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:
And another set of screenshots for the Financial District and South of Market, taken at 12 noon on Sunday:
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.)