Supe steamed over ‘culture’ of double-parking

A San Francisco supervisor is not thrilled about how The City’s transportation agency is managing its enforcement of double parking.

At a hearing on The City’s effort to enforce double parking at the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee, Supervisor Scott Wiener said that double parking is absolutely rampant in The City:

“We have developed a culture of where many people think it’s appropriate to effectively leave their car in the middle of the street.”

Wiener said a single doubled-parked vehicle could cause traffic jams and delays for Muni:

“It is not uncommon to see a single-doubled parked causing a multi-block traffic jam in San Francisco. It’s not uncommon to see a double-parked vehicle block a Muni bus and even shut down an entire Muni line.”

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency not only oversees Muni but also parking and traffic enforcement, including citing double-parked private or commercial vehicles.

A report from the transit agency said that 22,072 double parking citations were issued in 2014 compared to 24,263 in 2013. Though the number of citations were lower compared to last year, it was not exactly good news.

Cameron Samii, the SFMTA’s enforcement manager, said the reason for the lower number of double parking citations issued in 2014 was because of a staffing shortage. SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said reduced staffing was due to attrition.

The report showed that double parking violations by commercial vehicles like delivery trucks decreased from 62 percent in 2013 to 52 percent. The number of citations issued to private vehicles though has risen from 33 percent to 46 percent.

Samii said that transit agency has done a number of actions including targeted enforcement on double-parked vehicles. He also said new and existing parking control officers are periodically reminded regarding The City’s double parking and bike lane violations.

He said parking control officers are told to not to ignore double-parked vehicles no matter what assignment, including those assigned to patrol the transit agency’s Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program.

Even Mayor Ed Lee got involved by asking police officials to crack down on double-parked vehicles last December.

Enforcement of commercial vehicles has had limited or short-term effects, said Samii. Commercial vehicles can only double park if there is no available legal space to park for loading and unloading purposes.

The SFMTA can cite commercial vehicles if they refuse to move into a legal space, creating a hazard for roadway users and bicyclists, not loading or unloading or blocking Muni.

Samii said some commercial vehicle drivers have now just accepted the citations as a “cost of doing business” in San Francisco.

Efforts though made by the SFMTA did not impress Wiener:

“I’m disappointed by the lack of double parking enforcement and the apparent lack of progress to improving double parking enforcement and making it more consistent. Unless we have consistent enforcement in double parking, we’re not going to see improvements.”

Wiener is asking for the SFMTA to return in two months with a plan on how it will improve its enforcement of double parking.