Free Parking Ending in SF With 4,000 New Parking Meters On Their Way

It won't get any easier to find parking in San Francisco under a new plan to add more meters -- but it will get more expensive!

By Chris Roberts
|  Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011  |  Updated 3:13 PM PDT
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Free Parking Ending in SF

Scott Weber

So long, free parking -- it's been good to know you.

Many a sad song or otherwise farewell ballad will be sung in Mission Bay, the Mission District, western South of Market and around the city's college campuses -- as well as the "I just got a parking ticket" blues -- if the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency goes through with a plan to install 4,000 new parking meters in areas where parking is currently gratuit.

The influx of new meters is a continuation of the agency's SFPark program, in which the SFMTA voted last year to install a total of 5,000 new meters. A $22 million contract to install 4,000 more meters could be approved as soon as Tuesday, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

With new meters comes new -- as in higher -- prices to park as well. The older-style meters still seen in some SF neighborhoods charge $2 to $3.50 an hour to park, but the new-style SFPark meters use variable-pricing, which means they can charge as much as $6 an hour.

The parade of people toting quarters out to their cars every few hours is either very good or very bad, depending on who you ask.

"Encouraging parking meter turnover is smart," says Tom Radulovich, a transit and bicycle advocate who is executive director of urban planning nonproift Livable City, according to the newspaper.

Steven Currier, president of the Outer Mission and Merchants Association (where parking meters are still to this day scarce), says the plan means meters would be added to residential streets. "People would be up in arms about that," Currier told the Examiner.

If all 4,000 proposed meters are built, there would be a total of 32,500 paid parking sports in San Francisco, an increase of nearly 20 percent. There would still be roughly 280,000 spots without meters, the newspaper reported. Reserve yours today!

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