Hundreds of on-street parking spaces will be set aside for car-sharing vehicles this fall as part of a city-led effort to reduce private-car ownership in San Francisco.
Companies like Zipcar and City CarShare will be allowed to reserve up to 150 spaces apiece, with another 150 potentially available next year. Wheelz, which specializes in peer-to-peer transactions involving personal vehicles, and Car2Go, a startup that features one-way car trips, could be included later.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which manages parking in The City, hopes its effort leads to more walking, biking and public transit use. It said one car-sharing vehicle can replace as many as 13 private vehicles.
“Car-sharing reduces household vehicle ownership rates, parking demand, vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions,” said transit agency spokesman Paul Rose.
Each company that wishes to participate in the program must meet a number of requirements to secure the spaces, which would be at both metered and nonmetered spots. Cars have to be available on an hourly basis, with daylong or weeklong rentals banned to allow for maximum usage. The cars also must be available at least 75 percent of the time, a quota that could affect businesses such as Wheelz, whose members use their vehicles while also loaning them out. And the companies might be required to provide ridership data to the transit agency.
After an 18-month pilot period beginning sometime this fall, the transit agency will decide whether to extend the program.
Each space will cost $225 in the extended downtown core, $150 in neighborhoods bounded by Interstate 280 and 19th Avenue and $50 in the outer communities of the Bayview, Sunset and Richmond districts. Each company will be required to have 15 percent of its vehicles available in the outer neighborhoods. There are more than 280,000 on-street parking spaces in San Francisco.
Many of the car-sharing vehicles are currently available in off-street lots, but those spaces are quickly becoming replaced by development projects. Jason Henderson, a professor of urban planning at San Francisco State University, said his Hayes Valley neighborhood has seen many car-sharing spaces disappear because of those developments.
“I think it’s great that the SFMTA is making car-share vehicles more accessible,” said Henderson. “These cars are a great complement to The City’s transit-first policy, but a lot of times only certain residents know about them. This will make them much more visible.”