Time is running out for meter-free parking in some San Francisco areas 

Free on-street parking would become even rarer with the possible installation of as many as 4,000 new meters in Mission Bay, the Mission district, western SoMa and around local college campuses.

The meters would be part of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s SFpark program, which soon will set parking rates based on demand. Last year, the agency agreed to add up to 5,000 new meters. About 1,000 have already been installed, and today the agency’s board will vote on a $22 million contract that could yield 4,000 more.

The agency is studying where to locate the meters, spokesman Paul Rose said. In addition to the aforementioned neighborhoods, another area under consideration is Showplace Square, near the confluence of Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 101.

Larry Bugseon, who works at an apartment complex there, said most residents are used to parking for extended periods of time on city streets. “It could definitely get expensive for people in the neighborhood if they have to constantly feed the meters,” he said.

Indeed, starting next month, the SFMTA will begin using data from parking sensors to charge more at busy parking spaces and less at underused ones. Hourly prices now range from $2 to $3.50, but prices at SFpark meters could range from 25 cents to $6.

Tom Radulovich, executive director of the urban planning advocacy Livable City, said new meters in the proposed neighborhoods — all communities that have grown considerably in the past decade — would be a good thing.

“You’re seeing these areas becoming much more commercialized, so encouraging parking meter turnover is smart,” he said.

But Steven Currier, president of the Outer Mission Merchants and Residents Association, said most commercial streets there already have meters. “They would be adding meters to residential streets,” he said, “and people would be up in arms about that.”

Mission Bay resident Corinne Woods said parking there is already limited, and meters could make the situation worse. “But Mission Bay was always supposed to center around transit use anyway,” she said.

Rose didn’t know when the new meters would be installed but said the agency will conduct public hearings before proceeding. The SFpark technology, designed to make parking easier while also increasing agency revenue, would also feature multiple payment options and extended time limits.

If all 4,000 meters are added, the number of paid street parking spots in San Francisco would grow to 32,500 — an 18 percent increase. There are 280,000 spots without meters.


Where the meters could go

The SFMTA could add as many as 4,000 new meters to neighborhoods in San Francisco.

Neighborhoods and areas being eyed by the SFMTA for the new meters:

  • Western SoMa
  • Showplace Square
  • Mission Bay
  • Northeast portion of the Mission district
  • Areas surrounding college campuses

Source: SFMTA

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