A plan to start extending parking meter hours this summer on weeknights and Sundays in San Francisco will most likely be delayed until the Controller’s Office completes an economic analysis of the plan.
Supervisors last week passed a resolution at the board’s Tuesday meeting urging the SFMTA to delay its plan to extend parking meter hours until the completion of an economic impact report that will examine how the plan would affect small businesses, city revenues and the overall impact to The City’s economic recovery.
SFMTA spokesperson Stephen Chun confirmed that the transit agency will wait until the report is completed before they implement any parking meter changes, but did not give specifics on a new timeline.
Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, the main sponsor of the resolution, said at the meeting that the city’s Chief Economist Ted Egan will be able to complete the report sometime in September. The SFMTA had planned to start implement the parking meter changes on July 1.
Since announcing plans to extend parking hours on weeknights until 10 p.m. and on Sundays, from noon to 6 p.m., the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has received criticism from supervisors and merchant groups, who said the plan would affect small businesses still struggling by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It comes… at a bad time,” Peskin said. “I know that there’s an economic imperative at the SFMTA. We just have to balance those things.”
Supervisor Ahsha Safai suggested the SFMTA implement the plan as a pilot program instead of rolling it out as proposed by the transit agency.
The SFMTA planned to extend parking meter hours in six phases over 18 months. The first phase would have started on July 1 in the Dogpatch and Fisherman’s Wharf — neighborhoods in The City that already have extended parking meter hours on specific days and during special events.
In the last phase scheduled for December 2024, low-income neighborhoods whose residents are mostly people of color, like in Chinatown and the Bayview, were last on the list to have parking meter hours extended.
The SFMTA projected to generate approximately $18.5 million annually from extending parking meter hours. Transit officials said the revenue would help subsidize Muni service as the SFMTA faces a budget shortfall of $130 million starting in the 2025 fiscal year.
In a press statement Friday, SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin said that even with the additional revenue from extending parking meters and limiting hiring to priority positions, the measures are still not enough to fill the budget gap.
Bay Area transit agencies and advocates have asked the state legislature to step in to prevent transit agencies from falling off a “fiscal cliff” that would lead to service cuts.
“Without state funding, we will have no choice but to scale back Muni to pandemic levels of service when we had 40% fewer Muni routes, service ended at 10 p.m. and the hilly neighborhoods of San Francisco were barely served,” Tumlin said in the statement.
Mayor London Breed sent a letter to Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who chairs the assembly budget committee, that urges the state assembly to revise its budget that keeps Bay Area transit agencies afloat.
Breed outlined support for measures that have already been supported by Bay Area transit agencies, including using cap-and-trade funds and directing $1.7 billion of unprogrammed federal funding for highways to transit agencies.
Ting said in an email to constituents last week that he supports helping Muni, BART and other transit agencies, but added that he will not be handing out a blank check “without major improvements, greater accountability and a plan towards fiscal stability.”
Still, Ting said he will do what he can to help transit agencies.
“I’ll do everything possible to make sure we avoid the fiscal cliff, so that individuals without cars and commuters aren’t left struggling with service cutbacks,” Ting said.
The deadline to approve a state budget is June 15.