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SFMTA announces final Mission Bay parking management strategy

The SFMTA has completed the final Mission Bay parking management strategy, detailing future parking management plans in the area north of Mariposa Street, east of 7th Street, and south of Bryant Street. The SFMTA thanks everyone who participated in the planning process, especially those who took the time to submit comments or discuss policy ideas at community meetings.

CLICK HERE to download the updated parking management strategy (PDF)

CLICK HERE for more information about the project

This document addresses three key topics: 1) special event pricing to better manage parking demand during large events; 2) extended meter hours to open up evening parking, particularly during evening baseball games; and 3) meter installation schedule for meters approved in 2002.

At our last community meeting, we received input on a variety of options for implementing longer operating hours and special event pricing. After extensive consideration and some difficult choices, we have completed the parking management strategy for Mission Bay. Determining the best way to manage parking in a developing neighborhood with anticipated high demand was a primary issue during policy development. Parking demand in Mission Bay is extremely high during special events, many of which occur in the evening, but demand is currently much lower on non-event evenings on many streets because the area is still developing. Parking demand, including evening demand, is expected to increase significantly over time as Mission Bay is built out.

This strategy is intended to meet current and future parking management goals for Mission Bay and prioritize consistent customer interface.

Key details include:

1. Operating hours as of spring 2013

2. Time limits

  • Meters in Mission Bay will have either no time limit or a 4 hour time limit

3. Rates

  • Demand-responsive pricing will be used to ensure that the SFMTA uses the lowest rate possible to achieve parking availability goals, as low as $0.25 per hour where warranted. Rates will be adjusted periodically based on parking demand data. The adjustments are incremental, going up by no more than $0.25 per hour and down by either $0.25 or $0.50 per hour with each adjustment.
  • Rates will begin at $1.25 per hour on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and go down to $0.25 per hour after 6 p.m. Weekend rates will start at $0.25 per hour.

4. Special event pricing

  • Demand-responsive pricing is also applied to special event rates, so that the rates per block during special events eventually accurately reflect parking demand.
  • Special events start at higher rates due to the extremely high parking demand during events such as Giants games. During special events only, the SFMTA will start on-street parking meter rates at $7 and $5 per hour, depending on proximity to AT&T Park. The goal of this policy is to reduce the extreme congestion associated with special events. The SFMTA will periodically review the effectiveness of these rates and raise or lower them incrementally to find the lowest rate possible that ensures that there is some minimum level of parking available, even during special events.
  • Download the special event rates map here.

Community members provided many helpful ideas for consideration, and some were included in the final strategy. Two concepts discussed at the last public meeting but not included (or only partially incorporated) in the final document include:

  • Providing a resident discount on special event rates. Unfortunately, this concept would not manage increased parking demand during special events, particularly in areas north of the Channel that are already developed. The goal of demand-responsive pricing is to achieve parking availability, and the policy will not work if certain drivers face different prices. This concept is also not logistically viable, as there are technical limitations to implementing this type of discount, and there would be no way to design such a program to fit the precise intent of providing a discount only to certain people at particular times. Additionally, many residents acknowledged that they accepted the high demand for on-street parking during special events as an inevitable outcome of living near a major attraction.
  • Phasing implementation of evening hours to enact longer hours only when particular blocks are fully built out and occupied. One concept considered was only operating meters in the evenings on days with special events, and/or phasing the implementation of evening hours based on parking occupancy triggers. The SFMTA weighed a variety of phasing approaches in light of the ongoing development of Mission Bay. Ultimately, the SFMTA believes that consistent operating hours, with very low rates during low demand times, is the best approach for parking management in Mission Bay, both now and in the future. This approach, rather than implementing longer operating hours in a piecemeal fashion, will allow the SFMTA to manage parking demand during special events, provide a consistent user interface in the area, and clearly communicate meter operating hours to current and future drivers in Mission Bay. Because parking regulations affect household transportation decisions, putting parking management tools in place now is essential to support the development of Mission Bay and its transportation patterns as a dense, mixed-use area. Demand-responsive pricing provides the flexibility to price parking at very low rates (down to $0.25 per hour) where parking demand is currently low, and allows rates to evolve as the neighborhood grows.

Implementation timing
Implementation of the above program will be divided into two parts, ultimately aligning SFMTA and Port of San Francisco rates and regulations.

Some new SFMTA parking meters will be installed this summer, as outlined in this map. Their initial operating hours will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and Sunday hours of noon to 6 p.m. will be added at the end of the year as part of a citywide policy change. Because the primary purpose of longer meter operating hours is to allow for special event pricing at parking meters, the SFMTA will not implement longer operating hours until early next year, anticipated in March 2013, ahead of the primary special events season. In summary, meters will be installed now with typical operating hours, and the SFMTA will implement evening hours and special event pricing in early 2013.

Existing and future Mission Bay parking meters in the Port of San Francisco jurisdiction (generally east of Third Street) will be adjusted to reflect the hours of operation and rates outlined in the above bullets 1, 2, and 3 in early August. Special event rates will be maintained at $5 per hour into the fall of 2012. The Port will complete meter installation for Illinois Street between 16th and Mariposa Streets, and Mission Bay Boulevards North and South in the next few months.

Please write to ParkingPlanning@SFMTA.com with any questions. We will continually update the Mission Bay project web page with implementation details as they are available.