Big Parking and Muni Changes Coming to San Francisco

By: Brian Shields - Tue, 17 Apr 2012 22:28:10 -0800

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) -- Big changes are coming for people who drive in San Francsico on Sundays and for low-income children who ride Muni buses, light rail, and cable cars.

SFMTA Board members heard an earful and then some from religious community leaders about a proposal in the new budget to enforce parking meters citywide from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

"The city of San Francisco, 49 square miles, should be able to accommodate people of faith on Sundays," one member of the clergy told the SFMTA board.

"You should have some grace on Sundays," another woman told the board.  "It doesn't matter if you're in church or not, you get a day when you're not going to get tickets."

"Including the Sunday parking enforcement proposed in the budget would be a logistical nightmare and have a devastating effect not only on our Sunday celebrations but on our capacity to provide needed service to the most vulnerable and marginal in the city," a clergywoman said.  Another minister predicted, "Twelve to three is in the middle of our worship services.  That would then cause people to get up in droves and go out and feed parking meters interrupting our services as well."

"It is absolutely criminal to impose on a person to pay for the gasoline, pay for the toll, and also for them to drive to the church where they've been a member for 50 plus years and also pay for meter parking outside their congregation on Sunday morning," another preacher said.  "It's absolutely sinister."

Board members rejected the appeals and approved the budget.  The Sunday parking enforcement starts in January and is projected to generate $1.8 million every year.

The SFMTA Board did approve free fares for low-income children and teens.  Starting in August, the system will run a 22 month trial.  Some board members say they wanted to make rides free for all young people but decided they couldn't afford that.

"Personally for me it is very difficult because I am a low income single mother," Claudia Gonzalez tells KRON 4's Dan Kerman.  "Right now I do struggle to pay for the fare for my two children.  At least for low income families we won't have that fear of getting fined or tickets while riding the bus simply for not having the money to ride."

SFMTA officials say the new rules are all about trying to change the way people use transit in San Francisco.

"We have to think of the folks that don't get free transit on Sundays the way people get free parking," SFMTA director Joel Ramos said. "We  have to start thinking about a different way that we use our streets."

The Muni board says it will seek more public comments before the Sunday parking enforcement starts.

(Copyright 2012, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)
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