San Francisco News

Free Sunday parking ending in San Francisco

Thursday, December 27, 2012
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A long-standing parking policy in San Francisco is ending and it may catch many people off guard. If you live, work, or visit the city beware that this is the last Sunday you will be able to park at a meter on Sunday for free. The Municipal Transportation Agency says it has netted about $2 million a year, but they also say it's not about the money. They say it's about management, parking management.

The first parking meter in San Francisco was installed on Bush and Polk Streets back in 1947 and ever since then, Sundays have been sacred. But that's about to come to an end. "Well, in the 1940s, a policy was put in place to allow for free parking on Sundays because most businesses were closed. Nowadays, about 70 percent of businesses are open so it makes sense to have some sort of parking management in place," said Paul Rose with SFMTA.

"I like the idea. From 12 to 6 right? Because it keeps traffic moving," Robbie Connolly said. He owns the Village Grill in the West Portal neighborhood and says on Sundays, people often park all day long in front of his business while they take Muni downtown. He welcomes the change, but at the hair salon down the street, not so much. "Not good for the merchants, basically because I think the customers would like to have a little break, to not worry about the meter," said Frances Pao at The Grateful Head salon.

All 29,233 parking meters run by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will operate on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. "Sunday is supposed to be a free day isn't it? So, that's going to be a very awful thing to do," one woman said.

All the meters have been redesigned to take pre-payments for up to four hours at a time. The SFMTA hoped that would satisfy religious leaders who are worried about parishioners bolting from service to avoid a ticket. Executive Director of the Interfaith Council Michael Pappas believes the new policy could make going to worship more costly and less convenient.

"Maybe having to pay for meters on Sunday is going to impact either their decision to come back or what they are going to give back to the faith communities," he said.

In the January, the MTA will be issuing warning, not citations.

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