San Francisco Moves Forward With Congestion-Busting Parking Reform

Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency gave the go-ahead Tuesday
to curbside parking reform that will encompass a quarter of the metered
spaces in the city — about 6,000 spots. Under the 18-month pilot,
called SFpark, the agency will vary prices for on-street parking and
city-owned lots based on demand, intending to reduce unnecessary car
trips and cut down on cruising for spaces.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports
that the target vacancy rate for curbside spaces will be between 10 and
35 percent. New technology will help monitor the results and set prices:

For example, the hourly meter cost would fluctuate between 25 cents
and $6. However, during special events, such as large concerts,
ballgames and street festivals, the charge could go as high as $18.
Currently, meters cost $1.50 to $3 an hour, depending on the

The executive director would also have the authority to change the
price according to location, time of day and day of the week, based on

The city would track parking meter use with a sophisticated system
of sensors embedded in the pavement. High-tech space monitors would be
deployed in lots. The hourly rates would not be adjusted more
frequently than once a month and would not go up or down by more than
50 cents at a time.

Drivers won’t have to worry about having enough nickels, dimes and
quarters to feed a meter. Instead, the city will install a new
generation of meters that will allow people to pay by credit card,
prepaid parking cards and, perhaps, cell phones.

When John Kaehny reported on SFpark
for Streetsblog this summer, he noted that "big city parking policies
have been based on a mixture of political pandering, myths and
half-truths." The data collected from San Francisco may go a long way
toward dispelling those assumptions.

In New York, the low price of curbside parking results in tens of millions of miles driven each year, according to calculations from Transportation Alternatives, which has urged the Bloomberg administration to take bolder steps on parking policy. For a city where even the more progressive pols grandstand on parking issues for populist cred,
shaping the debate is a big challenge. "The public has never heard a
good case as to why higher rates are beneficial," Kaehny said.

A pair of six-month DOT pilot programs in Greenwich Village
and near Kings Highway in Brooklyn could help change that, Kaehny told
us, by collecting data that will bolster the argument for raising rates.


San Francisco Launches Ambitious Parking Reform Program

San Francisco is lunging out of the parking dark ages. Backed by the mayor and city council, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is launching "SFpark," a comprehensive, curbside parking reform project encompassing ten city neighborhoods. Starting in September, the $23 million SFpark program will use an array of new policies and technologies to raise […]

Editorial: L.A. Parking Reform Can Start With Handicap Placard Reform

Lately, there is a lot of attention directed toward reforming parking in Los Angeles. Various solutions are in stages of implementation and discussion. The city of Los Angeles has pioneered a relatively sophisticated curb-parking pricing program called ExpressPark. ExpressPark uses technology and, mostly, variable pricing to respond to curb parking demand. One of the louder […]
The growth of L.A. County parking, currently 14 percent of county land. Image via Access magazine.

Parking Is Engulfing L.A.

When it comes to parking, rational people quickly become emotional, and staunch conservatives turn into ardent communists. Critical and analytic faculties seem to shift to a lower level when people think about parking. Some people strongly support market prices—except for parking. Some vehemently oppose subsidies—except for parking.