Courtesy photoThe SFpark app was designed to help reduce traffic by giving drivers information on available parking spaces in their vicinity

SFpark losing real-time street data

The City's SFpark app will lose its real-time information feature for on-street parking occupancy beginning Monday, but the service will continue to be available for garage parking.

The loss in real-time data, which is due to parking-sensor batteries being drained, comes as the pilot phase is being evaluated through spring 2014. Transit officials say key services of the parking app feature have included demand-responsive pricing, longer meter time limits and meters that make it easier to pay.

“We are still working through the evaluation, but based on preliminary information, longer time limits and additional options to pay for parking resulted in fewer citations and cheaper parking rates at meters and garages,” said Paul Rose, a spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Rose said under the pilot, garage parking rates in The City dropped 11 percent, while meter rates decreased 5 percent. In addition, parking citations dropped from 1.9 million in 2007-08 to 1.5 million today.

SFpark, which launched in 2011, has won a dozen awards and been downloaded by 23,000 iPhone and 6,000 Android users. The app aims to reduce traffic by helping drivers find parking spaces citywide.

The sensors are an emerging technology and “have a great deal of potential,” Rose said, but officials will finalize the pilot evaluation before determining whether to include them moving forward.

The SFMTA will continue to conduct rate changes in response to demand to find the lowest possible rates. The program goal is to ensure a minimum number of open parking spaces on each block, as well as to reduce double parking and circling.

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