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Breed Makes a Push for Paid Sunday Parking Meters

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By Jerold Chinn

In a letter to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Mayor London Breed is urging the transit agency to step up their original timeline to release congestion pricing recommendations.

Both the SFMTA and San Francisco County Transportation Authority are supposed to make those recommendations by the end of the year, but the mayor now wants that information by August.

Breed wrote in the letter:

“Today, people traveling in San Francisco experience gridlock on a daily basis, particularly downtown and in Soma. This is frustrating for drivers, but it also has a negative impact on the entire city. Families that depend on Muni and emergency responders are delayed. Pedestrians and cyclists are less safe. Businesses receive their deliveries late and everyone, particularly those in our most sensitive communities, breath more polluted air. We cannot make our streets wider, so we must find other solutions.”

The mayor took issue with people who circle around blocks trying to find parking spaces, eventually giving up altogether or resorting to illegal double parking.

Breed wants the SFMTA to come up with a plan to bring back Sunday parking meter hours. While the transit agency had tested Sunday paid parking citywide in 2013, the effort was shelved in 2014 by former Mayor Ed Lee.

Breed told reporters Tuesday that during the 2013 pilot, she was concerned about how it would affect religious communities who worship on Sundays. The mayor said she will work with religious leaders and groups as she now moves forward with the idea.

Breed said:

“We will not do this in isolation. The goal is to work with our religious leaders and our churches throughout San Francisco to include them in this process.”

Malcolm Heinicke, who chairs the SFMTA Board of Directors, said Tuesday:

“We are way past time putting Sunday and evening meters in business districts that want them.”

Historically, parking meters are free all day Sunday and after 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Heinicke claims the Sunday parking charge is less about generating revenue than it is about helping small businesses in commercial corridors:

“I look at this as a way to increase circulation and help our small businesses and discourage people from storing their cars on our public streets.”

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