parking_meters.jpgDrivers parking on the streets of San Francisco could see changes to the amount of change they need to feed the meter come mid-October, when the city adjusts rates at its demand-responsive “smart meters.”

The meters were installed last summer along with some 8,300 sensors as part of the SFpark program, which aims to ensure every block has at least one available parking space at all times.

This is the second time since August that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has adjusted the rates. More than two-thirds of the rates will decrease or remain the same.

“Rate adjustments, such as these, will help even out parking demand and reduce double-parking and circling, making our streets less congested and allowing Muni to be more reliable,” SFMTA Executive Director Ed Reiskin said in a statement.

According to the SFMTA, when spaces are frequently occupied, rates will be raised by 25 cents to encourage more vacant spaces. When too many spaces are vacant–when occupancy is less than 60 percent–rates will be lowered by 25 to 50 cents.

Rates are changed by no more than 50 cents down or 25 cents up per adjustment.

Until more data is collected, the rates are adjusted based on the occupancy data from the previous month, although the hope is that SFpark staff will be able to set rates using long-term data.

“Having a consistent, simple and transparent approach for setting rates at meters and parking garages is another step in the process to better manage parking that benefits everyone,” Reiskin said.

Meter rates at the 5,100 smart meters vary based on time of day and day of week, with rates adjusted on a block-by-block basis according to data indicating how often spaces are occupied.

The program aims to change rates at the beginning of the month, and the SFMTA must give the public seven days’ notice–via SFMTA and SFpark websites–that prices will change.

The most recent changes will take effect in mid-October.

Patricia Decker, Bay City News

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