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SFMTA announces improved SFpark pricing strategy for city-owned garages

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Contact: Paul Rose
415.601.1637, cell

SFMTA Announces Improved SFpark Pricing Strategy for City-Owned Garages
First two garages to see implementation will have some hourly rates decrease

SAN FRANCISCO (April 4, 2011) —The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all surface transportation including the Municipal Railway (Muni), today announced that it will begin applying the SFpark approach to setting parking rates at City-owned garages participating in the SFpark project, the SFMTA’s two-year federally funded pilot of new parking management technologies and approaches.

As part of the improved pricing approach, the Agency also announced specific rate changes to be implemented this month at the first two garages to receive new SFpark rates: the Moscone Center and Lombard garages. Along with signage, paint, and lighting upgrades, demand-responsive pricing will make parking in City garages in the SFpark pilot areas more appealing, and make rate setting at garages more transparent. All rate changes will be posted on one week prior to the change. Customers who wish to be notified directly may sign up for an e-mail alert at

“Circling for parking accounts for approximately 30 percent of San Francisco’s congestion,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “SFpark makes parking easier to find and pay for and will reduce double-parking and circling, while reducing congestion, air pollution and delays on Muni.”

“By improving the pricing and customer experience at SFpark garages, the SFMTA expects more drivers to head straight to garages rather than double park or circle for on-street parking,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., Executive Director/CEO. “More importantly it will help those who are parking get to a spot, pay and get on to their destination.”

To attract drivers and to increase the availability of spaces, rates at garages will vary by the time of day and will be adjusted quarterly in response to demand. For the first two SFpark garages to undergo the demand-responsive pricing, hourly rates will decrease or stay the same, depending on time of day, beginning this month. The rate changes were based on evaluation of the occupancy in these garages.

The new pricing policy also introduces off-peak weekday discounts to encourage customers to drive and park when there is less traffic, easing congestion and clearing the streets so that Muni can move faster and more reliably during peak times. The garages that currently have weekday early bird discounts will keep them in addition to the off-peak discount. Both off-peak and early bird discounts, however, will use the same time requirements: arrive before 7:30 a.m. and depart after 7 p.m. Early bird discounts will work the same way they always have, requiring that a driver arrive at the garage before 7:30 a.m. and exit after 7 p.m. in order to receive the early bird rate. Off-peak discounts are designed to be more flexible. Drivers only need to park for three hours to receive the discount and they can combine the discount with validation from local businesses.

On March 30, the SFMTA completed signage, paint and lighting upgrades at the Moscone Center Garage at 255 Third Street. These improvements create a more welcoming garage that is easier and more convenient to use. All participating garages are slated for similar SFpark upgrades in 2011.

The SFpark Project

SFpark combines new parking management technology and approaches to make parking in the City more convenient. This is done using smart demand-responsive pricing and providing drivers improved real-time information about where to find parking both in garages and on-street.

If drivers choose to park on the street, they will have longer time limits and new meters that make it easy to pay. By managing parking so that it is easier to find, drivers will circle and double-park less. This will help to keep streets clear for Muni and emergency vehicles, make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Parking meter rates will vary based on time of day, and rates will be adjusted over time in response to demand. Rates will be adjusted on a block-by-block basis using the occupancy data provided by the parking sensors that have been installed in metered on-street parking spaces in the SFpark pilot areas. Meter pricing includes:

• Distinct rate periods: In order to improve parking availability in metered parking spaces, SFpark meters may charge different rates based on the time of day.

• Rates will respond to demand over time: Starting at traditional rates for parking meters (between $2 and $3.50), rates will decrease or increase by 25 cents no more than once per month.

• Rates will be adjusted on a block-by-block basis: This will help to redistribute parking demand more effectively within a neighborhood, thereby reaching target rates for parking availability.

• Special event pricing: Parking rates in areas around special events will range between 25 cents and $18 an hour. Initially, rates will be approximately $5 an hour for special events and will be evaluated later to adjust based on demand.

The new state-of-the-art SFpark meters are easy to use and allow drivers to pay with coins, credit/debit cards, and SFMTA parking cards. Later this year, drivers will also be able to pay parking meters via cell phone.

Click here complete details regarding SFpark’s garage pricing policy.

Garage Address Number of spaces
16th & Hoff 30 Hoff Street 98
Civic Center 355 McAllister Street 843
Ellis-O’Farrell 123 O’Farrell Street 925
Fifth & Mission 833 Mission Street 2585
Golden Gateway 250 Clay Street 1095
1610 Geary Blvd. 1,097
1650 Fillmore St.
Lombard Street 2055 Lombard Street 205
Mission-Bartlett 3255 21st Street 350
Moscone Center 255 Third Street 732
Performing Arts 360 Grove Street 618
Portsmouth Square 733 Kearny Street 504
St. Mary’s Square 433 Kearny Street 639
Sutter-Stockton 444 Stockton Street 1865
Union Square 333 Post Street 985


Established by voter proposition in 1999, the SFMTA, a department of the City and County of San Francisco, oversees the Municipal Railway (Muni), parking and traffic and taxis. With five modes of transit, Muni has approximately 700,000 passenger boardings each day. Over 35,000 extra vehicles enter San Francisco on any given business day, and rely on the SFMTA to keep the flow of cars, transit vehicles, taxis, delivery trucks, pedestrians and bicycles moving smoothly through the streets.