Like many major cities, San Francisco suffered from acute parking shortages in some areas and surpluses in other areas. SFpark, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s parking program, aims to reach beyond the rhetoric of “smarter parking” and dramatically improve parking in San Francisco by testing performance pricing and providing better information to drivers in 25% of the total public parking supply.
Nelson\Nygaard first supported the creation of an evaluation framework and developed a number of survey instruments and survey implementation plans. We provided detailed input and feedback on the SFpark data collection plan, suggesting methodologies and measures that could be used to provide a reliable but cost-effective measure of success. We also recommended potential reforms to the management of disabled parking and residential parking districts, both of which are critical components of San Francisco’s parking system.
Since 2010, Nelson\Nygaard has conducted numerous data collection efforts for SFpark progam, including surveys of parking search time, spillover parking into residential areas, and instances of double parking and the use of disabled placards in pilot areas. We provided support with public outreach, framing sometimes controversial parking policy reforms in ways that highlight the tensions and tradeoffs of implementing changes versus maintaining the status quo. In addition, multiple project managers who helped start the program have since joined Nelson\Nygaard to help other cities around the world design and implement similar programs. The philosophies and lessons learned from this pilot have transformed the parking world – and Nelson\Nygaard is at ground zero in helping to do so.
A detailed evaluation of the program occurred in 2014, finding that the program lowered average parking rates, improved parking availability, made it easier to find parking, and decreased greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled. In 2018, the SFMTA’s board voted to expand the pilot project to the rest of the city’s parking spaces and make it the permanent policy of the City.