SFMTA to Test On-Street Car-Share Parking Spaces

On-street car share pods in Portland, Oregon. Flickr photo: sfcityscape

Car share members in San Francisco could soon be picking up their vehicles from exclusive curbside parking spaces. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is launching a pilot program in mid-August to test at least ten on-street car share “pods” as part of its SFPark program.

“On-street car sharing pods (i.e., locations where users can pick up a car sharing vehicle) can encourage car sharing by increasing the visibility of car sharing, improving the proximity to trip origins, and increasing the total number of pods,” says an SFMTA document [pdf] on the pilot.

The pilot is a partnership between the SFMTA, the non-profit City CarShare, and the City Administrator’s Office and will include at least five confirmed pods on Polk and Greenwich, Taylor and Pacific, Harriet and Folsom, Valencia and 17th, and Clay and Fillmore.

If it proves successful, SFMTA CFO Sonali Bose said on-street car share spaces could be expanded citywide and rented by any car share company that fits the agency’s criteria.

The SFMTA says it plans to mark the spaces with paint and signage paid for by City CarShare, which would rent the spots for $150 per month and be responsible for maintenance.

The SF Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to the Transportation Code today that prohibits unpermitted vehicles from parking in on-street car share spaces. The SFMTA plans to produce stickers to mark permitted car share vehicles, the SFMTA document says.

All but one of the six originally proposed spots were approved at a public hearing on July 1 after neighbors voiced complaints about a spot to be located at Union and Hyde Streets. SFMTA staff said they would come back with an alternate proposal for the location, but the SFMTA Board of Directors is expected to green light the other spots in the coming weeks.

Bose said that five more locations, including the Glen Park and Dogpatch neighborhoods, are being developed after D10 Supervisor Malia Cohen voiced frustration that the southeast area wasn’t included during yesterday’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee meeting. City Administrator’s Office Fleet Manager Tom Fung said the spots were chosen based on criteria which included data on membership demand from City CarShare.

City CarShare, which aims to reduce automobile dependency and ownership, currently provides its members hourly usage of vehicles stored in hundreds of off-street pods throughout the Bay Area, located primarily in private parking lots.

In 2004, former Mayor Gavin Newsom opened several on-street “showcase” car share pods in front of City Hall, but they have been limited to that location.

Bose said that over the six-month pilot period, the SFMTA will evaluate pod usage, user satisfaction, and best practices before expanding to other locations.