Modernizing San Francisco's Parking Meter Hours
San Francisco uses parking meters to create available parking in commercial districts and high-demand neighborhoods. Though life in the city has changed dramatically over the decades, San Francisco’s parking meter hours have not changed in most neighborhoods since the first meters were installed in 1947: Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Extending parking meter hours will expand parking availability on more days and at more times and will benefit all those who live, shop, worship and work in San Francisco. Charging for the use of parking spaces during the evening and on Sundays makes it easier for those who must drive to find parking, while also providing funding to maintain vital Muni services.
Our data shows that parking meters are effective: when meters turn off at 6:00 p.m., parking availability drops significantly. When San Francisco tried out Sunday parking meters in 2013, parking availability was substantially improved. Most commercial districts in San Francisco continue operating well past 6:00 p.m., and Sundays resemble Saturdays in terms of business activity in most neighborhoods. Because most commercial districts report low levels of parking availability in the evenings and Sundays, it makes sense to extend the hours that parking meters are active in order to address this and support local businesses. This project will extend parking meters hours into the evenings and on Sundays, beginning in neighborhoods where they will have the most impact, and where support from local stakeholders is strong.
Curb space demand has been increasing over the past few years with neighbors prioritizing uses other than parking, and we only foresee that demand growing, especially as the city emerges from the pandemic. The resulting reduction in parking supply means that we must work even harder to manage the parking spaces that remain, and extending parking meter hours of operation is the city’s best tool to do so.
Outreach and implementation
In spring 2020, the SFMTA Board of Directors approved a two-year budget that directs staff to explore when and where extended metering hours would be appropriate. SFMTA staff began meeting with merchant groups, neighborhood groups and faith leaders in late summer 2020, and outreach to merchant and neighborhood groups, elected officials, faith leaders and citywide business groups will continue into summer 2021. Our next step is to determine the neighborhood commercial districts that would like to be first in line to test the benefits of adjusting meter times to match when their businesses are open. We expect to seek approval from the SFMTA Board of Directors and implement extended meter hours in neighborhoods starting in summer 2021.
Some SF neighborhoods, and many other cities, have adjusted their parking meter hours to match when businesses are open
Some neighborhoods already have meter hours that match the times that businesses are active: as of September 2020, parking meters run into the evenings in Fisherman’s Wharf (7:00 p.m.), Potrero Hill and Mission Bay (10:00 p.m.) and the northern and eastern waterfronts (11:00 p.m.). Parking meters in Fisherman’s Wharf and the northern and eastern waterfront also operate on Sundays.
San Francisco is not alone - many cities in California operate their parking meters until 8:00 p.m. or later during evenings, including Los Angeles, Walnut Creek, Sacramento, West Hollywood, Long Beach and even South San Francisco. Across the United States, cities as varied as Seattle, New York City, Boston and many others operate parking meters on evenings and/or Sundays.
We want to hear from you
As we determine project scope and roll-out, we want to hear from you. Please use the contact information below to contact the Extended Meter Hours team with your feedback.