We believe that free parking benefits nobody, because:
- It encourages driving and congestion, while making it difficult for drivers to find a place to park when they need one.
- It endangers people on foot because they need to contend with drivers circling to find parking.
- It endangers people on bicycle because they need to contend with double-parked cars.
- It makes Muni unreliable and inefficient, due to cars double-parking and blocking the road and circling for parking. This harms many riders for the benefit of the few.
- It means lower turnover for businesses, since it encourages drivers to park for a long duration.
That is why we believe the following policies should be enacted:
- SFpark, the demand-based parking management program should be expanded to all existing meters city-wide.
- Parking meters (with SFpark) should be extended to all areas with commercial activity where there is contention for parking.
- Where parking availability is low, prices should go up and when it’s high, they should go down. This is already the SFPark policy. If availability, however, is very high, the city should consider converting the parking spaces into other uses that benefit San Franciscans, such as bicycle lanes, transit-only lanes, parklets, and other public spaces. The benefits should not only be granted to drivers.
- Meter hours should be extended into the evening as necessary to provide availability.
- Meter hours should be extended to all days of the week, including Sundays and holidays.
- Sidewalk parking should be stringently enforced as it endangers people on foot, especially those disabled.
- Double-parking should be stringently enforced as it endgangers people on bicycle, and slows down Muni, causing the agency to bleed money.
- Parking control officers should be incentivized to enforce the rules about sidewalk-parking and double-parking without requiring a complaint to be filed. Often times, the harm is done and the perpetrator is gone before the complaint is responded to.
- The residential parking permit program should not be limited to cost-recovery only, but it should allow SFMTA to implement a policy discouraging long-term parking on city streets.
- The city should use all revenues generated with the policies above, to improve alternative transportation, such as improving Muni services to the neighborhoods where transportation demand is high, improving the pedestrian environment and improving conditions for bicycling.