SFMTA Responds to PT Editor
March, 2009Editor, Parking Today:
This letter is in response to the comments made about SFpark in your column in the January 2009 issue of Parking Today.
You are correct in pointing out that disabled placard abuse will be an issue during the upcoming SFpark pilot projects, just as it is in most other major American cities. As part of the SFpark program, we are exploring and evaluating better ways to manage the disabled placard program, while continuing on a path toward managing parking in San Francisco intelligently, coherently and strategically.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is working diligently with a broad coalition, including disabled advocacy organizations, to ensure that the program continues to provide access for people with disabilities and also minimizes or eliminates the fraudulent use of disabled placards.
This undertaking includes possible changes to state legislation in concert with other California cities, working closely with the Department of Motor Vehicles, which administers the issuance of disabled placards and development improvements to enforcement deployment strategies.
As part of this process, we have recently completed a best-practices review that identified several strategies used across the nation that California and San Francisco may wish to adopt.
Developing consensus around a solution and advancing that legislation will take time, but we are committed to addressing this critical issue in parking management
We appreciate your comments and look forward to your continued interest in SFpark.
Nathaniel P. Ford Sr.
My concern was that San Francisco has issued so many handicapped permits, which allow unlimited free parking, that the results of its tests concerning Don Shoup’s free-market approach to parking pricing would be skewed since, conceivably, a majority of parkers would not be paying for parking and then the test would be deemed a failure.
SFMTA’s approach, while admirable, is steeped in bureaucracy-speak. The path it is taking will consume months if not years. In the meantime, the trial program will be in place and data that are received will be of little value.
The only solution in this case is to withdraw all handicapped permits and reissue them under a proviso that makes them not so valuable: i.e., they must be paid for, by someone.
Since these permits are free, the black market in them is legend, and no solution will really work. Building constituencies, changing laws and all the commitments in the political world won’t help.