Two double-parked vehicles force a bus to change lanes on Mission Street.

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.

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Alexander Mullaney is a journalist and publisher in San Francisco. In 2008, he founded The Ingleside Light, a monthly neighborhood newspaper with a circulation of 10,000. In The Ingleside Light he reports on community affairs and publishes the work of both local and student journalists and photographers. He sits on the board of directors of the Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse, the Ocean Avenue Association, and the San Francisco Neighborhood Newspaper Association. In the summer of 2013, Mullaney organized and managed two community journalism courses for youth with City College of San Francisco and the non-profit Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse. The pilot program paid students stipends, offered both high school and college credit, and published their articles and photographs in The Ingleside Light. He intends to find funding to offer the program in 2014. Mullaney holds a bachelors degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University. He is studying multimedia and longform writing at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. He plans to use his time at graduate school to expand his reportage to produce stories for the public good.

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  1. Hmm, could it partially be because they keep allowing buildings to go up without enough parking for the tenants? The supes seem to be under the delusion that if a new residential place doesn’t have enough parking spaces that the tenants will opt for bikes or public transit. No, they’ll park on the street and the fight for parking gets that much tougher.

    1. It’s pretty obvious this has nothing to do with residents parking and accessing their homes. In fact, if anything, even fewer street spaces and more yellow zones would probably help the double-parking problem a lot. Private-car drivers still will double park no matter how many off-street spaces they get because driving everywhere gets them into an entitled mindset. Ticket the heck out of ’em.

  2. They’ll park on the street until they start getting ticketed! Kick up enforcement and maintain the city’s transit first policy, please.

    1. Transit first is a nice idea, but the city doesn’t have the infrastructure to pull it off. One can get just about anywhere in the city via car in half an hour. For me to get from my home in the Mission to the museums in GGP via public transit takes an hour and a half. Without fixing the existing transit and adding far more routes than there are currently, it’s just not feasible and people will continue to drive.

        1. It can. I used to live in the Inner Richmond, and it took me at least 50 minutes to get to Portero and 17th, in the mornings. Sometimes up to 1 hour 15 minutes.

          Either way, a car is quicker. I can get to GGP in about 20 minutes in a car from my spot in the Mission.

          1. I just mapped it. With 19 total minutes of walking, 3 train changes(including bart), and perfect timing, I could get there in 48 minutes and that was the fastest trip listed. Good luck making that schedule if you have a child or two with you.

      1. I can get from the mission to GG park in 30 minutes by bike quite easily.

        bike is often the fastest way to get anywhere in the city, especially since I can park my bike directly at the location i’m going to.

        1. I agree, and I also bike from the Mission to GGP – but it would be much safer if there weren’t so many double-parked vehicles along the way!

  3. Well, let’s start with the churches that on Sunday morning in the Mission simply double park with impunity. From Folsom, to Mission, to everywhere else. When you call the police, they simply refuse to do anything. Even when you cite the Mt. Davidson & Mt. Soledad Cross cases, the US Supreme court refusing to hear the appeal of the later in June of last year. If you are a church you are given a pass, but rightly, everyone else gets ticketed.

  4. SFMTA refuses to ticket, much less tow, vehicles parked in the active traffic lane next to the median on Guerrero Street every Sunday and at some other times. They, and Supervisor Wiener, are well aware that some churches insist that they have a divine right to park there, endangering other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
    Now that Scott has been inconvenienced by a delivery truck, perhaps he will pay more attention (we’ve been begging for years) to this dangerous situation in his district.

    1. hear hear. I live by cornerstone church on 17th next to mission police station and they park up and down guerrero when and where they want without care for the neighbors they inconvience. they park infrequently wed nights, friday nights, sat nights, and of course Sun. If people need to go to church they can carpool or take a bus like everyone else. they have two private lots that they park AND still take up public streets. No permits, no rent nothing. they should encourage there worshippers to take the bus or carpool and stop bother your neighbors!!!

      1. You’re not allowed to criticize the church-going double parkers because “they’ve been doing it forever” and that’s a golden ticket to keep doing it, just like all the other issues in the Mission nobody will do anything about (crime, gangs, urine).

  5. It is too bad District 9 Supervisor Campos does not take any interest in the quality of life issues effecting his district. He must think it is normal behavior to park wherever you want, commit crime, live in filth, use the sidewalks as a bathroom, be in a gang & harass/murder people, do nothing to upgrade the community, or for that matter, improve yourself.

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