To those city drivers dragged into teeth-grinding anguish by this morning's KQED report that SFMTA is hiring 14 new meter maids to take your money, there's some soothing news coming out of Sacramento: Free parking at broken meters is now state law.
S.B. 1388, which takes effect next year, doesn't make that promise either. However, a policy change must pass through the Board of Supervisors, which would have to approve an ordinance or resolution to limit or ban parking at broken meters.
In addition to L.A., several other big cities like Seattle, Vancouver, Denver, and Houston don't allow parking at broken meters. The idea is to create disincentives for vandals who might break meters so they can park for free.
Our city's current policy, which California law now mirrors, says that you can park at a broken meter for free for as long as the posted time limit allows. The SFMTA website is pretty clear about this: "If a meter is broken you are allowed to park at that meter for the posted time limit. To report broken meters, call 415.920.4090." By contrast, Oakland appears conspicuously vague about broken meter policy. From the city website's FAQ section: "Q: What do I do if a parking meter is broken? A: Make a note of the meter number and call (510) 238-3099 to report the broken meter."