I am a big fan of data generally, and especially data that is made available for public consumption. Even though politicians can (and do) produce reasons to ignore data, it is still valuable to collect it. Data-driven, fact-based decision-making is always preferable to hiding behind a politically expedient anecdote of choice.
That’s one reason I was excited that SFpark launched this past week, generating a continuous open data feed that tracks the location and quantity of available parking in the handful of identified pilot neighborhoods. Consider the following maps of the Fillmore and Mission, screenshots from Friday night:
(Links to all Friday maps: Financial District, South of Market, Civic Center/Hayes Valley, Fillmore, Mission, Wharf, Marina.)
And another set of screenshots for the Financial District and South of Market, taken at 12 noon on Sunday:
(Links to all Sunday maps: Financial District, South of Market, Civic Center/Hayes Valley, Fillmore, Mission, Wharf, Marina.)
The MTA will monitor occupancy on each block and adjust the parking meter rate periodically based on demand. To ensure that at least one parking spot is available per block for the most part, pilot blocks that are at least 85 percent occupied during certain periods of the day will be targeted for a rate increase during those time periods. In the screenshots above, stretches of block marked in red, with less than 15 percent of spots available, are those high-demand spots that would theoretically be targeted for a rate increase.
One conclusion that can be derived at a glance? That the market price for parking in the evenings and on Sundays in these pilot neighborhoods is higher than what is currently being charged (which is zilch). When parking is free, motorists have little incentive to vacate parking spots in a timely fashion. Another good reason to revisit extended parking meter hours?
(No, this is not a groundbreaking revelation. Yes, there was already data supporting agency staff’s previous recommendation to extend meter hours. Yes, that data was ignored by squirming politicians.)
One objection in Oakland to extended meter hours was that they instituted 2-hour limits at a time when people wanted to go to movies and such. That should be avoided.
What’s with the weird scrolling interface on SFPark? That’s just bizarre.
Are there any reports of people checking the accuracy of SFPark?
SFPark is one of a couple of great things the SFMTA has done (TEP being the other great thing that comes to mind immediately).
They really should be actively charging $6 per hour regardless of what day of the week or time of day is when a special event occurs in the area. For my Rincon Hill neighborhood, that means any time there is a special event or ballgame at AT&T ballpark or a fireworks thing at the Ferry Building or near Piers 30/32. The additional revenue generated could help pay the $10,000 per intersection it costs to paint pedestrian yellow/white/whatevercolor ladders in the crosswalks and otherwise help make SoMa less of a death trap for those of us who would rather leave our cars parked and walk instead.
Al: yes, relaxing meter time limits is part of the plan. Some places will have 4 hour time limits, and others won’t have any limit. For some people the high price will be enough incentive to leave the spot promptly; other people who don’t mind paying more will have the option.
Jamie: I’m interested to see how it goes with the $18/hr special event rate.