CA Guv Hopeful: Let’s Not Extend Parking Meter Hours in a Recession

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has snagged some high-profile support for his nascent California gubernatorial bid, but he may have some trouble with the transit-riding, congestion-weary constituency. My colleagues Matthew Roth and Bryan Goebel have the story over at Streetsblog San Fran:

gavin_newsom_thumbs_up.jpgSan Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom Photo: Gawker

Mayor Gavin Newsom has been quietly pressuring MTA Chief Nat Ford to
delay or prevent proposals to extend parking meter hours on weeknights
and Sundays, despite a looming mid-year MTA budget deficit and studies
that show it’s good policy, Streetsblog has learned. …

"The Mayor thinks it’s the wrong time to make these moves," said Nathan
Ballard, Newsom’s communications director. "Right now, with the economy
where it is, the burden on ordinary people for city services is already
stretched to the max, and so he hasn’t seen anything that convinces him
otherwise. He’s open to arguments, but he’s still where he was."

The "we can’t change policy in a bad economy" argument is familiar to Capitol Hill transportation watchers, who saw the Obama administration use the recession to rule out a gas tax hike or per-mile vehicle fee earlier this year.

But in Newsom’s case, as Matt and Bryan point out, San Francisco is lagging behind its fellow major cities when it comes to charging for parking. In Los Angeles, where voters will soon be looking at Newsom’s credentials, meters remain on until 2 a.m. New York City keeps meters on until midnight, and Washington D.C.’s stay on until 10 p.m.

And with the city transit authority facing possible fare hikes or service cuts in the wake of a budget deficit, it’s tough to see how not extending parking meter hours doesn’t hit non-car-owning voters where it hurts.

  • Ian Turner

    To be fair Newsom has also overseen the closure of Market St. to private automobiles and dramatic plans for new bicycling infrastructure in the city. My guess is this parking meter thing is meant to appeal to Los Angelinos, who will love the idea of more free parking.

  • clever-title

    Why does parking become free overnight? The subway doesn’t stop charging at night?

  • JK

    Important story, but the NYC midnight metering is inaccurate. NYC has around 76,000 metered parking spots. Probably at the most 1,000 are metered until midnight, those most likely around lower Manhattan night clubs. Probably 70,000 spots are metered until 6pm or 7pm.

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