Nope. That’s the exact number of parking spaces in San Francisco, including all street spaces and spaces in public parking lots. It took the city about 18 months to figure it out (I’m a little curious about how they did this, but that’s a story for another day). And now that it’s done, the MTA is implementing a new program called SFPark.
What is SFPark, you ask? It’s a whiz-bang new system that is described like this on the MTA website: “UsingÂ sensors, newÂ meters, andÂ real-time parking data, SFpark takes the guesswork out of parking in the City. These elements work together to make parking easier to find and more convenient. This benefits drivers, Muni riders, bicyclists, pedestrians, visitors, residents, merchants and more.”
Translated out of PR-speak and into real-life speak, it raises prices for parking when demand is high and lowers them when demand is low, it lets parking-seekers use an iPhone app (Droid coming soon, according to the site) to locate vacant spots, and also allows people to pay with credit cards as well as the handy-dandy parking meter cards and coins.
The pilot program is launching in eight neighborhoods in the city: Civic Center, Hayes Valley, Fisherman’s Wharf, Mission, Fillmore, Marina, Financial District, and SOMA. Next up: the rest of the city.
This is but one element ofÂ congestion pricing, which is on the move throughout the Bay Area and in large cities around the world. London, Singapore and Stockholm already charge drivers to enter the city during peak hours, and New York considered charging drivers to enter Manhattan, but that plan was squashed in 2008.
Will you ever have to pay to drive into downtown San Francisco during rush hour? My crystal ball is in the shop, but if you have thoughts about it, let us know.