Mayor Lee leads drive for free Sunday meters

Drivers in San Francisco who don’t like to feed parking meters on Sundays are in luck: The mayor doesn’t like it either.

Mayor Ed Lee has asked the Municipal Transportation Agency to suspend having drivers pay at the meter between the hours of noon to 6.p.m. on Sundays, which went in to effect Jan. 1 of last year:

“If were finally going to take comprehensive approaches to funding Muni, let’s tear off the Band-Aid we applied in more dire financial times that made our residents live a little more frustratingly and expensively.”

So far the transit agency has generated $6.5 million from Sunday meter enforcement, which includes $2.92 million in fines, reports the SF Examiner.

The new policy was just not about generating revenue, but also about updating its parking policies, said the Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin when Sunday meters were approved in 2012. Reiskin said enforcing parking meters onSundays would up free up spaces, especially in commercial neighborhoods.

A report last month from the SFMTA evaluating the first year of Sunday parking meter enforcement found there was more turnover at parking spaces, and that it was easier to find parking in commercial areas on Sundays.

Religious leaders and people attending church on Sundays were also not fans of paying meters. Churchgoers did not want to worry about having to feed their meters during services and celebrations.

Lee said during his State of the City address last Friday that it was time to stop “nickel-and-diming people at the meter” and to support recommendations from his transportation task force calling for two ballot measures this year — a $500 million general obligation bond and an increase of the vehicle license fee to 2 percent.

The mayor is also calling upon the SFMTA to permanently fund the free Muni for low-income youth program, which was also approved by transit agency’s board in 2012 as a 16-month pilot. The pilot is about to end on June 30, the last day of the current fiscal year.

The SFMTA board of directors will vote at an upcoming meeting whether to end Sunday parking meter enforcement and find new funding to support a permanent free Muni for low-income youth program.