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Monday August 9, 2010 10:25 am

San Francisco Introduces Smart Parking Meters

Posted by John Kilhefner Categories: Transportation

We’ve all been there - circling around the block for what seems like eons searching for that oh so elusive parking space. Remarks such as, “I should have left earlier!!” run through your head until the frustration vaporizes atomically into a massive mushroom cloud in your brain. Being in an anger fog of this magnitude produces hazards to you and others while on the road. Dangers such as veering off into a pedestrian crowded crosswalk, or changing lanes haphazardly into traffic. However, to remedy this temperamental meltdown of nuclear proportions, SFMTA is introducing the SF park project. The SF park project will implement new smart parking meters throughout San Francisco to fight crowded parking, make paying easier, and avoid unwanted tickets.

These parking meters differ from the outdated models found in cluttered cities everywhere for a number of reasons. For one, they allow drivers to pay by credit card and SFMTA cards, as well as with good ol’ change. This alone will help cut down on the time spent travelling to your destination.

However, the most impressive feature about Frisco’s new smart parking meter system is a new parking sensors ability to identify how many parking spaces are available in a particular area. By doing this, drivers will be able to use their smartphones and computers to find out beforehand if a space will be available for them. With any luck, this will cut down on the traffic from those driving around battling against formidable foes for an empty parking space (estimated to be a third of city traffic).

What’s more, these new smart meters will be able to adjust themselves to the amount of parking spaces that a specific area generates. This means that if one area seems to be full all of the time the price of parking will go up accordingly. In contrast, places with plentiful spaces will effectively see their rates go down. What this does is help to adjust the flow of parking, and keep people on their toes looking for a combination of free parking and good rates. This adjustment in pricing is done every month, and will not exceed 50 cent intervals at a time.

Whether or not this will be an effective strategy for reducing San Francisco traffic, and thus the tempers of city drivers, is unknown at this point. Though, it definitely seems good on paper. Regardless, this new smart meter system is a step in the right direction, and we’re sure to see more of them poking their heads into major cities around the United States over the next few years.

Read More | SF Parks

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