Updated with new version of the map here [PDF].
The SFMTA is rolling right along with its plans to reserve 900 on-street parking spots for car-share vehicles, which will bring a convenient alternative to car ownership to more of the city. The agency has published a draft map [PDF] of proposed car-share spaces throughout the city. The map isn’t final, but residents can start to get a sense of where they might see car-share pop up in their neighborhoods starting this year.
The SFMTA Board of Directors gave the green light to the first 25 car-share spots last week, with the rest expected to be approved in batches over the coming months. Dozens more spots have already cleared the first hurdle, having received preliminary approval at bi-weekly SFMTA public engineering hearings.
Car-sharing ultimately frees up more parking spaces. A growing body of national research shows that each car-share vehicle typically replaces nine to 13 private vehicles, and car-share users walk, bike, and take transit more often. The SFMTA says that those findings were confirmed by their experience with both a test program with 12 on-street car-share spots, as well as the hundreds of off-street car-share spots that have been in place for years.
“There’s an opportunity to free up 10,000 parking spots,” said Padden Murphy of Getaround, which allows car owners to rent their vehicles to their neighbors.
The on-street spots will be available to Getaround and to conventional car-share organizations, like ZipCar and City CarShare, that own and maintain fleets of shared vehicles. The on-street car-share program was spearheaded by the SFMTA in partnership with the non-profit City CarShare, which started the earlier on-street car-share pilot in 2011. The current SFMTA initiative extends the pilot by two years and expands its scale.
Nonetheless, the SFMTA Board did hear from a handful of detractors who don’t seem to buy the evidence, arguing instead that the program is an incursion on storage for personal cars and complaining that the SFMTA didn’t adequately notify neighbors about the proposal.
The program “does not treat everyone fairly,” said one man who said he lives at Golden Gate and Pierce Streets, where spots proposed to be placed “15 feet right in front of my front door” were moved after his complaints.
“For those of us who do own a vehicle, parking in these areas is already difficult enough,” he said. “I feel it punishes those of us who work irregular hours.”
Andy Thornley, project manager for the SFMTA, noted that it may appear that “the city sounds like it’s selling curb to private business.”
“I understand that concern, and I would be very resentful of that — but I remind you this is a pilot,” he said. “The SFMTA believes there are many public benefits to car-sharing.”
The SFMTA is still shuffling its proposed car-share spots around in response to public feedback, but overall the agency appears unwavering in its commitment to a smart strategy that will use a sliver of SF’s gargantuan parking supply more efficiently.
“We aren’t going to rely on the extensive academic research that’s already been done in the Bay Area,” said Thornley. “We think it’s a good idea, but we’re conducting this larger pilot to really test those premises.”
The current draft map [PDF], dated June 30, is available from the SFMTA website. The next SFMTA engineering hearing, scheduled on July 11 at 10 a.m., will review 110 proposed car-share parking locations. You can show up at City Hall to speak at the hearing in person, or email the SFMTA about the proposals at firstname.lastname@example.org.