A Tale of Three Cities, Act Two


Reprinted from City Bike, "news, clues & rumors"; March 2002 <www. citybike. com>

Just kidding. But motorcycling just got more expensive for San Franciscans. On the first of the year, tickets for parking on the sidewalk went up from $25 to $50. As any long-time San Franciscan knows, increases in parking fines are always followed by vicious enforcement.

In response to this and other parking problems for motorcyclists, Marc Marchioli has formed the San Francisco Motorcycle Coalition (not to be confused with the San Francisco Motorcycle Club), and is trying to legalize parking on the sidewalk and otherwise improve the parking situation for motorcyclists. Some red zones, for instance exist in spaces which are too small for a car to park in without extending into the driveway, crosswalk or other prohibited area, but which are plenty large enough for a bike or two. Perhaps a new color, indicating "Motorcycles Only" would work.

Marchioli is circulating petitions as well as lobbying politicians. So far, Supervisor Mark Leno has emerged as a friend of motorcyclists, but Mayor Willie Brown has, so far at least, shown only arrogance.

In reply to a letter from Marchioli, Brown said, "Regarding your suggestion for modifying the Vehicle Code as to 'high efficiency vehicles, ' i. e. motorcycles, the Vehicle Code is in fact the California Vehicle Code, not the DPT (department of Traffic and Parking) Vehicle Code, which means it is California law and not sub-ject to modification at the local level.... If you feel strongly about changing the existing laws, you should contact your representatives in Sacramento."

Mayor Brown's letter ignores the fact that the City of San Francisco has already modified how it applies the law against parking on the sidewalk: Section 219.2 of the Department of Parking and Traffic Code allows bicycles and mopeds to park on the sidewalk. This, despite the fact that mopeds are vehicles, per the Vehicle Code definition.

Brown's letter denies that enforcement is ever anything but straightforward, and says that "Motorcycles pose a hazard by leaking oils and fuels and there is a dan-ger of them falling over on a pedestrian or child. They are subject to citation even if they don't take up much space as a car." He also assured Marchioli that there's always a reason for a red zone, even if it's not "readily apparent."

Supervisor Mark Leno is far more open to the Coalition's agenda, but makes it clear that legalizing parking on the sidewalk won't be easy. Leno, said in a letter to Marchioli, "Cyclists help our transit management and air quality by choosing not to drive cars, yet they are forced to park in between cars, illegally on sidewalks and have little support from the city. We need to create much more neighborhood cycle parking and add parking in business zones where cycle parking is needed. We should change the law to provide better parking alternatives, such as claiming curb areas for cycle parking that are too small for cars, allowing parking between metered car spaces, and promoting other alternatives where there may be oppor-tunities for progress.

"Sidewalk parking has been raised as an alternative that cyclists would like to see legalized and while this is intriguing, it has many hurdles that would need to be addressed. Current state law prohibits parking motorcycles on sidewalks and side-walks aren't cleaned regularly by the city like streets are, raising concerns about oil spills and management. Additionally, access for seniors and people with disabili-ties must be assured on our city sidewalks. There are aspects of sidewalk parking that make it an appealing prospect, but these issues would need to be addressed before legislation could make progress.

"I look forward to working with the cycle community to advance their agenda and have already asked that the City Attorney draft legislation to remove the ban on parking between cars at metered spaces. There are many changes that we can make in the short term as we look to a long-range agenda for change."

Marchioli already has more than 1,300 signatures on his petition, which you can sign at a number of motorcycle shops, or online at sfmotorcycleparking. com. Or call Marchioli at (415) 282-2139.

Sidewalk Parking Campaign -
Reported in Citybike, April or May 2002 <www. citybike. com>

On noon on June 17, The San Francisco Motorcycle and Scooter Coalition <www. sfmotorcycleparking. com> will present city hall with a petition demanding legal sidewalk parking in San Francisco. They hope to have 5,000 signatures on the petition by then, and the more motorcyclist who show up to deliver the petition, the better. They'll have a meeting n May 18 at the San Francisco Motorcycle Club (at Folsom and 18th) at 10am to organize the rally and the collection of signatures, many of which they already have.

Ted Strawser wrote us," Essentially we are hoping to spread the message that A) More accommodations for motorcycles are part of the solution to San Francisco's congestion issues, B) Motorcycles and motorcyclist are more vulnerable than autos and it is important to keep our safety at the forefront in city planning poli-cy, and C) Currently, motorcycles are being selectively targeted by DPT enforce-ment. We believe that we can effectively get our message out by staging a 1, 000 motorcycle rally to deliver our petition to City Hall."

Along with the sidewalk parking issue, the Coalition is asking the City to triple motorcycle parking spaces, and to exempt motorcycles from enforcement in two-hour zones.

The Committee, hearing no objection from Parking and Traffic people, sent the issue on to the full Board, which passed it unanimously on August 25.

The SMFC's Chris Gramly says, "The next goal is to do the same thing in non metered spaces. This legislation applies specifically to metered areas, and should be applied City-wide."

The SMFC is also looking into setting itself up as a non-profit organization, so it can handle fund-raising and apply for grants, Gramly told us.

The organization's meeting place has changed. It now meets (at 7pm on the last Tuesday of the month, as before), at the San Francisco Motorcycle Club, at 2194 Folsom St., near the corner of 18th and Folsom

Parking Victory!
City Bike, October 8, 2002; news, clues & rumors <www.citybike.com>

On August 8, the Board of Supervisors' Transportation Committee heard from the SFMC on the subject of changing motorcycle parking laws. Sponsored by Supervisor Mat Gonzalez, the new legislation would require the City to A) Replace existing motorcycle parking meters with a new style that will only require one meter for several spaces, B) Put up signs to the effect that parking a car in a motor-cycle zone is a towable offense, and C) Agree to consider motorcycle parking before painting a curb red.

From City Bike; November 2002 <www.citybike.com>

According to the San Francisco Motorcycle and Scooter Coalition's newsletter, "The Department of Parking and Traffic collects many different statistics through-out the year; one of those is the number of requests made for new/ more motor-cycle parking spaces in the City. We have to let them know the areas that lack suf-ficient motorcycle parking spaces. Contact the DPT Engineering Division at (415) 554-2300, and let them know where you need a parking space!"

The coalition meets every last Tuesday of the month, at the San Francisco Motorcycle Club, at 2194 Folsom Street, near the corner of 18th and Folsom.

Check the group's new web-site at www. sfmsc. org, or email them at info@sfmsc.org.