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Citywide Parking Meter Replacement
Project Introduction

Beginning in early March 2022 and continuing on a rolling basis well into 2023, the SFMTA will replace all of the parking meters in the City. The SFMTA is undertaking this project because the current parking meters have reached the end of their useful lives, and because many of the meters rely on 3G communications technology, which soon will be phased out by the wireless companies.

The new parking meters will provide several benefits for customers and the City:

  • Larger and more legible screens
  • More intuitive user interface
  • More resistant to vandalism
  • More powerful batteries, so meters will remain operational a much higher percentage of the time

Approximately half the parking meters in the City will be upgraded to new single-space parking meters. The other half, including the following neighborhoods, will get multi-space paystations with a new pay-by-license-plate parking system:

  • South Beach
  • SoMa
  • Mission Bay
  • Civic Center
  • Hayes Valley
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Telegraph Hill
  • Chinatown
  • North Beach
  • Financial District
  • Union Square

In the map below, meters marked in orange will retain single-space meters, while meters in blue are slated for paystations and the pay-by-plate system.


New single-space parking meters

Half of the neighborhoods in the City will continue to have a meter at each space, using the current pay-by-space system. Simply pay at the meter assigned to the space where you parked, using your phone, card, SFMTA parking card, or cash.

The replacement of the single-space meters is a relatively quick process: the old meter heads are simply replaced with new ones. The Meter Shop will ensure that newly installed meters are paid for the maximum time allowed on the day they are installed.


Introducing the pay-by-plate parking system and new paystations

At the other half of parking meters in the City, the current pay-by-space system will be replaced with new paystations and a pay-by-license-plate system. Here’s how it works:

  • Instead of entering your space number to pay for parking, you will enter your license plate number.
  • When you pull into a parking space, head to the nearest paystation on the block, or reach for your smartphone to use the PayByPhone app, key in your license plate number and pay.
  • Since the PayByPhone app stores your license plate number, you won’t have to remember or type it in every time when using the app.
  • New overhead signage and decals on the paystations will let you know that the pay-by-plate system is in effect.

Installations of paystations and removal of the single-space meters will proceed as follows:

  1. New paystations installed
  2. New paystations activated
  3. Bags placed over the single-space meters directing customers to the paystations
  4. Single-space meter and pole removed, or meter head removed and the pole capped, depending on signage needs and other logistical considerations

Temporary signs placed on the block will remind customers about the new pay-by-plate system.

This new system comes with many benefits:

  • Pay-by-plate gives you the option to pay at any paystation, even across the street or on another block.  Simply key in the zone number for the block where you parked--zone numbers for each block appear on overhead signs and on the front and back of each paystation.
  • If you pay for parking but drive away before your paid time expires, you may return to the same block and park without having to pay again, as long as you are within the original paid time.
  • It also streamlines enforcement, giving parking control officers more time to focus on safety issues like double-parking, and neighborhood concerns like residential permit parking enforcement.


Successful pilots of the new pay-by-plate system

The SFMTA tested the pay-by-plate system in several neighborhoods to make it as effective as possible before rolling it out to half the City. Here’s a blog post about the pilot in the Dogpatch neighborhood from 2021.


How to pay

To learn more about how to pay for parking at a meter, please visit the SFMTA parking website.

Contact Information
Kenya Wheeler