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Say Goodbye to Free Sunday Parking.

As San Franciscans, we feel obligated to share any piece of advice that may save you from getting a parking ticket. Although we recently published a series of useful parking tips, we want to make sure that our readers are aware of the very latest change in the San Francisco parking system.

As of last Sunday (1/6/13), a long-standing parking policy in San Francisco has come to an end as the city joined many other cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Vancouver, Portland, Charlotte and Tampa, in requiring drivers to feed parking meters on Sundays. For the next three weekends, the city plans to hand out warnings instead of citations, as the historical change may catch a lot of people off guard.

Sunday parking

Most parking meters had been free in San Francisco since the city installed its first meter back in 1947 at Bush and Polk Streets. Back then, things were different, as the majority of businesses remained closed on Sunday. Today, about 70% of businesses are open, so introducing a parking management system seems to make sense.

In particular, by reducing the amount of time drivers search for parking, the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) is hoping to decrease traffic congestion, promote success for neighborhood businesses, reduce frustration for all motorists and, of course, finance MUNI improvements, as the Municipal Transportation Agency forecasted an extra $2 million a year.

Parking will remain free on Sunday until noon with the exception of the meters located in Fisherman’s Wharf, which will continue to operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and the meters operated by the Port of San Francisco around Fisherman’s Wharf and the Port, which already operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

To address the religious leaders’ concern that parishioners might miss service to avoid a ticket, meters have been configured to take pre-payments – in the form of cash, credit card, parking card or payment via cell phone – for up to four hours at a time.

Finally, meter rates on Sunday will be the same as they are on Saturday.

Image: courtesy of SFMTA

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