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Market Forces And San Francisco Parking

— A lot of traffic congestion in big cities is the result of people circling the block to find a parking space. Ten hours up the freeway in San Francisco they’re using sensors in the street to help people find spaces and discourage them for parking in high-demand areas.

Parking in San Francisco might get a little easier as a result of an experiment called SFpark.
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Above: Parking in San Francisco might get a little easier as a result of an experiment called SFpark.

The high-tech approach to parking is part of a plan called SFpark. The sensors determine where parking spaces are available and where they’re in greatest demand. Then the city can adjust the price you pay at the parking meter to reflect that. reports that prices at about one third of meters will go up this month by 25 cents to a high of $3.75 an hour, based on data gathered in the spring. Another third of meters will drop by 25-50 cents, to as low as $1.75 an hour.

There will be another price adjustment later this summer. We’ll soon know whether the new pricing schemes have affected the behavior of motorists, encouraging them to either park in different places or choose other means of transport. SFpark managers say the goal is to have at least one parking space available per block.

But there’s more!

SFpark street sensors can also tell you where there is an open space when you use the official website. Smart-phone geeks can also communicate with smart parking meters, and add money to the meter remotely, while they’re still lounging at a nearby restaurant.

Check out the video below for details.


SF Parking

High=tech parking in San Francisco

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