quickly than we anticipated. There is, however, resistance in Cambodia to the influence of Hanoi. We are willing to move slowly in our relations with Cambodia, hoping perhaps to slow down the North Vietnamese influence although we find the Cambodian government very difficult.” Kissinger noted Beijing’s similar strategy towards the Pol Pot regime: “the Chinese want to use Cambodia to balance off Vietnam….We don’t like Cambodia, for the government in many ways is worse than Vietnam, but we would like it to be independent. We don’t discourage Thailand or China from drawing closer to Cambodia.” With this statement to the head of Southeast Asia’s largest state, Washington acknowledged the geopolitics that now authorized diplomatic approaches to succor the Khmer Rouge regime."


Posted by lillipublicans on May. 04, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

Why are you posting screeds about US support for the Khmer Rouge on an article which has nothing at all to do with the subject?

You really need to take a walk out over the Golden Gate sometime soon. A one-way walk if we're all lucky.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 04, 2013 @ 6:38 pm


Posted by Hortencia on May. 02, 2013 @ 10:25 am
Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 10:40 am

So don't go to there if it scares you. I'm sure there's dance studios in Pac Heights.

Posted by pete moss on May. 03, 2013 @ 4:42 am

The street it is on is fine, but the blocks around it are sketchy during the day and scary at night.

Posted by Guest on May. 03, 2013 @ 7:18 am

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The significance is to recognize the members' outstanding children and to entice the UP alumni in San Diego in 1968.

Posted by neonatalnurseeducation.us on May. 23, 2013 @ 9:28 pm

So the MTA wants to pass a transit improvement bond measure which the "agency desperately needs to make improvements to Muni"? If they are so desperate to make improvements, why the hell was money that could have been used for improvements diverted to giving free rides to minors???

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

You do know we need to raise taxes so that we have quality schools and transit... and an endless stream of commissions, free things for some people, the city suing the state federal government, etc...

The city needs your tax dollars so it can hand out free shit with the money you just gave them.

Posted by Matlock on May. 01, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

Free shit to kids is okay. The MTA just made up the dollar amount that they said they'd lose if they gave free rides to kids, as if the difference would mean they'd run more vehicles than what they're able to throw out there as it is. The choice to divert resources to "fund" free transit for kids was a political choice, it was not necessary, they could have just done it.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

They didn't just make up the amount. They went to the MTC to fund the program for a few years (I think they split the cost 50/50). Something to the tune of 5 million came from the MTA. That 5 mil could have been spent on these "badly needed" infrastructure improvements.

And what if, in 3 years, the MTC decides to discontinue their portion? Do you really think the MTA will ax the program? Hell no!!! They'll just fund it completely with MTA money, which means another bond, higher parking fines, higher residential parking permits, and whatever else they can come up with.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 9:47 pm

The MTA pulled a multimillion dollar figure out of their bureaucratic asses that represented the "cost" of providing free rides for kids.

There was no real world basis for this "cost," in that there were no new vehicle runs added to reduce crowding or increase headways. Thus, the MTA got more money for providing the same amount of underlying transit service, money which goes into the corruption pot to be externalized from the agency.

There is no need to fund a program that results in an incremental increase in transit load, incremental in that it does not require the MTA to spend any more money, that serves existing residents and furthers desired policy goals.

The transit delay that is inhibited by parents throwing their kids onto a free bus instead of driving them to school should cover whatever minor real costs are incurred.

Posted by marcos on May. 02, 2013 @ 8:14 am

...all has to do with cars. I wonder how you tend to get around the city.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 02, 2013 @ 10:26 am

still has school bussing. Kids should be able to walk to their school.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

If the school district made sure each school was equally good, that wouldn't be a problem.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 02, 2013 @ 10:27 am

Schools are never all equal. That's why parents try very hard to get their kids into the best ones.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 10:42 am

All they have to do is make sure all schools are equally good, and problem solved! Why didn't SFUSD think of that?

Now all we need to do is to conjure up the perfect world where that happens and we'll be there.

Posted by Greg on May. 04, 2013 @ 10:15 am

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Posted by nursing schools in dallas on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

If SFMTA needs money to fix the Muni why did they divert 510 million dollars in public transit fees from Muni to the street calming project to reduce the traffic lanes where Dolores meets Market Street?

This is an in-kind trade that doesn't smell right. How can they possibly spend over half a billion dollars widening a sidewalk? Is this real money and where is it going?

The Sunday parking meters are expected to bring in a measly 1.7 million dollars a year. Why bother collecting 1.7 million dollars if you are going to give away 510 million? The voters are not that dumb. Ed and Primus are wasting their time.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 1:21 am

If SFMTA needs money to fix the Muni why did they divert 510 million dollars in public transit fees from Muni to the street calming project to reduce the traffic lanes where Dolores meets Market Street?

This is an in-kind trade that doesn't smell right. How can they possibly spend over half a billion dollars widening a sidewalk? Is this real money and where is it going?

The Sunday parking meters are expected to bring in a measly 1.7 million dollars a year. Why bother collecting 1.7 million dollars if you are going to give away 510 million? The voters are not that dumb. Ed and Primus are wasting their time.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 1:41 am

It will bring in 1.7 million plus the ten million in tickets.

Like all good government bullshit artists they try and leave out the key aspect of their plan.

Posted by Matlock on May. 02, 2013 @ 11:56 pm