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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

SFPark Debuts Today -- Cost Will Eventually Range From 50 cents to $18 an Hour

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 8:15 AM

Credit or debit, San Francisco parker? - SFPARK
  • SFPark
  • Credit or debit, San Francisco parker?
The good news: San Francisco parkers will finally be able to pay for on-street spots with credit cards. The bad news: You could eventually be shelling out 18 bucks an hour.

Today marks the debut of SFPark, a nearly $25 million project that could make San Francisco the petri dish of parking.

The big changes -- backed by some $20 million in federal funds -- begin today with the unveiling of 190 shiny new devices in Hayes Valley. Eventually, 20 percent of the city's parking spots will be involved with SFPark.

For now, the only difference in the way parking works in this city will be the credit card-ready meters. But that will change as early as next year, when parking rates will be priced according to supply and demand.

In order to maintain an optimum parking vacancy rate of 15 percent, the price to park will fluctuate from as little as 50 cents an hour to as much a six bucks. During "special events" that top rate could triple to $18. Electronic signs and smartphone apps will also direct drivers to open spaces, which will be monitored by a system of sensors beneath city streets.

The project has been touted as an environmental boon that will cut down congestion and circling the block hunting for spaces. But it has also drawn the admiration of conservatives enamored with a market-based parking solution -- meaning it has the potential to both unite drivers across the political spectrum -- or infuriate everybody.

Only time will tell.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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