Sunday metered parking goes into effect this weekend

It’s a new year and that means new ways for the SFMTA to grab revenue from residents and visitors to the city. Their latest brainchild goes into effect this weekend – metered parking on Sundays.

What was once considered a sacred right of San Franciscans – free parking meters on Sundays – will be a thing of the past beginning at noon this Sunday. Starting January 6, all parking meters across the city will be enforced from 12noon until 6pm every Sunday.

Here are a few extra tidbits about the new meter rules to keep in mind:

  • Sunday metered parking is enforced from 12noon until 6pm only.
  • Sunday meters will have 4 hour time limits. But per usual, you cannot “feed” the meter or exceed the four hour time limit.
  • Meters will be programmed for prepayment so you can pay even if you arrive before the meter is in effect. For example, if you arrive at 10 a.m. and need to stay until 2 p.m., you can pay at 10 a.m. for two hours starting at noon when the meter goes into effect. Prepayment can begin at 4:30 a.m. at any SFMTA meter as of January 6, 2013. If the meter is $2 per hour and you put $4 in the meter at 10 a.m., the meter will show payment until 2 p.m. (10 a.m. to 12 p.m. free and $2 each for 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.)
  • Meter rates on Sundays will be the same as those on Saturday
  • Meters that were already enforced on Sundays, such as those at Fisherman’s Wharf (7am – 7pm) and the Port of San Francisco (7am – 11pm), will still maintain their regular, posted hours.

Aside from wanting to make more money for the city (which they don’t really mention in their FAQ, ahem…), the SFMTA says they are enforcing Sunday metered parking to “make sure that motorists can easily find a place to park in commercial areas, which is currently very hard on Sundays.”

Although parking has been free on Sundays since meters were first installed in the 1940s, the SFMTA says that unlike back then, businesses are now open on Sundays, making parking just as tough on Sundays as it is on Saturdays. Hence the need for meters to help increase parking turnover.

If you’re tired of carrying rolls of quarters around or refilling your SFMTA parking card, you might want to check out the PayByPhone app which is available for iPhone, Android or Blackberry. Punch in the meter space number, enter the number of minutes you want, and submit your payment. The app will remind you via text message when you meter is running out and if you haven’t hit the meter limit yet, you can add more parking time from the app (without having to trek back to your car).

Yes, there is a $.45 service fee for every PaybyPhone app transaction but it sure beats a hefty ticket and scrounging for spare change in your glove compartment.

Sarah B.

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  1. @BigHeart – um, handicapped folks can get placards that allow them to park anywhere. I have two young children and a wife, so not sure what you’re talking about there (and I have a car – I didn’t say anything about people not having cars?). But yes, you’re correct that folks commuting elsewhere who must have a car would be better served living somewhere else cheaper with more parking. Luckily for them, they have 99.9999% of the country to pick from.

  2. @Bill, who said: “But yes, you’re correct that folks commuting elsewhere who must have a car would be better served living somewhere else cheaper with more parking. Luckily for them, they have 99.9999% of the country to pick from.”

    This is really a sheer poverty of thinking; and, it’s anti-community. I have lived in cities that became gentrified, over years – and I can tell you that they became pretty damned boring places. San Francisco isn’t there yet, but it’s headed in that direction. A significant % of home sales are going to “investors” and the “newly rich”. Real socioeconomic diversity is dwindling. I love this city, and it will be a long time, if ever, before it becomes on big “Upper East Side”, but much of the city is pointing that way. How can anyone advocate for that?

  3. You think that I’m advocating for less socioeconomic diversity because I’m saying that we shouldn’t prioritize building parking rather than more housing? Bizarre.

    I think that the only way that we can maintain a decent level of socioeconomic diversity is through building MORE housing for all income levels, most of which should be built without dedicated parking – in order to bring down the price of the housing AND create an environment more conducive to actual good transit/walking/biking.

    Folks here are advocating building either NO new housing, or only expensive new housing with excessive and expensive parking included. That is what’s killing socioeconomic diversity in the city.

  4. Bill said: “You think that I’m advocating for less socioeconomic diversity because I’m saying that we shouldn’t prioritize building parking rather than more housing? ”

    Yes, it’s implied in your response, because like so many others who see this as black and white, you assume that mass transit isn’t the answer, and that we have to choose between/among the housing/parking options you mention.

    The point is that mass transit will NOT get people out of their cars unless it’s well-integrated, regionally; affordable; and, accessible in a way that gets a person where s/he wants to go when s/he wants to go there.

    I agree that more affordable housing needs to be built, but is that really going to happen any time soon – especially given the reality of market rates (and the cost of real property to develop)? It’s not.

    San Francisco is boxed into a corner on this problem. What we’re getting are subway lines into Chinatown – like that’s something we really need? The latter play is a big gimmie from the city to developers who are going to use increased access to make Chinatown an expensive housing destination.

    The problem in the Bay Area, and other large metropolitan regions, is that there are way too many municipal and intra-urban authorities that have no mandate to cooperate or even coordinate.

    What’s sad is that there are good models out there (e.g. Amsterdam) that make sense, and wouldn’t be that hard to implement, but going against the car culture of America is hard, in addition to the sheer inefficiencies present in our regional and national transport systems.

  5. I never said that mass transit isn’t the answer, I simply said that limiting parking by no means implies that I want people to give up their cars. Of course we need better mass transit, and that is the long-term answer to supporting a larger population. And of course one of the ways that we get better mass transit is by limiting parking (and thus congestion).

  6. There would not be the parking problem if all the illegal housing units in people’s garages were removed and the garages returned to parking spaces.

    This is certainly true. Eliminate housing and the parking problem is reduced. Eliminating businesses would also help. Doesn’t make it a good idea.

    And the unskilled who have to commute to their underemployment at the multiple, minimum wage jobs, likely outside the city or across town because there isn’t much retail work in the aves. They can live elsewhere!

    This is just baffling. There is a six-unit apartment building without parking on my block, and there are single family homes with garages. Believe me when I say that people with minimum wage jobs aren’t moving into the single family homes, and the rich aren’t moving into the walkup. Yet some people seem to genuinely believe the opposite.

    Private parking is an amenity, and you pay more to have it. If the city requires that every household must have a space, then every household will pay extra. You can argue that it’s a justified cost, but don’t argue that you’re fighting for the poor.

  7. Take a look at Balboa st. from Arguello to about 7th ave. or so. Look how many empty storefronts there are. Now look how many parking meters there are.

    This is what Clement st. could look like….

  8. Looking forward to watching this unfold. I suspect, managing the public parking spaces in our commercial districts on what is just another business day for many folks will lead to increased turnover and better business/more customers. I hope some of our local merchants associations have collected some baseline data for those businesses open on Sundays so that we will have something more than an anecdotal pissing match to keep watching in six months and can rely instead on actual data.

  9. As I parked on Clement on Sunday – I realized that we still have the really, really old fashioned parking meters – they don’t even take the parking card, much less a credit card (so I’m guessing the pay by cell phone option probably doesn’t work in our hood either!). You’d think the SFMTA would have updated these? With the price of parking, you’ll need a 5 pound bag of coins to load up the meters!

  10. Balboa also doesn’t have a residential parking permit program, and it has a lot more garages with curb cuts, and consequentially fewer storefronts.

    If you like ample parking, Balboa’s the place to be. That’s probably why all the activity is on Clement.

  11. About the only “good” thing I can say about the Sunday meter scheme is that they are programmed to be prepaid. What is unclear is why isn’t that prepayment programming available on EVERY DAY?

  12. At first, paid parking on sundays really angered me. There was no warning until it was in affect (or the grace period) We didn’t vote on this, and it seems like another money-grabbing scheme from the city. But after thinking about it, people are right, what good is free parking when the spaces are filled either with cars or the stupid parklets that the hipsters want.

    The only thing the city needs to do is update the parking meters to allow credit cards, or the pay by phone thing.

    …and lower public transportation rates on sundays …and add a trainline to the richmond …and lower housing costs for families …

  13. According to KTVU (on tonight’s news) SFMTA issued nearly 1,800 tickets this past Sunday – the 1st Sunday they were to issue tix ($62/min. fine)

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