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Muni Presents Plans for Residential Parking Permits, Statewide Legislation and Route Improvements

Presentations on parking permits, speeding camera legislation and Muni Forward dominated the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Citizens’ Advisory Committee Nov. 3 meeting.

Residential Permit Parking Program Overhaul

To improve the parking experience in an increasingly cramped city, Muni is updating its Residential Parking Permit program, a system of preserving spaces in residential areas that has remained largely unchanged for 40 years.

Kathryn Studwell, a senior administrative analyst with Muni’s Sustainable Streets Division, presented the agency’s work on plans to update its permit program.

Currently split into 29 permit areas covering 25 percent of the city, with 95,000 permits issued annually, the program updates are meant to improve the understandability of parking signs and permit area boundaries, resulting in fewer tickets and frustrated drivers, as well as decreasing the number of cars attempting to park on the street.

In order to discourage households from buying additional parking permits, the team is considering creating a graduated cost scale so that the first permit costing considerably less than the second, third and fourth permits. Under California law, the agency would not be able to raise the prices of permits in order to profit from the program, according to Studwell.

Studwell’s team is also considering reducing the number of permits per household allowed from four to two, or one per drivers license.

The council did not pass any motions in response to the RPP presentation.

Muni’s State Legislation Plan

Of the four categories of Muni’s legislative priorities going forward is the legalization of speed enforcement cameras in California.

While red light enforcement cameras are allowed in California, speed enforcement cameras are not.

San Francisco’s interest in the legislation is for the cameras’ use to reduce traffic speeds as part of Vision Zero, a program to reduce traffic fatalities in the city to zero by 2024.

Although this is the third year that Muni has attempted to have speed enforcement cameras legalized in Sacramento, a bill has still not been introduced.

While not ecstatic about the agency’s chances this year, Kathryn Angotti, a senior government affairs analyst, said there was reason for hope this time around.

Angotti’s hope is based on the agency’s work approaching interest groups, such as civil liberties, law enforcement and motorist groups, before any legislation is introduced and the interest in the legislation from a coalition of large California cities.

If legislation is successfully introduced and passed, Angotti estimated that there will be a six year roll-out process, involving one year for installation and five years of tracking data from the cameras.

Signs would notify drivers about the cameras and the tickets would not result in points on the victim’s driver’s license.

Shared mobility, transportation funding and parking policy, the agency’s three other legislative priorities, were not discussed in great depth.

When asked about TNC and Google Bus legislation, Angotti said that Muni is not planning on introducing legislation of its own, but will track any legislation introduced by other stakeholders.

Muni Forward Capital and Service Changes

Sean Kennedy, manager of Muni Forward, presented an update to a series of Muni Forward projects meant to improve the system’s safety and reliability.

In addition to adding 33,000 hours of service in the past year, Kennedy said the agency has completed transit projects all around the city.

Kennedy adamantly defended a proposed changed to the 19-Polk to shift the line away from City Hall and eliminate two nearby stops

One member of the public said that the move would mean library patrons would have to walk an extra three blocks.

The move was meant to avoid a tricky merge along a one way street that has led to traffic accidents with Muni vehicles, Kennedy replied.

Meeting Recap

  • After a few rounds of public outreach, Muni employees are putting together an updated version of the Residential Parking Permit program.
  • Muni’s legislative arm is laying the groundwork for legislation to legalize speed cameras across California, as part of the agency’s Vision Zero efforts.
  • Sean Kennedy presented an update to the agency’s Muni Forward campaign.
  • The council passed a motion suggesting that Muni’s paratransit department publish its on-time performance rate in monthly reports.
  • Mark Bellew, a council member, delayed a vote on a motion suggesting the agency cease the Dolores Street Median Parking Pilot Program.
  • Frank Zepeda, a council member, presented a brief update from the Engineering, Maintenance, and Safety Committee’s latest meeting.

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