parkingmeter_generic1.jpgWhile the homepage for SFpark, the SFMTA’s pilot of new parking management technologies and approaches, leads with the sentence “Find parking faster. Pay more easily. Avoid tickets.” and further explains that their next-gen meters will help ” reduce frustration and the need for parking citations,” the rest of the SFMTA isn’t nearly as psyched about helping San Francisco drivers “avoid tickets” — in fact, they want to write you more.

According to the Ex and the Chron, Muni is expected to end the year on a $21.2 million deficit. The solution? More parking tickets, the MTA says.

The agency expected $99 million in parking ticket revenue, but they ended up collecting $11.6 million less than that, due to a decline in the number of tickets issued and is a sign, MTA spokesperson Paul Rose told the Ex, that “many motorists are wary of picking up parking tickets.”

Which seems to be exactly the hoped for result of SFpark, which is presently deployed in 6,000 of San Francisco’s 25,000 metered spaces.

The meters, which also “collecting and distributing real-time information” on parking, will perhaps come in handy as the MTA tries to figure out how to, as the Ex quotes Rose as saying, redeploy parking enforcement ”to bring in the most revenue for the agency and the city.”

Fans of SF parking drama might recall similar hand wringing regarding a drop in parking citations this time last year, when “the city flooded the streets with additional parking control officers in the last two years, the number of parking citations has been on the decline, prompting city officials to take some of the ticket cops off the streets.”

Yup, it was Jan 8, 2010 when the Ex’s Will Reisman said that “that hiring surge did not stem an ongoing slide in annual parking citations — which peaked at 1.9 million in the 2005 fiscal year — and is projected to drop to 1.6 million this fiscal year.” Which, whoops, try $10 million more than that, guys!

In in article no longer findable on the Ex site, but referred to by Rob Anderson on his blog, as of November 5, 2010, the MTA knew that parking ticket revenue continued to trend down, saying that “parking control officers have handed out fewer citations during the past few months—$7.5 million less than expected, to be precise” and that at that time, the agency was “putting together a recovery plan to see if it can still meet its projections for the year, which would require more tickets to be issued during the next several months than planned.”

Looks like that recovery plan wasn’t much of a success, that shortfall in parking ticket projections has increased by more than $4 million in the two months since that Ex report.

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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