Clipper to roll out parking garage pilot program 

Motorists parking at five city garages will have a new tool at their disposal to pay for their spots.

Under a two-year pilot program, drivers will be able to use their Clipper card at The City’s Japan Center, North Beach, Vallejo, Performing Arts and Mission-Bartlett garages.

The Clipper card, formerly known as TransLink, is the one-stop media fare that regional officials say will one day be available on all 26 different transit agencies in the Bay Area. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the regional body in charge of managing the Clipper card, is also leading a charge to have the card pay for other travel services, such as car parking. On Friday, the MTC’s Operations Committee approved a $1.7 million contract amendment to create the Clipper pilot program in the five San Francisco garages.

Paul Rose, spokesman for the Municipal Transportation Agency, the city department in charge of the five San Francisco facilities, said the pilot program will determine whether the agency should roll out with Clipper card payments in other garages.

Rose said the MTA is still determining the start date of the pilot program, but once it’s launched, the parking feature will be available to anyone with a Clipper card who uses the five garages.

Although it has been in the works for over two decades, the Clipper card is only now beginning to be implemented on local transit vehicles. Five different transit operators, including the MTA and BART, accept the cards.

The MTA recorded an average of 18,575 weekday boardings of passengers using the Clipper card in the month of May, a total that represents a little less than 3 percent of the agency’s total ridership of 700,000.

The Clipper card pilot program is one of many new parking policies the MTA is currently developing. The agency is also experimenting with longer paid meter times, variable pricing based on parking demand, and is considering extending meter enforcement on Sundays and late-night weekdays.

Earlier this year, the city conducted its first-ever “parking census,” which determined that San Francisco had about 441,000 available paid and unpaid parking spots. Currently, about 25,000 of those spots have meters, although the MTA plans to add 1,300 new meters in January.

New payment option

A pilot program will allow motorists to use Clipper cards for payment at these city-run parking garages:

Mission-Bartlett    
Location: 3255 21st St.
Number of spaces: 350

Japan Center
Location: 1610 Geary Blvd.
Number of spaces: 920

North Beach
Location: 735 Vallejo St.
Number of spaces: 203

Performing Arts

Location: 360 Grove St.
Number of spaces: 618

Vallejo
Location: 766 Vallejo St.
Number of spaces: 163

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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