SFMTA | San Francisco Travel Blog
San Francisco’s residential parking program has been in place for more than 35 years, but city officials are considering a major overhaul to make the system work better for everyone. The current model is quite convoluted, with 27 different parking zones of different sizes across the city. Initially designed to keep weekday commuters from other parts of the Bay Area from clogging residential streets, the current system allows permit holders to park on city streets for 72 hours without having to move their vehicles. The success of the program has been mixed over the years. It does discourage out-of-town commuters from monopolizing already-scarce street parking for days on end, but it also penalizes city car owners who use their vehicles infrequently.
The program is regulated by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which is exploring new ways to streamline and simplify the program. Under the current system, the only way for a neighborhood to establish their own residential parking zone and protect limited parking spaces is to petition the city. This is a prolonged process, and, over time, it has created an odd patchwork of zones that really don’t work well for anyone, especially San Franciscans. Some zones only affect one side of the street in some neighborhoods, while others cover nearly every street in a zone, making it very difficult for residents without access to off-street parking.
Sonali Bose, the SFMTA’s chief financial officer, acknowledged that the current system is unsustainable.
“Right now, we just have a hodgepodge of different zones,” Bose said. “As the parking management entity of San Francisco, we should be proactive about establishing more strategic residential zones.”
Bose and the SFMTA are working with city planners and neighborhood groups to find a better solution than the current model, a process that is expected to take at least two years.
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