Ever since the city started enforcing parking meter rules on traditionally-free-parking holidays they’ve been rolling in extra profits. Because of the decision, which most people either find impossible to believe or don’t know about, motorists reportedly drop serious cash in parking citations.
As the Chron reports in July 2009, when the SFMTA got rid of free metered parking on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Veterans Day, the agency made an additional $1.5 million ($660,000 from parking meters, $820,000 from parking tickets).
The program was such a hit, the MTA then added Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Columbus Day and the day after Thanksgiving to the no-longer-free-meter list, bringing in $2.9 million last fiscal year ($1.2 million in parking meters, $1.7 million in tickets), the Chron reports, based on the MTA’s Holiday Parking Enforcement report dated tomorrow, October 14, 2011.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day remain free metered parking days.
But not everyone is psyched about the SFMTA’s windfall: Jim Lazarus, the public policy director for the SF Chamber of Commerce, tells the Ex that “fooling drivers into thinking that meters are not being enforced because it’s the Fourth of July is wrong. Holidays are supposed to be excluded from meter enforcement — if the Fourth of July isn’t a holiday, what is?”
However, SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose maintains to the Ex that that by enforcing meter payment on holidays, it’s actually doing a service to SF’s economy, as it’s much easier to park if you have to pay than scramble for free spot.
Says Rose to the Ex, “Low parking availability on high-demand days when many people visit San Francisco is bad for our economic vitality and our transportation system.”