"Akit is the man. He knows Clipper." (spenta)
"It’s a fantastic blog for any San Franciscan."
"Your blog is always on point, and well researched!" (Nina Decker)
"Everyone's favorite volunteer public policy consultant..." (Eve Batey, SF Appeal)
"You are doing a great job keeping on top of Translink stuff. Keep up the good work!"
(Greg Dewar, N Judah Chronicles)
"...I don't even bother subscribing anywhere else for my local public transportation info. You have it all..."
(Empowered Follower)
"If anyone at City Hall wants to make public transit better for all San Franciscans, it would be wise to follow Akit religiously...
or, better yet, give him a job."
(Brock Keeling, SFist)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Variable Meter Rates - San Francisco's BAD Idea

Are we San Franciscans at the boiling point? It seems to be that our city government thought of this "great" idea to replace our existing parking meter system with a meter program that will have variable rates for parking.

(I put quotation marks over "great" so you can replace it with other fine words like: stupid, idiot, and f***ed up)

The SF Chronicle reports that the meter rates can vary from as low as 25 cents to as high as $18 per hour. The highest rate will be used for areas nearby festivals, large concerts, and other similar large gatherings.

The Chronicle also reports that the SFMTA Board has UNANIMOUSLY given Executive Director Nat Ford the discretion to set rates and the authority to change the price. WHAT THE HELL? You give the guy who can't even control Muni the MASTER KEYS TO THE PARKING METER PROGRAM? The VILLAGE IDIOT should not get the powers to set rates, because all he'll do is mismanage the whole damn program and all that money will just fill-in for raises for his salary and make the Muni union happy that they are getting another raise directly from the taxpayers and meter profits.

There are a lot of doubts and questions to ask:
1. What is the criteria for setting these meter rates? For example, if the city wants to charge the $18 per hour rate, how many city blocks away from a major event will this rate be used? Where is the cut-off?

2. Will there be an independent audit of this new program to monitor fairness of the meter rates?

3. How can citizens get a fair hearing if they notice frequent abuse of higher rates and want to contest for a lower meter rate?

4. If credit cards will be accepted, what guarantees their protection in transmitting data to charge the card?

5. Just how safe are these meters? Will citizens eventually revolt and the expert hackers will hack the machine to cut the $18/hr. rate to a mere 25 cents?

6. Will there be additional enforcement of disabled parking placard and license plate abuse? (Since they get free parking regardless if it is a meter, timed parking limit, or green painted curb).

7. In what areas of San Francisco will generally get the lower meter rates versus the higher meter rates? (Currently: Downtown, Fisherman's Wharf, SOMA (including near the Ballpark), and even SFSU have higher rates versus other neighborhoods. These are well defined with maps showing the boundaries)

8. Will there be an easy way for citizens to find out what the meter rate is currently, and give an accurate prediction on when the rate may rise and fall? I.e. online, automated phone system, web cell phone access.

Citizens, it is your responsibility to also monitor the program's effectiveness. Use your cell phone camera and take pictures of any abuses to the system. Auditors will not always be out there, but the watchful eyes of citizens will. You can't always trust your local city government and the village idiots who run our city.

Readers, just something to think about:
In the Outer Richmond District of San Francisco, there is a pilot program offering the use of cell phones to be used to pay for meters. One would simply text message the meter code number and the money is added. The service will also text you when the meter is running low and give you an opportunity to "feed" the meter.

But thinking about this concept, isn't the chance to "feed" the meter ILLEGAL? It's illegal to park longer than the posted limit on meters, and "feeding" the meter with coins after the posted limit will get you a ticket (especially if the meter maids chalked your tires). So why is the city permitting cell phone users to also break the law?


murphstahoe said...

I agree. Let's just make it 10 bucks an hour to park, anywhere, and be done with it.

Whole Wheat Toast said...

i cannot wait until you're mayor and you kick nat ford out of office, that is bullshit. believe me, he is moneyhungry muh