SFPark Launches Thursday

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(San Francisco – Casey Miner, KALW News) The price may be steep, but the payoff is high: a dense city where no one ever has to circle for parking. On Thursday, San Francisco will officially launch SFpark, a dynamic pricing program that aims to ensure at least one free space on every block at any given time.

The price of that space will vary depending on demand: for the first few months, prices will remain in the city's normal range of $2-$3.50 an hour, but eventually they could go as high as $18 a space for, say, parking outside the ballpark during a Giants game. But don't worry, you won't get walloped: prices will increase incrementally by no more than 50 cents each month (so no $16 jumps), and everyone will be able to access real-time pricing and availability info. If it's too expensive to drive, the city's hoping people won't.

The project's main goals are to ease street congestion, reduce the pollution from all those circling cars, while making life easier on cyclists, pedestrians, and Muni riders. It also hopes to redistribute parking more efficiently: for example, since city-owned garages don't always get that much use, they'll likely become cheaper and therefore more attractive options compared to on street parking.

The pilot is launching in eight of SF's densest neighborhoods, and officials will use sensors embedded in the pavement to collect data on how it's working. Check back here on Thursday for a full report on what it's like to park downtown on day one.

In the meantime, watch the video above showing how the project will work.

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