Hundreds of on-street parking spaces across the city will be reserved for car-share vehicles starting in September as the SF Municipal Transportation Agency looks to provide more convenient alternatives to owning a car.
Following a nearly two-year pilot designating 12 curbside spaces for the non-profit City CarShare, the SFMTA is planning a major expansion [PDF] in the next two years. In the first year, up to 150 spaces would be set aside for each car-share organization. An additional 150 would be available to each organization in the second year.
Until now, car-share organizations have generally only been able to procure reserved spaces in off-street parking lots and garages at sites like gas stations, many of which are giving way to redevelopment. Citing studies that found each car-share vehicle typically leads to 10 to 15 private cars being sold, SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin said that opening up a fraction of the city’s 281,000 on-street spots for car-share will make it easier for car-share organizations to place vehicles closer to a broader range of residents.
“It opens up a lot more of the city to car-sharing,” said Reiskin. “Generally, on-street parking will always be here.”
The parking spaces will be available for traditional car-share services like Zipcar and City CarShare, as well as peer-to-peer services like RelayRides, Getaround, and Wheelz. However, one-way car-share services like Car2Go, which operates in other American cities and allows drivers to leave the car in any legal parking space (they’re tracked by GPS), won’t be eligible. Reiskin said the SFMTA has yet to see sufficient evidence that such services reduce car ownership and driving, and that accommodating them would require issuing a new special permit that exempts Car2Go’s vehicles from parking restrictions.
“We have some concerns that it could actually work in the other direction — that one-way [car-sharing] could actually encourage more driving,” said Reiskin. “We’re eager to get more information.”