More free parking ideas for Hoboken
While the city of Hoboken is busy Googling “defending lawsuits,” “getting away with hiring friends and family,” and “political smear FAQ,” Hoboken411 and it’s readers are searching for ways to possibly improve the 35,520,904 square feet we call home.
Today, 411 reader Patrick found this great article about how San Francisco is “micro-managing” their parking situation, to determine the most effective way to improve parking without necessarily adding spaces. Sounds cool to me!
SFpark would micromanage city’s scarce spaces
Finding a legal parking space in San Francisco can be about as easy as tracking the Olympic torch during its recent stopover in the city: not very.
But city officials hope to change that with the pending start of SFpark, a pilot project intended to dramatically change the way people park in San Francisco’s commercial districts by linking technology and customer demand to better manage parking at street meters and in city-owned lots.
The demonstration project will cover 6,425 curbside spaces regulated by parking meters – about 25 percent of the city’s total stock – and the 11,677 spaces in lots and garages managed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
City officials hope to start the test program in September and operate it for at least a year. The agency’s governing board is expected to give the go-ahead at its meeting Tuesday.
The federal government will pick up the majority of the tab – $18 million of the $23 million budgeted – as one of a handful of demonstration projects around the country to combat congestion.
Officials hope that if they micromanage the parking supply, motorists will be less likely to drive around (and around and around) in search of a legal space.
If successful, backers say, SFpark will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help unclog the streets.
Continue reading the rest after the jump…
(San Francisco parking ideas, continued…)
“Officials also want to see whether they can generate more revenue from the city’s parking assets through smarter regulations and pricing policies.
The program does nothing to expand the parking supply. San Francisco’s long-entrenched policy calls for reducing reliance on the private automobile.
As SFpark is envisioned, parking rates would be adjusted based on time of day, day of week and duration of stay. People would be able to pay not just with coins, but with credit cards, prepaid debit cards and even by cell phone. If a meter is set to expire, a text message could be sent to the driver. More time could be purchased remotely.
People also would be able to check parking availability before arriving at their destination via the Internet, handheld devices such as BlackBerrys, or cell phone. Sensors would be embedded in the asphalt to keep track of when a parking spot is empty.
The technology isn’t new, but San Francisco would be the first American city to apply it on such a broad scale. That’s one reason federal transportation authorities took an interest and decided to help pay for the experiment.
“The idea is to give people more choice, more convenience and to reduce congestion,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Under the program, which will focus on 10 neighborhoods, the city will adjust hourly parking rates based on demand – the price will go up when spaces are scarce and go down when plenty are available.
People may be less inclined to drive during peak times if they know it will cost them more.
It’s the same congestion-relief concept the Golden Gate Bridge district is preparing to impose on southbound drivers during peak commute times. San Francisco also is studying the idea of charging motorists a fee for driving on certain city streets during rush hour.
SFpark won’t stop at tweaking parking rates. It also will adjust time limits. Drivers, for instance, may be allowed to park for no more than an hour in a particular neighborhood commercial district during the day, when shopkeepers benefit from high turnover, but may be able to park longer at night, so they can linger at a restaurant or catch a show. Hours of meter operation might be expanded.
“The adjustments can be made based on demand,” said Nathaniel Ford, head of the Municipal Transportation Agency.
How the added convenience promised by the mayor will affect the pocketbooks of motorists remains to be seen. While drivers may pay more for parking, they may save money on gas, which is nearing $4 a gallon, if their hunt for a parking space is shortened.
The neighborhoods targeted in the study will be closely tracked to see which technologies and policies make sense for drivers and in terms of the city’s goals of reducing congestion and turning a bigger profit on its meters and garages. A few areas will be designated as so-called control areas; rates and regulations there will remain as they are now for comparison to the areas where the changes are enacted.
Officials are eager to find out how parking restrictions and prices in a given neighborhood influence parking in adjacent areas. Will people be willing to walk another few blocks if they can spend less for parking? Will they pay a premium if they can park in front of their favorite restaurant?
Jack Taylor, who started driving more than 30 years ago, has spent countless hours circling the block in San Francisco looking for a parking space.
“I grew up in the Richmond District without a garage,” Taylor, a medical aide, said as he plugged a meter on Church Street. “I know how bad parking can be. If the city thinks it can make it better, then I’m all for it. We’ll just have to wait and see if it works.”
Demonstration parking program
City officials picked these locations – which have a variety of parking issues – to test a range of parking policies and technologies.
Downtown: Garages, on-street commercial loading zones.
Civic Center/Hayes Valley: Balancing needs of short-term visitors and workers looking for all-day parking.
Fillmore: Nighttime demand due to clubs and music halls.
Fisherman’s Wharf: Major tourist hub on weekends and holidays.
Southern Embarcadero: Special-event parking tied to the ballpark.
Chestnut and Lombard streets: Relaxing time limits and pricing parking by time of day and length of stay.
Mission and Valencia streets: Metered parking and lots, commercial district active day and night.
Union Street: Impact new meters have on parking availability.
Clement Street, Geary Boulevard and West Portal Avenue: Status quo control areas for comparison with areas where parking changes are enacted.
By the numbers
11,677: Parking spaces in city-run lots
6,425:Curbside metered spaces affected by the pilot project
$23 million: Parking test program’s budget
$18 million: Federal government’s share