Solving Cities

How San Francisco makes parking easier, streets safer

Posting in Cities

A new parking program in San Francisco is making parking easier, and streets safer for those who don't drive. Find out how.

Parking is a headache in most cities. But San Francisco is working to make parking easier for people who drive -- though they'll pay for it -- and safer for those who use other forms of transportation.

This spring the city rolled out a pilot parking program, SF park. Newly installed parking meters, along with road sensors will track where there are open parking spaces and the real-time parking data is made available on smartphones and online, reducing the amount of time spent driving around looking for parking.

The goal is to create open spaces on virtually every block. To make that possible, parking meters are priced based on demand. Each month parking demand on every block will be reviewed and prices will increase or decrease based on demand.

"Right now at our garages and lots it's more expensive than it is on streets, so people have every financial incentive to circle around looking for parking, which is exactly what we don't want to happen," said Jay Primus, SF park manager on a recent Streetfilms video. "So we'll be lowering prices in garages and lots to make those relatively more attractive. The whole goal is to get people off the streets and matched up with parking spaces as quickly as possible."

Watch the Streetfilms video to see how it works:

Photo: SF park

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure