It's no secret that parking in the city is a bitch. So we've enlisted local parking guru and author of Finding the Sweet Spot, David LaBua, to dish out weekly tips on navigating the ins and outs of city parking.
The numbers have been crunched, the new parking meters and street sensors have been installed, the iPhone app has been created, and the switch has been flipped. The new parking experiment in San Francisco called SFpark has begun.
A description of it in a nutshell:
SFMTA will begin adjusting SFpark meter rates based on demand. It states that the goal is "to find the lowest hourly rate possible that creates at least one open space per block." How it will achieve this is by raising the prices of parking meters up to $6 for normal times and up to $18 per hour for special events such as baseball games. Real time parking availability and pricing information for SFpark pilot areas will be available to drivers via SFpark.org, and the SFpark iPhone app.
The pilot areas are:
Hayes Valley/Civic Center
There will be longer parking time limits of four hours or no limit in some areas.
Remember: The new law states that you may only park at a broken meter for its time limit up to a maximum of 2 hours.
The real time parking availability app upon first glance is very cool! You can see on a Google map, by neighborhood, where there is actual parking availability. Check it out at SFpark.org
$6 per hour and $18 per hour seems to be quite ridiculous and thus only making parking available for people who can drop $50 for a few hours without thinking twice.
Now that there will be 4 hour and unlimited time meters, the original purpose for creating meters, to create turnover for businesses, is officially dead. This, combined with the SFMTA official earlier this year stating that they will be giving out more parking tickets in order to reduce their deficit, makes it all out in the open that parking tickets and fees are a tax.
Parking tickets accounts for 57% of the total parking revenue in SF, and that number we can change for free by never getting a parking ticket again. Think it's impossible...click here and think again.
What I am afraid of is 100,000 people looking for parking and looking down at their phone while driving. The app is programed to pop up a warning screen and voice when the phone detects that the car is traveling at more than 10 miles per hour.
However, it does not render it functionless. It still works, but with the annoying warning covering up the screen every 10 seconds. So, now we will have 1/3 of downtown traffic looking down at the screen trying to decipher information, with a message interfering in the process. Two likely scenarios: this will inevitably be the cause of many more accidents, or it is going to slow down traffic to less than 10 mph so people can read their screens uninterrupted.
This is indeed a brave new world and the ultimate success or failure of this particular program will be based on public opinion, so please feel free to share your opinion below.