Muni Citizens’ Advisory Council: More Parking Enforcement Needed

Will Carruthers/Ingleside-Excelsior Light

Parking enforcement efforts and transit-improvement plan Muni Forward were presented to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Citizens’ Advisory Council at its April meeting.

Parking Control

Camron Samii, manager of enforcement at Muni, gave a presentation that was followed by a lengthy and sometimes heated question and answer session centered around how the agency’s limited enforcement resources should be allocated, ranging from fining tech buses for using Muni stops to cars parked on sidewalks.

Discouraging behaviors by ticketing alone is difficult when parking on sidewalks and paved over front yards has naturally become more common as the city grows more dense, according to Samii. Out-of-town Uber and Lyft drivers, housing alterations that push sidewalk boundaries and undereducated drivers are continuing challenges.

Sidewalk parking dominated the meeting. Members discussed how dangerous it can be for disabled or blind pedestrians to navigate around cars parked on sidewalks.

“If you park on a sidewalk in New York City, there will be a tow truck there in a New York minute,” Daniel Murphy, the council’s vice chair, said. “I think we should take a much more aggressive stance in our approach to sidewalk parking. I don’t care if people are unhappy.”

In response, Samii defined his job as a test in weighing interests in a department that is down 13 staff on average days and gets stretched even further during big events, such as Giants games.

“I have to be careful about discretion,” Samii said. “Many folks don’t want any discretion, others want some discretion. I either follow the letter of the law or the spirit of the law.”

Ed Reiskin, the director of SFMTA, has been supportive of hiring a few more Parking Control Officers, according to Samii.

The council unanimously passed a motion recommending that Muni pay more attention to sidewalk parking violations by making it a Vision Zero-related infraction, require Parking Control Officers to ticket violators on sight rather than waiting for complaints and hire more PCOs to meet demand.

Muni Forward

Sean Kennedy then updated the council on Muni Forward, a combination of capital and service improvements that has increased annual service hours by six percent systemwide since July 2014. Further changes coming online in April will take the program closer to its goal of an increase of ten percent systemwide. The improvements include adding more frequent service on 17 lines, expanding service hours on 10 lines, alternating two lines to make new connections to BART stations and launching two new OWL lines.

One of the program’s biggest investments will be the 28R. Although the line was originally created to serve 19th Avenue during peak school traffic hours, the line’s is soon going to run from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday.

The additional service on the 28R alone will account for a one percent increase in service hours systemwide.

After Kennedy’s presentation a few council members suggested various problems to study. Steve Taber suggested that the benefits of the new Rapid lines like the 28R should be measured in a defined way.

“One a couple of the points you’re making the measurement of what improved service means varies depending on what you’re talking about,” Taber said. “You mention a 20 percent reduction in travel time, that sounds really good. You also mention on Mission a two minute travel savings but you don’t say what that’s over. Is it two minutes out of a half hour or two minutes out of five minutes? That makes a big difference.”

The council did not pass any motions related to Kennedy’s presentation.

Meeting Recap

  • The council was briefed on Muni’s parking enforcement efforts and passed a motion suggesting stricter enforcement of sidewalk parking and more parking control officers.
  • The council was updated on Muni’s ongoing Muni Forward campaign that will expand the agency’s service hours by 10 percent.

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