San Francisco-owned garage rates offering better deals than street meters

Beth Laberge/Special to the S.F. Examiner“It turned out that before SFpark

Beth Laberge/Special to the S.F. Examiner“It turned out that before SFpark

Since The City introduced its nationally recognized SFpark system last year, parking rates at city-owned garages have fallen by 20 percent — with many lots now cheaper than nearby street meters.

Rates at some garages are now as low as $1 an hour throughout the day.

Parking rates at 14 of the 20 garages run by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency are determined by availability and demand. So prices drop when occupancy is low.

#link_box { width: 175px; height: auto; margin: 0; padding: 0; margin: 10px 20px 10px 0px; padding: 10px; background-color: #fbfade; /* ecru – light yellow */ border: 1px solid #343a25; /* green – for summer arts */ float: left; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; } #link_box img, #link_box a { border 0px; border-style: none; outline: none; } #link_box h1 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #8A0808; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 15px; text-align: center; } #link_box h2 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #000; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 10px; text-align: center; } #link_box ul { list-style: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; border: none; } #link_box li { margin: 0px padding: 0px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; } #link_box li a { display: block; padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px; /* Padding for bullet */ /* border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; */ color: #000; width: 100%; width: auto; /* height: auto; */ /* border: 1px solid blue; */ margin: 0px; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 14px; text-decoration: none; } #link_box li a: before { /* background-position: top left; */ } #link_box li a:hover { background-color: #ddd; color: #000; }

For instance, at the Performing Arts garage on Grove Street near Gough Street, rates are $1 an hour throughout the day. At the nearby Civic Center garage on McAllister Street, parking costs $2.50 an hour between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. — 50 cents cheaper than meter rates — and prices drop to $2 an hour between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Even at the Sutter-Stockton garage, a mere block away from Union Square, motorists can park for $1 an hour before 9 a.m. Although the price jumps to $3 an hour between 9 a.m. and noon, that’s still cheaper than the $3.50 hourly rate at Stockton Street meters.

As the holiday shopping season ramps up, the agency hopes to highlight these deals. But motorists will have to act quickly. When overall occupancy rates rise at a garage, hourly rates increase by 25 cents, although the prices are not adjusted upward more than once a month.

“Few people realize just how cheap it can be to park in these SFpark garages,” agency spokesman Paul Rose said.

“Of course, the SFMTA would prefer that you take transit or walk or ride a bike, but if you’re going to drive, we want you to use these convenient, underutilized garages.”

This variable pricing model is only one aspect of SFpark, which also permitted use of parking meters for more than two hours and includes smartphone applications that let motorists pay by phone and obtain live information about pricing and parking availability.

Donald Shoup, an influential UCLA professor of urban planning, said the cheaper rates are proof the system is working.

“The garages built by The City aren’t supposed to make big profits — they’re supposed to help business and customers,” Shoup said. “It turned out that before SFpark they were overpriced and underoccupied. Now that they’re cheaper, motorists should head straight for the garages.”

While the program has received plenty of plaudits — it recently was commended by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission — it also has its critics. Although the Transportation Agency calls it a parking-management tool, some residents believe its main objective is to raise money for the agency.

After the proposed expansion of SFpark street meters into new neighborhoods of San Francisco, a group called Eastern Neighborhood United Front was formed to oppose the program. Member Tony Kelly said he thinks the lack of meter time limits indicates that the agency isn’t really concerned with reducing congestion or increasing parking turnover.

“The SFMTA is totally fine with people driving into our city and using our streets as a commuter parking lot,” Kelly said. “They do all this double-talking about parking management, but really they just want your money.”
Rose begs to differ.

“By encouraging drivers to go directly to garages rather than circling looking for parking at meters, we are reducing congestion and clearing the streets for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and Muni,” Rose said.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocalSan FranciscoSFMTATransittransportation

Just Posted

A man walks past the main entrance to the Hotel Whitcomb at Eighth and Market streets on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Closing hotels could disconnect hundreds from critical health care services

‘That baseline of humanity and dignity goes a long way’

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. (Courtesy Salesforce)
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

The remnants of trees burned by the Dixie Fire near Antelope Lake, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. (Christian Monterrosa/The New York Times)
California’s wildfires invisible effect: high carbon dioxide emissions

This summer California fires emitted twice as much CO2 as last year

Stock photo
Latinos are dying at a lower rate than white and Black people in California. However, Latinos have had the sharpest increase in the death rate in the last month, rising from 2.4 deaths per 100,000 people in August to 4 per 100,000 in September. (iStock)
Who’s dying in California from COVID-19?

In recent months, those who are dying are younger

The numbers show nearly 14 percent of San Francisco voters who participated in the Sept. 14 recall election wanted to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom from elected office. (Shutterstock photo)
(Shutterstock photo)
How San Francisco neighborhoods voted in the Newsom recall

Sunset tops the list as the area with the most ‘yes’ votes

Most Read