SFMTA to Test On-Street Car-Share Parking Spaces

On-street car share pods in Portland, Oregon. Flickr photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/sfcityscape/4997557755/sizes/z/in/photostream/##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.

  • Anonymous

    Does CCS have to move the cars for street sweeping 😉

  • Aaron Priven

    There have been on-street pods in Oakland for years.

  • Anonymous

    Does that mean that Car Share space rental rates are MORE EXPENSIVE than parking permits?  What’s wrong with this picture?

  • mikesonn

    $150/month vs $90/year. I know one is a business, but makes one wonder about the pricing of our public space.

  • Apparently not: the document actually says City CarShare must “sweep parking space (and 15 feet on both sides) to DPW standards”.

  • nowthen

    The $150/mo is for a designated street parking place; the $90/yr for a residential sticker provides absolutely no guarantee of a parking place.  Big difference.  Many, many residents of SF with cars but no garage would gladly pay $150/mo to have a guaranteed parking place on the street near their dwelling.

  • The price of a residential parking permit is limited by state law.  If that doesn’t apply to these otherwise reserved spaces, I say convert as many non-metered spaces to car-share parking as we can!

  • icarus12

    It is now $100 per year for that residential sticker.  Just paid it.

  • icarus12

    No Josh, convert as many of these spaces to car share places as we need.  That way you get a pragmatic effect rather than a romantic vision.  As Shoup and other parking experts have found, simply price all parking to market demand, such that a driver can always find a spot on the block which is about 85-90% occupied.

    Btw that pricing with smart meters seems to be working well in Hayes Valley.  Was able to park for up to four hours (though I only needed 1 1/2), find a space easily on the weekend, and pay for it.  It was a tad more expensive than I had remembered, but worth it.

    Certainly hope all the meters eventually get replaced with smart meters and longer term parking options, as long as it gets price-adjusted each month.  Very skeptical though that in streets with nearly empty blocks of parked cars on the weekends (9th street for example in Soma) or off Polk on the weekdays, that the SFMTA will install Smart Meters.  With the old meters they can just keep soaking people for $2/hr when 50 cents would do the job.

  • Mons

    So, Aaron, why can’t all car owners also agree to “sweep their own spot”?

  • mikesonn

    I’ve never paid one, that was just the last number I remember hearing. Thanks.

  • mikesonn

    $8/mo for a non-reserved space for a private auto is a fair price compared to $150/mo for a reserved space for a car share?

    I disagree.

  • In related news, the Titanic is piloting a deck chair rearrangement app.

  • Mario Tanev


    The city should be motivated to replace all meters with smart meters. In the first update to SFPark, the city lowered the price for more blocks than it raised the price for (but the city still gets more money since it reduced the price on under-utilized streets). If the city implements this policy in an honest manner, drivers should be more acceptive of parking policy than they are today, so it’s good for the city.


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