The hours you get charged to park on San Francisco city streets were set to be changed this summer for the first time since 1947. But San Francisco supervisors passed a resolution last week urging the agency to delay the idea pending an "independent economic impact report."
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency wants to extend meter hours from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and add Sunday metering hours in select parts of the city where parking charges previously did not exist.
The transit agency claims the plan will “expand parking availability and benefit all those who live, shop, worship and work in San Francisco.”
However, Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said it seemed likely the agency would agree to postpone the changes until the city's controller can do a study at some point in September.
The changes were set to start in July and roll out in six phases through December 2024, with extended hours first coming to the Dogpatch and Fisherman’s Wharf, the SFMTA said. Lower-income neighborhoods would see the changes last.
Sunday parking was previously free in much of the city. In neighborhoods where Sunday parking is currently metered, the hours run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Under the new plan, Sunday parking hours would be metered from noon to 6 p.m.
The SFMTA said religious services would be minimally impacted by the changes due to the parking meter hours' midday start time. Meters that already operate on Sundays would keep the same hours.
Neighborhoods where parking meters already operate during evenings and Sundays include Mission Bay, South Beach, the 18th Street business district in Potrero Hill and along the Embarcadero.
The SFMTA said the changes would help free up more parking spots in the evening as drivers could not keep a parking spot for hours past 6 p.m. without paying.
“While drivers generally love free parking, they may not realize that it’s hard to find a space in the evenings and on Sundays in many neighborhoods because the meters are not running,” an SFMTA news release said.
The changes were meant to coincide with an effort to replace all of the city’s parking meters. The new meters will feature displays in English, Spanish and Chinese and are said to be more difficult to vandalize, according to the SFMTA.
The city said the changes will help to plug a $130 million budget gap that it projects to begin in 2025 and blames on low ridership figures. The transit operator said without additional funding, the agency could be forced to eliminate up to 20 Muni routes. The SFMTA was not able to elaborate on which lines would be cut.
“We haven’t even gotten around to discussing that yet,” said agency spokesperson Stephen Chun. “We hope we don’t have to go there. What we know is that a $130 million deficit is the equivalent of 20 Muni lines.”
Meanwhile, the local chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation posted flyers around town decrying the plan as a threat to the working class.
Mike Ege contributed additional reporting for this story.
Garrett Leahy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org