On June 12th, SF Transit Riders put on a forum with SPUR and TransformCA called: Parking, A Temporary Problem? We had five experts present “tools” for making parking better, and then asked people to break up into groups. Over 75 people came to listen and to participate. Each person who came put on a sticker for each mode of transit they used, making for a colorful and inclusive way to tie people together.
Here are a few highlights of the forum:
Patrick Siegman from Nelson/Nygaard gave us the template for simple and effective parking policy:
- Set the price of parking at the lowest rate needed to make parking well used, but readily available (1-2 spots always open)
- Take a portion of the resulting parking revenue to improve public services in the blocks where the revenue is collected.
Some interesting ways of implementing parking benefits districts:
- Downtown Ventura: eliminated parking crush by instituting $.50-$1/hour parking, and taking the revenue and putting all of it towards better lighting and beautification.
- San Diego: started parking benefits districts where 45% of revenue collected goes to district where it was collected; 55% to the general fund.
- Laguna Beach, Oceanside, San Clemente: allow residents to pay annual parking permit for parking meter zones, but everyone else pays normal parking meter rates.
Lauren Mattern talked about the new pilot program to use 900 on-street parking spots for car and rideshare programs (GetAround, City Car Share and ZipCar are the three companies being tested). The goal is that making these programs more conveniently located will encourage more people to give up their cars, thus allowing for more parking for those who need cars. It should also decrease the time looking for parking and make it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians with less circling for parking.
Jean Young from TransformCa talked about GreenTRIP, a program that encourages development to build in ways that are more transportation friendly, either by locating the development near public transportation, by looking at reducing parking and traffic. She reminded us that demographics are supporting the idea that parking may be a temporary problem, as youth are not getting their driver’s licenses at the same rate as in the past (down 23% since 2009), preferring to be on their mobile devices to driving. In addition, the trend towards a sharing economy is also reducing the purchase and use of cars.
Jennifer Payne of ParkNow introduced the ParkNow app, which allows people to “book” parking in private lots before coming into congested areas. In that way, they spend less time circling are certain of finding a spot and knowing how much it will cost them in advance of starting out. This app works because many private lots, like in hotels, are underused much of the time. This is a way to make these lots accessible for parking.
Brian Stokle of Urban Life Signs gave his personal story of his daily dance with parking in the Mission (it includes going out at 10 pm or before 6am to make sure you’re not on the street cleaning side of the street) and suggested that a way to make housing more affordable and encourage less car use would be to make it easier for developers to build car-free or car-limited buildings. That would save about $50-$80K/parking spot, allowing developers to sell for less and allowing mid-level San Franciscans a chance to buy or rent in the City.
Finally, we broke up into groups and each group presented their ideas for helping parking in San Francisco. Here are some of the ideas from this enthusiastic group of individuals.
- Preferential parking for carshare (wait a sec—isn’t that the pilot program?)
- Business license could include 1-2 yellow parking loading zone spots per business for them to use as they wish.
- Expand SF Park to the rest of San Francisco where it makes sense. See evaluation to find out how astoundingly well it works.
- Resident discount on metered parking (see Laguna Beach, Oceanside for example)
- Remove curb cuts from residential units using their garages for other purposes.
- Expand residential parking to night time.
- Do the “One Less Car” challenge that was instituted in Seattle. A month without a car, and a prize at the end of the month. Check out Seattle’s current challenge: Walk, Bike, Ride
- Incentivize ownership of smaller and greener cars.
- Discounts from retailers when you take public transit. I get a transit discount at my haircutters b/c I take public transit to get there.
- Have bike and shower facilities at USF and UCSF to encourage faculty, staff and students to use bikes.
- Use loading zones as “drop spots” for cars, too.
- Increase fees for residential parking permits to encourage giving up cars.