After waiting 20 minutes on the J streetcar because of a double-parked delivery truck, District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener stepped out to investigate. He found the offending delivery truck driver, four streetcars backed up and another issue to add to his list of needed transportation work.
At a hearing on double-parking at the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee Monday, Wiener discovered that beyond interfering with transit, double-parked vehicles create dangerous situations for bicyclists and pedestrians and confirmed his suspicion that enforcement is concentrated in downtown San Francisco.
Nowhere is double-parking more common than on Mission Street. In 2012, of the 22,860 double-parking citations issued citywide by the Department of Parking and Transportation, approximately 1,500 were given on Mission Street, making it the worst in the city, according to data presented by Municipal Transportation Agency’s Ricardo Olea.
However, if enforcement were more consistent across the city, the number could be much higher. Outside of downtown, about 30 to 40 $110 citations are issued a month on some commercial corridors and one every other day on others, according to Wiener.
Enforcement is not happening evenly across the city because there are not enough enforcement officers. Currently, there are 261 Parking Citation Officers, according to the agency’s Enforcement Manager Camron Samii. Approximately two dozen more will be hired at the beginning of 2014, which will bring the staffing level back to normal.
The San Francisco Police Department issues tickets for double-parking, too, but only to drivers who abuse double-parking, Commander Mikail Ali said. These tickets count as moving violations, which are more serious.
Between January and July of this year, 62 percent of citations were given to delivery trucks; 33 percent to personal vehicles; and the remainder of citations were given to limousines and motorcycles.
Regina Dick-Endrizzi, executive director of the San Francisco Office of Small Business, noted the importance of providing delivery trucks adequate parking, informed by her experience with the planning process for the redevelopment of Polk Street. She said it was important to give small businesses delivery access, and suggested the MTA extend SFPark to commercial vehicles.
District 3 Supervisor and Board President David Chiu asked the transportation agency’s staff to come up with suggestions to cure the double-parking “epidemic.”
Wiener asked the agency to re-examine its enforcement of double-parking.
“I’m not advocating we don’t prioritize Downtown and South of Market,” Wiener said. “I’m asking the MTA to give some thought to how we’re allocating our scarce enforcement capacity. People at least have a thought in their head that: ‘If I double-park, I will get a ticket.’”
For the mayor’s next question time at the Board of Supervisors meeting, Wiener will ask Mayor Ed Lee about what can be done about double-parking in light of what the hearing uncovered.