Best and Worst Parking Deals in San Francisco

Union Square lots differ as much as 360 percent

San Francisco-based Urban Mapping has completed a study of local parking rates, and what they found could save you a bunch of money.

For instance, parking from noon to 2 p.m. for a lunch date near Union Square cost $18 at the St. Francis -- or only $5 at the underground lot beneath the park.

Are there are plenty of other places with big discrepancies between parking costs within just a few blocks of each other. The most expensive parking was found on Nob Hill, where a space can cost up to $17.75 an hour.

The good news for drivers is that equivalent peak pricing is still much higher in New York City. But then, New York City has a highly-functional mass-transit system. Good thing Muni, which regulates public parking in San Francisco, makes it much cheaper to drive in San Francisco.

While Urban Mapping hasn't released an application, you probably can expect data like this plotted on an interactive map on a certain popular smart phone from Cupertino pretty soon.

Photo by Eric Molina.

Jackson West wonders if in some places it isn't cheaper just to get a ticket.

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