This week the "Baghdad by the Bay" award for most incredible parking issues goes to the title city itself, San Francisco. You can get a good summary of the most recent problem here.
In capsule: The city has "discovered" that it is receiving about half the money it should from its meters. Of course they are looking for the reason why. The list:
1. Not enough enforcement
2. Too many handicapped permits
3. Prices too costly and driving people into garages
4. blah blah blah
Well, if you believe the article above, number one and two are on track. Number three doesn’t make a lot of sense, because if it were true, there would be loads of empty parking spaces in SF. That’s a laugh.
My guess is that Don Shoup’s quotes in the article are spot on.
First — give the money (or at least a large part of it) back to the neighborhoods from whence it came. That would give the locals a reason to ensure that the money was being collected. As it is now, no one cares. One could do this in SF by saying that the first $30MM goes to the general fund and all above that goes back to the neighborhoods.
Second — do away with free handicapped parking. Charge folks who are handicapped the same as everyone else. Take the limits off the on street parking time so handicapped can park as long as they need. Make parking a commodity like food and gasoline, you pay for as much as you use. Handicapped people want access, not handouts.
Third — Raise on street prices so they are higher than the garages. San Francisco recently raised off street rates but kept on street rates the same. That make no sense at all.
Fourth — Enforce with consistency and fairness. Put more officers on the street and train them in their jobs not only as parking enforcement officers, but also as ambassadors for the city. Houston did it. Why can San Francisco. Teach them how to make people who are receiving a ticket accept their medicine. Item one would go a long way in this regard.
Will any of this happen. Probably not. Jake McGoldrick is a voice crying in the wilderness.
Lets face it. Parking in the land of fog and cable cars is a mess. I understand that there will be a lot more yelling when the word gets out on the latest audits done in some of the city owned garages.
We are seeing only the beginning of its parking problems. My guess is that the only way to get the parking fog to lift is to begin cleaning house. And I don’t mean dust the furniture.