City Workers to Lose Parking Perk

By Matt Baume
|  Tuesday, Aug 31, 2010  |  Updated 7:52 AM PDT
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City Workers to Lose Parking Perk

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SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 16: A motorcyclist waits at a stop light October 16, 2007 in San Francisco, California. Motorcycle deaths are on the rise in California with 433 deaths in 2006, up from 275 in 2000. Officials estimate that deaths are up another 8 percent this year as sales of powerful motorcycle continue on an upward trend. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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San Francisco city employees have always had a sweet deal when it comes to parking -- but not for much longer.

While regular citizens bike to work or wrestle with Muni, municipal employees have been given incentives to drive, thanks to taxpayer-subsidized free parking. That perk comes in the form of free lots, reserved spaces, and placards that prevent the employee's car from getting a ticket.

About half of city employees drive to work, which amounts to about 13,500 people on the road every day. That's an unacceptably high number, causing significant traffic backups, air pollution, accidents, and lost revenue.

Muni employees will be the first to join private citizens in paying to park at work. Starting in December, their parking rates will be set at $80 per month, which is still on the cheap side for this city. In February, the city will begin issuing more such permits to all other city employees. Those permits will cost about the same price as a Muni pass.

That's sad news for city employees such as the firefighter who was caught parking a Porche in a red zone during a giants game, with a permit that expired years earlier.

The move was prompted by tough budget constraints at the agency. Earlier this year, Muni's union voted to give employees a multi-million-dollar raise, and so the city has had to find alternate revenue sources.

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