SFMTA Plans Major Expansion of On-Street Car-Share Parking Spaces

Curbside parking spaces reserved for car-share vehicles could become much more widespread in San Francisco under a proposed expansion of the Municipal Transportation Agency’s on-street car-share pilot program early next year.

A curbside car-share space at Valencia and 17th Streets. Photo: ##http://sfpark.org/2011/10/04/sfpark-launches-on-street-car-sharing-pilot/##SFPark##

Last August, the SFMTA implemented 12 on-street pilot spaces with the non-profit organization City CarShare. Now the agency is planning an expansion of more than 100 spaces, which may include multiple private car-share companies, SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin recently told a Board of Supervisors committee.

The SFMTA estimates that every car-sharing vehicle replaces up to 15 privately-owned cars. During the first pilot, residents in some neighborhoods opposed converting street parking to car-sharing spots, since they saw it as a reduction in available car parking. Reiskin said the agency plans to use data to make the case for converting future spots and win over skeptics.

“Flipping the understanding of — it’s not just taking a parking space away, but it’s potentially freeing up parking because people aren’t going to need to have their cars in that area — that’s where we need to go,” said Reiskin.

The SFMTA has learned a few lessons from the first pilot, said Reiskin, including the need to provide better signage and enforcement to prevent drivers from parking private vehicles in the spaces, a problem most prevalent in busy commercial districts.

SFMTA planners also aim to increase awareness and visibility of the service to “seed demand” in neighborhoods which, according to City CarShare, currently have very little car-share demand. Under the first pilot, the SFMTA added a car-share spot in the Bayview neighborhood after D10 Supervisor Malia Cohen complained that shared cars were too few and far between in the southeastern part of the city. While the spot didn’t necessarily see high usage, Reiskin said, a wider distribution of spots in the area could drive a “critical mass” of car-share use.

Cohen, who called a hearing on car-sharing at the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee, said the lack of demand for car-share in her district could be attributed to a lack of outreach by the SFMTA and car-share companies to non-English-speaking, lower-income residents.

“In many of our outlying neighborhoods, that of which I represent, we haven’t seen the same level of success,” said Cohen. “I believe there’s significant room for us to work more collaboratively with departments and car-sharing companies to expand the overall access.” Reiskin and representatives from City CarShare said they would make efforts to expand outreach in the area under the new pilot.

  • voltairesmistress

    I think providing this type of parking free of charge is a good idea, but also a transient one.  Car share is already a great way to reduce one’s personal transportation
    costs.  Getting people to try it and realize those savings is perhaps the hardest part.  Once enough people are enrolled and parking congestion reduced, the city should make all drivers pay for parking — whether their private car or a shared car.

  • Sebraleaves

    Why is there no interest in CarShare programs in the BayView? Are you kidding? That makes as much sense as bicycling to a Niner’s Game at Candlestick. Are you really going to bicycle out after dark?

  • Anonymous

    Awesome. These spaces are far better than car-share spaces which are tucked into confusing garages, where the first order of business is figuring out which 3-point turns are needed to get out. 

  • Jim Frank

    Love this idea! As a regular carshare user I would love to know that in any given block there is likely to be a CS car that I could use.

  • Tahoe

    What!???

    I just got off a Caltrain in the dark – a Caltrain that had 60 cyclists on it. One of 20 trains tonight that will have that many cyclists.

    Not to mention the Niners usually play …. Drumroll please … IN THE DAYTIME!

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