A parking spot of one’s own?


OPINION — Parking is a city-wide problem. It’s why I sold my car back in 2006 (after a few parking tickets, a fender bender and an unfair tow-away).

But when I hear people say, “I pay San Francisco rent, the least I can get is a parking spot nearby,” I cringe. We can all agree the City is expensive. Neighbors who can afford car payments, insurance and vehicle license fees may think, “$104 for a yearly parking permit, what’s the big deal?”

Yet neighbors who can barely afford these things, yet still need a car, may wonder, “Where am I going to get $104?”

Then there’s those of us without a car.  If I rent a car to run errands or to take a trip, I have to either pay a larger per-day fee for a short-term pass, or suffer the wrath of SFDPT. I’m being penalized for not having my own automobile.

Of the 22,600 households in District 5, 10,000 have no vehicles; some by choice, others by necessity. Of the residents with employment, 32% drive their car to work, and 41% take transit instead.

Parking is free in our neighborhood. It makes it possible to have long-term visitors without worrying about running over the RPP time limit. I support finding alternate solutions to our parking problem, including the addition of angled parking, and I encourage those of us who can manage without a car to consider that solution as well.

Arguments against RPP

• Increased parking enforcement in the neighborhood for those without a permit
• A revenue generator for the City and an excuse to tax residents $104 per year
• More difficult for friends to visit and stay longer than the allowed RPP time limit
• May not resolve lack of parking during the evening hours
• Parking spaces are currently available during the daytime, when RPP is enforced
• Visitors permits require a trip to the SFMTA office and cost more than the yearly fee, per day
• Employees at local businesses aren’t eligible for a permit
• Residents who choose not to pay the fee will be forced to move their cars every few hours

Arguments for RPP

• Alamo Square is surrounded by RPP zones in all directions, so residents in those zones who do not want to pay for RPP park in our neighborhood
• Others outside the neighborhood park here for free and use employee shuttle buses, Muni, etc.
• $104 yearly fee is much less than renting a garage/parking space in the neighborhood
• Only 34% of vehicles in the neighborhood are registered in 94117
• 44% of vehicles are registered outside of SF or have no registration record

*P.S.  $104 is the maximum fee allowed by the state; Also contrary to the North Panhandle Newsletter, ASNA has not taken a position for or against RPP.

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13 Responses to A parking spot of one’s own?

  1. @keenplanner says:

    $104 is nothing compared to the $5-10K a year people spend to own a car. Having parking is an incentive to own a car, rather than finding a better way to get around.

  2. $104 is less than $10 a month. Owning a car is upwards of $500 a month. The annual permit fees should be much higher.

  3. alamosq says:

    $104 is the max allowed by the state, I just updated the article (in the P.S.) to reflect that.

  4. Incredible points. Solid arguments. Keep up the amazing work.

  5. EP says:

    To add in the arguments against the RPP: residents who aren’t eligible for a permit because they live on blocks with commercial businesses (streets south of McAllister and in white in the above map) won’t be able to park in their own neighborhood. (Unless the city redistricts them, which it hasn’t yet.)

  6. onfell says:

    Our neighborhood is free parking for all the surrounding neighborhoods in all directions. Who wouldn’t drive into our neighborhood and park their car for a week with just a few block walk back to their RPP neighborhood. Apparently 66% of the cars currrently.

    The loss of the 50 odd spots on Fell has already made parking easily 2x as hard. 5-10 minutes is now 10-20 and frustrated drivers are circling and swerving. This is incredibly dangerous.

    We are going to lose three more blocks of parking along Oak when that portion of the bike lane goes in making this even worse.

    RPP will have a hugely beneficial impact by reducing the number of cars, increasing the number of available spots and allow us to park rather than anxiously drive in circles around our own neighborhood. Imagine the amount of time saved.

  7. onfell says:

    That’s it. The time has come. I just walked down Fell where we have recently lost half of our parking (all south side spots) and an additional five spaces have been removed on the north side for get this . . . Tourist Bus Parking. Are you kidding me?

    Losing around 66% of the parking in the three blocks around our house in the last few months has made it clear it’s time to save the remaining parking for us. the ones who live here. overnight our neighborhoods will feel like real neighborhoods again and people will be able to come home, park and be with their families.

  8. alamosq says:

    The Tour Bus Loading Zone will revert back to neighborhood parking after 6 p.m. FYI. So you will still have parking spots there.

  9. It literally costs thousands of dollars a year to own and maintain a car.  It’s hard to imagine that anyone living in our neighborhood couldn’t afford that extra 100 bucks needed for a permit when it costs $50 to get a tank of gas, 100 a month for insurance, etc. In fact, if your goal is to discourage car ownership, than an expensive permit or tax is exactly what you should do. Free parking encourages car ownership. You tax the activity you want to discourage. But $104 is not going to make a difference for anyone.
    If you’re someone who dislikes cars and wants everyone to adopt a “better” lifestyle choice, I’d ask you to reconsider your approach.  I understand – many people in SF hate cars, and wish everyone road a bike to work, or used our great MUNI system to get around the City.  But the RPP is simply about 1 thing: making parking easier for residents.  It has nothing to do with promoting car ownership. Cars will still park on our streets. The RPP will simply shift the percentages so that more spaces go to residents. Right now, over 66% of the cars parked here don’t belong to folks live here!! The RPP just means that your neighbors have better parking, rather than strangers.  It has nothing to do with forcing people to adopt a more noble lifestyle.

    Also, if your goal is to encourage mass transit, etc., why not start by having folks who commute here and park their cars (66%!!), ride bikes or take MUNI here instead The RPP would incentivizes those who don’t live here, but want to travel here, to use alternate means of transportation. So the RPP actually still promotes the cause of less cars on the street.

    If you are against the RPP because the map doesn’t cover your street, then take part in the process and work to expand the map.  Don’t prevent your neighbors from getting an RPP.  
    We’re surrounded by RPP’s for a reason. It improves the quality of life for residents.  If other folks like it, and have figured out how to manage day visitors, contractors, nannies, then I suspect we can do so easily too.
    Finally, I believe that some people who are angst the RPP own a business or inn. They want cheap, free parking for their business, but don’t actually say that of course. So you get all the trumped up claims about how the the $104 permit hurts poor people, or promotes car ownership, etc.

  10. Tim says:

    The above comment couldn’t be anymore true. I live on Oak, right outside the RPP by two blocks and when I would drive to work it was a nightmare. The argument “why should we have to pay to park in front of our homes” is entirely fallacious. I’ve never been able to even find parking in front of my apartment. At some point I just couldn’t handle the commute itself, and the 20-30 minutes spent circling looking for parking and just started taking the HORRIBLE Muni (N-Judah dear lord) to the relatively punctual Caltrain. Doubled my commute time, but I feel alot better. I leave my car in the South bay. Occasionally I bring it up on the weekends so I can take a day trip somewhere with my non car owning friends. Once I drove up on a Thursday and spent nearly 40 minutes looking for parking. I got back late, and I couldn’t park in RPP because I was going leave the car in the city the next day. It was miserable and it reminded me how much we need RPP for Haight/Alamo. I don’t see how not having it is helping anybody. In fact, I wish they could charge much more for parking, then fewer people would leave their nearly junked cars taking up parking spots/ it would bring down the price of private parking. Right now there is a parking crisis all over the city, even with a permit parking can be difficult, without one its impossible. This is why people are charging 300-450 which is 1/4-1/3 of local rents JUST for parking…This shouldnt be the case. And the excuse about friends coming over is really shortsighted, do you friends have more right to park than your neighbors? Because unless you own a mansion with a garage, you are SOL around here. I drive my car in the city now maybe 1.5 a month on average and I still find this infuriating.

  11. Pete Wilson says:

    I think that increased enforcement should be a pro not a con.

  12. kyle says:

    I regularly see utility type trucks and vans parked on my block of Fell, and the driver picked up in another vehicle. They leave the trucks for a week, and move them just before street cleaning. Meanwhile, it’s impossible for those of us who live her to find a spot within 4 blocks sometimes. I wouldn’t imagine driving after 6pm.

    Is there a way to offer lower cost permits to lower income households, offset by those of us who can afford to pay more? I’ll put up more than $104 to ease parking, and make it affordable to everyone who lives here.

  13. Michael says:

    Please if you live in Alamo Square oppose this the Parking Permit requirement. This is a misleading campaign to solve a problem that does not exist. Think about it, the restriction is during the day when there is not an issue of finding a spot. I used to live on the other side of Divisadero at McAllister and Broderick where there is RPP and it was even more difficult than East of Divisadero. The challenge is at night, well welcome to the City. Having this permit fee/zone will not change parking availability at night. If you want to eradicate your challenges I have three ideas: 1.) get a smaller car, 2.) sell car and buy a bike and a Clipper card or 3.) Keep car and rent a parking spot. Enough said.

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