Supervisor Wiener Urges City to Crack Down on Double Parking

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener at the Board of Supervisors’ land use and transportation committee hearing Monday afternoon expressed his concern that the city is inadequately enforcing double parking violations in the city.

Monday’s hearing, which was a follow-up to a hearing held in September 2013, was an opportunity for city departments to show how they have tackled the issue of double parking.

Wiener said double parking has led to the blockage of bike lanes and Municipal Railway routes as well as contributed to traffic jams.

He said he didn’t see much enforcement changes since the 2013 hearing.

While Wiener admitted that there are times when double parking is unavoidable and that commercial vehicles are allowed to do so under certain circumstances, he maintained that “double parking, to be quite frank, is absolutely rampant in San Francisco.”

Double parking not only causes traffic congestion, but can lead to serious accidents when bicyclists and vehicles attempt to get around a double-parked vehicle, Wiener said.

Camron Samii, enforcement manager with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, briefed the committee on how the SFMTA was handling double parking on city streets.

Samii said that while passenger vehicles are generally not allowed to double park unless there is an elderly or disabled passenger loading or unloading, there are instances when commercial vehicles are permitted to double park.

He said commercial double parking is prohibited if there is legal space available to park nearby, if the double parking creates a hazard, if there is no evidence of loading or unloading, or if the driver is asked to move but chooses not to move their vehicle.

However, commercial vehicles often do not move their illegally parked vehicles because they accept the $110 citations as a cost of doing business, according to Samii.

“Citation issuance doesn’t always achieve compliance,” Samii said.

According to SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose, double parking citations have risen from 1,472 in February 2014 to 2,495 last month.

Additionally, citations issued to double-parked vehicles that are blocking bike lanes have increased from 105 in February 2014 to 251 last month, Rose said.

Samii said, unfortunately, it appears that as the city creates new bike lanes, those lanes are viewed by some as an invitation to double park.

According to the SFMTA, the agency issued about 92 percent of all double parking citations since the 2013 hearing, while the San Francisco Police Department issued only about 7 percent of all double parking citations.

Wiener said he was disappointed with the Police Department’s lack of enforcement and said that without more consistent efforts, the city will continue to see double parking on the rise.

Wiener said it appears that without stricter enforcement, there is nothing to discourage people from double parking, since many drivers are simply asked to move along without being issued citations.

“There appears to be very little double parking enforcement, period,” Wiener said.

Samii said there has also been an increase in citations issued to drivers of tech shuttles, as well as drivers of ride-booking services such as Uber and Lyft.

He said the SFMTA is continuing to focus its efforts along the city’s busy Muni and bicycle corridors.

Eric Tuvel, program and design manager for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, said double parking endangers bicyclists who have to veer into traffic to get around cars.

At the 2013 hearing, Tuvel encouraged the city to create more separated bike pathways like the ones on Market Street, and on Monday he again urged the city to do more than just enforce the law.

Tuvel said the bike coalition has completed a two-month social media campaign, #ParkingDirtySF, which identified some of the worst cases of double parking so that enforcement could be targeted appropriately.

According to Tuvel, more than 500 responses were collected from people bicycling in San Francisco during the campaign, identifying 75 unique locations where frequent violations were occurring.

In addition, the bike coalition’s campaign helped identify specific recurring issues with delivery trucks and ride-booking companies.

“I don’t think we can enforce our way out of this issue,” Tuvel said, again asking the city to consider engineering and education tactics, as well as enforcement.

The top locations that the bicycle coalition determined to be hot spots for double parking were Valencia Street, Market Street and The Embarcadero between the Ferry Building and Pier 39.

The SFMTA also found that since the 2013 hearing, vehicles double-parked on Mission Street received more citations than any other street in the city.

Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

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  • Hillman

    One of the main culprits are Uber/Lyft drivers waiting for passengers. I know this because I drive for Uber. But the core problem are the passengers who keep us waiting. I wish people would be ready curbside for their rides. I also wish Uber would allow us to cancel and be paid after one minute waiting, not 5 minutes.

    • lunartree

      They are a culprit, and they should be cited. Lets be real though, it’s also the moving trucks, random vans, the pizza guy, some dude waiting on his girlfriend, etc. Drivers in general in this city think it’s alright to just stop wherever they want, and it’s the cause of a lot of traffic. That traffic creates congestion that not just a pain for drivers, but also dangerous to walk or bike through.

  • PWo

    If anyone at SFMTA is reading this, 2598 Harrison Street has double parked food trucks every morning that block the road and the bike lane and make it impossible to see around the food trucks (being loaded with their food). There’s an elementary school here so while kids can’t see around the trucks, I’m mostly concerned with MY LIFE! Can’t cross the street safely, let alone ride a bike or drive a car.

    City could make some money fining the 4 or 5 illegally parked food trucks here every morning between 8 and 9:30.

    But then again, this is the Mission. And it is almost a lawless third-world city when it comes to first world world norms. (parking, cleanliness, respect for the law, etc.)

    • sfparkripoff

      Sure get rid of all of the food trucks. Then get rid of the delivery vehicles. How do you get food in an out city? Maybe we can grow everything that we need in public parks?

      • PWo

        ha, funny

        You’re missing the terminology. Food trucks — temporary restaurants on wheels that pop up all over the city. Delivery trucks — broadly, trucks that delivery things, including food.

        • Vegetarian Taliban

          First they came for the delivery trucks, and I said nothing, for I was not a delivery truck.

          Then they came for the food trucks, and I said nothing, for I was not a hipster willing to pay $6 for macaroni and cheese to eat in a parking lot from a disposable container.

          Then they came for the food, and I starved to death, thinking, “Oh, if only we were wise enough to listen to @sfparkripoff and vote Yes on Prop L.”

  • Dave

    I call bull. The recent uptick in double parking is no better exemplified than in Mr. Wiener’s own boondoggle and wildly unpopular revamp of Castro St. Its like this: most traffic lanes were originally designed by engineers with a scientific and statistical slant. So they put in multiple lanes and center lanes so that as vehicles broke down, pulled over, picked up passengers or otherwise did their work, there was room for traffic to pass by. Now with traffic lanes being managed by fanatical zealots, lanes are removed, congestion is created and then the zealots cry wolf.

    • sfparkripoff

      The City really botched up Castro street with that tacky redesign. What was once a wide open, inviting street is now closed off, claustrophobic, congested, and constantly backed up with traffic. The ongoing construction is BANKRUPTED local businesses and it is nearly
      impossible for fire trucks and ambulances to pass through the street
      because the traffic lanes have been narrowed down to one lane in each direction.

      Now that there is less distance between both sides of the street more
      people are jaywalking in front of traffic and there is not enough room
      for cyclists to safely pass cars. Every time a Muni buses stops it
      backs up it backs up traffic to Market Street AND stops cars in
      crosswalk at 17th and Market. The Red light at 17th street can back up
      auto traffic all the way down to 18th and Castro. The GIANT Tech buses
      are constantly stopping on Castro which causes a second set of backups
      along street. As a motorist I avoid the Castro like the plague because
      of the traffic nightmare. There are too many other places in the city
      that welcome me and my car.

      And it only costs taxpayers $4.5 Million dollars!How much cheaper would it have been to simply fix the potholes and repave Castro street? The unnecessary Castro street redesign was paid for by Proposition B. Prop B increased our property taxes to pay for the bonds and also permits landlords to pass through 50% of any resulting property tax increase to their tenants.

      Lets take a moment to thank Supervisor Scott Wiener, the SFMTA, and the Planning Department for raising our taxes and rents to prioritize rainbow
      crosswalks over public safety and efficient traffic flow.

      (clap clap clap clap clap)

  • Jesse

    Here’s a crazy thought. You make all parking on the sides of streets for only 15-30 minutes and anyone parking longer needs to find a parking garage. The reason why people double park is because they can’t find parking because cars just sit on the sides of streets all day.

  • sfparkripoff

    “The top locations that the bicycle coalition determined to be hot spots for double parking were Valencia Street, Market Street and The Embarcadero….”

    Ladies and Gentlemen, close your bibles, release the congregation, and turn off the lights. The almighty Bicycle Coalition has spoken and the rest of us must now bow at their feet and stop patronizing businesses in San Francisco. Is the Bicycle Coalition aware that older adults and children cannot be dropped off in the middle of the street? Since 2009 the SFMTA has removed nearly 4,000 parking spaces across the city which more people are being forced into double parking to load and unload passengers.

    Double parking is not the cause of Muni Delays. According to a Bay Citizen analysis tunnel traffic, automatically controlled by Muni computers, is a chronic source of train delays. The N-Judah line, for instance, was on time 52 percent of the time during the last six months of 2011. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Muni-fudges-on-time-performance-records-show-3684760.php

    There are no cars double parked in the Muni tunnels and the trains still arrive late and leave behind schedule.

    In addition, 2500 Muni drivers have filed a class action lawsuit against the
    agency because “Muni has a practice of designing its routes in a manner
    that makes it impossible for Operators to stay on schedule.”Reported by SF Weekly: http://www.sfweekly.com/sanfrancisco/late-fees-muni-drivers-class-action-suit-may-cost-the-agency-millions-of-tardy-dollars/Content?oid=2948881

  • joechoj

    Oh, how I look forward to separated bike lanes. When cars double-park they’ll only be blocking each other.
    It does seem, though, that there’s not adequate space devoted to loading/unloading zones. I don’t hear this talked about too much in street redesigns. Often center turn lanes are a good use of space, since they do double duty as bidirectional turn lanes, and loading zones. This can be a good solution in a 4-3 conversion where 4 car travel lanes become 2 travel lanes and 1 turn lane, and the extra space is used for bike lanes curbside.
    Dynamic parking pricing seems like it has to be part of the answer, so there’s high turnover on commercial streets with lots of deliveries.
    Also, are Muni buses/trams able to generate fines for lane violations via their on-board cameras?

  • sfparkripoff

    Maybe we should all ride on MUNI, the public transit system that City Supervisor Scott Wiener is in charge of maintaining

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyQAy8PzgZ8#t=88