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Up for Approval: A Permanent Program for On-Street Vehicle Sharing

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A car parked in a curbside parking space with marked for shared vehicles only.

Update: On Tuesday July 18, the On-Street Shared Vehicle Parking Permit Program was approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors.

Curbside parking spaces dedicated to shared vehicles have been around for a few years as part of an SFMTA pilot program. On Tuesday, our board of directors will consider creating a permanent on-street parking permit program for them.

Vehicle sharing services help free up parking spaces for those who need them most by giving people the flexibility they need to sell their car (or forego buying one). As we wrote in January, one of the key findings in our On-Street Car Sharing Pilot Program Evaluation Report (PDF) was that the average on-street shared vehicle in San Francisco is used by 19 people.

The idea behind providing on-street spaces for shared vehicles, whether they're cars or electric mopeds, is to make them more convenient to use for more residents. Since 2014, we've permitted about 200 spaces under the On-Street Car Sharing Pilot Program to supplement the spaces in parking garages and lots.

The proposed On-Street Shared Vehicle Parking Permit Program would provide a permanent framework to expand these spaces with public input.

The new program would be mostly similar to the pilot program that it would succeed. The main change proposed is that on-street permits would no longer be available to "peer-to-peer" vehicle sharing services like Getaround, which allow private car owners to rent their cars to others. Because we found in our evaluation that peer-to-peer vehicles weren't used often and predictably enough to justify dedicated on-street parking spaces, the permits would only be available to dedicated fleets of organization-owned shared vehicles.

If the new program is approved, we could start to approve permits for new proposed locations for on-street shared vehicle spaces by this fall or winter. The public would be able to weigh in on new locations through an online "crowdsourcing" website, and we'd continue to collect data and public feedback to refine the program.

Check out our January blog post to learn more about how the program works and the research behind it. And for more information on the new proposed program, see the materials listed on the webpage for Tuesday's board meeting, which include a presentation (PDF) and staff report (PDF).