Status of Proposal to Charge Court Fees

The RPD proposal to approve an ordinance to institute a $5 PER HOUR fee to reserve Tennis and PICKLEBALL courts has moved forward towards final approval, requiring passage first with the RPD Commission, before final adoption by the SF Board of Supervisors.  The proposal applies to all reservable courts on the new REC Court Reservation system and does not apply to the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center.

Open play courts, like Sutter and Larsen are exempt from fees and will remain FREE.  Venues with a mix of open & reserved play, like Presidio Wall, Rossi and Moscone will require fees during reservable court times, but remain free during open-play session hours.

RPD brought in the new REC system to stop certain practices and behaviors that have plagued the Spotery Court reservation system for years:

  1. Multi-booking aliases – same user with multiple logins – often referred to as “bots” that would grab multiple courts
  2. Reserved court “no shows” – users that decide no to show up, but fail to cancel their reservation for another to book
  3. Instructor abuse of court reservations to secure access to courts for private lessons.

Great benefits, and things Tennis has been complaining about.  It is no wonder the proposal is endorsed by the SF Tennis Coalition.  BUT to solve these problems, the new system comes at a cost, and charging court fees is one way RPD has chosen to pay for the software. In addition RPD still has no way to measure “no shows” now nor will they be able to in the future – measuring success will remain anecdotal.

To be fair, one additional public benefit is this revenue from reservations can also help to fund future net equipment replacement purchases, such as the policy goal to replace tennis court nets every two years..

These benefits were enough to win approval for the ordinance at the May 2nd Operations Committee, and moves the ordinance forward to the governing boards, despite overwhelming PB player opposition  via e-mail input at the meeting. Unhappy players have already started a petition effort to oppose the proposed ordinance.

While fine for Tennis, the proposal has limited benefits for our PB Community.

First off, PB play does not have a “No Show” problem.  Second, PB instructor use of free PB courts is relatively limited, and a new RPD “coaching program” lesson module that requires lesson revenue sharing should eliminate any instructor abuse.  The new system will also be unable to measure “no show” activity and substantiate any improvements.

So other than funding some minor equipment replacement, RPD has provided little justification for including Pickleball in their fee ordinance.

We are requesting that you express your opinion to the RPD Commission and your local SF Supervisor to discuss the proposed ordinance and to at least remove the Pickleball reservation fee until RPD can quantitively demonstrate that fees do provide actual benefits to OUR Community.

Write a personal email or attend the upcoming RPD Commission meeting on May 16.


Thanks for your support.

{Email addresses of RPD Commission and each Supervisor]

District Supervisor email
1 Connie Chan
2 Catherine Stefani
3 Aaron Peskin
4 Joel Engardio
5 Dean Preston
6 Matt Dorsey
7 Myrna Melgar
8 Rafael Mandelman
9 Hillary Ronen
10 Shamann Walton
11 Ahsha Safai