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The city’s price surge parking meters are spreading to the Richmond

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SFMTA says experimental meters relieve parking pressure by charging more

A gorgeous yellow parking meter kiosk on a sunny street. Zhu Difeng

For more than five years, the city has experimented with parking meters that increase or decrease rates based on demand to relieve pressure in constantly crowded corridors.

SFMTA says that it’s improved the parking mess in the Mission, the Fillmore, the Marina, downtown, South Beach and SoMa, Fisherman’s Wharf, Hayes Valley, and Mission Bay and now they’re extending westward into the Richmond.

Richmond Blog reports:

This week, the SFMTA reached out to Clement Street merchants to let them know that beginning July 1, 2017, SFpark, the city’s demand-responsive pricing program, will take effect at meters along Clement Street. [...]

For example, if 80% of the meters are occupied, the rate per hour goes up $.25 to $2.50 per hour. When it’s below 60% occupancy, the rates go down $.25 per hour to $2.00 per hour (at 60-80% occupancy there is no change).

Things gets a bit tricky, as morning, afternoon, and night prices are all different, as are weekend and weekday rates. Parking on Clement could drop as low as 50 cents/hour or as high as $8/hour, depending on what’s going on.

Drivers can check the price to park on certain blocks via a smart phone app. Or just park a few blocks further away if they’re able, which of course is the program’s principal goal.

Evaluating the federally funded test run of the project in 2014, SFMTA said that the amount of time that parking areas were no more than 80 percent full “increased by 31 percent in pilot areas, compared to a six percent increase in control areas.”

Also, “blocks that were too full to find parking decreased 16 percent in the pilot, while increasing 51 percent in control areas.”

Since then the city has tinkered with the formulas a bit but says that the program, dubbed SFpark, still drives parking congestion down.

Tony Webster