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

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Agnes Liang, who will be a senior at Mission High School, is running for one of the two student representative seats on the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Turbulent year on school board leaves student delegates undeterred

Around this time last year, Shavonne Hines-Foster and Kathya Correa Almanza were… Continue reading

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Three people killed in SF shootings in less than 24 hours

San Francisco police were scrambling Saturday to respond to a series of… Continue reading

Muni operator Angel Carvajal drives the popular boat tram following a news conference celebrating the return of the historic F-line and subway service on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Mayor, transit officials celebrate return of Muni service

Mayor London Breed and city transit officials gathered Friday to welcome the… Continue reading

San Francisco police investigated the scene of a police shooting near Varney Place and Third Street on May 7. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD shooting may prompt new body camera rules for plainclothes cops

Police chief says incident ‘should not have happened’

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference about a $12 billion package bolstering the state’s response to the homelessness crisis at the Kearney Vista Apartments on May 11, 2021 in San Diego, California. (K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
Newsom promises sweeping change in California’s $267-billion budget

John Myers Los Angeles Times California would embark on the most ambitious… Continue reading

Most Read