City employee parking privileges to be revoked 

Police officers, Fire Department officials, judges and other public employees could be the focus of a new crackdown on parking policies that would net the struggling San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency $4 million a year.

For years, government employees have enjoyed nonenforcement of parking policies around public facilities such as the Hall of Justice, and workers from city departments have been able to park for free by crafting informal agency placards that were intentionally overlooked by the SFMTA’s parking enforcement division.

However, with the chronically cash-strapped transit agency facing a $53 million projected shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, it’s seeking to tighten regulations throughout The City.

The SFMTA could collect $1.3 million a year by enforcing parking violations near facilities like City Hall and the Hall of Justice, according to department documents.

“In the past, there have been judges and police officers taking advantage of parking meters and not paying for them,” SFMTA Chief Financial Officer Sonali Bose said during her presentation of the enforcement measures before the Policy and Governance Committee on Tuesday.

Getting rid of free street parking spaces for city employees would net the agency $615,000 annually, and creating a universal SFMTA parking placard for all city departments — instead of the current multiplacard system that is being abused by public employees — would bring in $368,000 annually. The agency also would adjust discounted parking permit rates for city employees — teachers pay only $76 a year and firefighters park for free — which would net another $223,000 annually.

Under SFMTA’s proposal, enforcement on the policies would begin next fiscal year, which starts July 1. The transit agency wants to impose two more restrictions — the end of free parking for city employees at public garages and the elimination of free parking for SFMTA officials near department facilities — before the end of this fiscal year. It must reconcile its current midyear shortfall of $16.9 million by June 30.

The proposals must be approved by the transit agency’s board of directors.

John Hanley, president of the union representing city firefighters, said the SFMTA should focus on larger issues to tackle its budget problems.

“Ticketing cars parked outside of some fire stations isn’t really the answer for the enormous budget problems we’re facing right now,” Hanley said. “They need to look at the bigger picture.”

The SFMTA, which operates Muni, is contemplating transit service reductions and fare increases to help offset its current and upcoming budget deficits. And it has reviewed a plan to extend payment hours late into the night and on Sundays for its 24,000 parking meters, although that proposal has yet to move forward.

 

Cracking down on free parking for city workers

Proposal    Revenue estimates
Eliminate free street parking for government workers    $615,000
Eliminate areas of nonenforcement near city facilities    $1,319,000
Eliminate free parking for city employees in public garages*    $324,000
Have SFMTA provide universal placard for all city departments    $368,000
Adjust rates for existing SFMTA-issued permits    $223,000
Adjust rates and improve management of press passes    $183,000
Eliminate free parking for SFMTA employees near facilities*    $600,000
Install meters to fill gaps around SFMTA facilities    $466,000

* If approved, would go into effect this fiscal year

Source: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency


wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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