The New SF Parking App — Is it Enough??
Many of you have heard over the last couple of days about the new app for locating parking in San Francisco: SFpark. Being launched by the San Francisco MTA, it is the newest effort by the City to go “greener” when it comes to transportation. The program, according to transit officials, boasts being able “to cut down on pollution by curbing the amount of time drivers spend circling the block,” according to the SF Chronicle. Color coding shows which lots or street metered areas have availability at what level, from low (0-15% likely) to high (30%+). There is also a pricing scale provided for each.
This is great, but what I (and I’m sure many) need this type of app for would be to find parking in my neighborhood, late in the evening or on a weekend, (when all the tourists are in town from other places), when I desperately need to find one. What we need is real-time availability in the streets of the neighborhoods where we live. Many times, there is construction going on, with equipment being left overnight which takes up the space of 2-5 car-lengths of parking. This is obviously a real, sore issue for some neighborhoods of the city; and a real-time around-the-clock updated app would be the best that we could ask for. I don’t see this functionality, as of yet, in the SFpark app.
There is also: ParkSmart SF Lite, which is mainly helping its users avoid the much dreaded street cleaning tickets/towing. With the help of GPS and satellite maps, parkSmartSF Lite tells you what the City street cleaning schedule is for the particular address where you are parked. This is a great tool … Yes, it helps. But we still need more.
So, back to SFpark. The many areas in the City it covers is one asset.
The app includes parking lots and areas in these districts:
• Fisherman’s Wharf
• Financial District
• Civic Center
• Hayes Valley
However, unless it can tell you (with cameras, or a roving herd of parking “reporters”) what the actual availability is around neighborhood streets that aren’t metered, my guess is that it will fall short. — Sound like a challenge to any of you developers out there? …I was hoping it might!
P.S. If you want to give SFpark a spin, the download for iPhone is: here. An Android app is promised to be coming soon!
(quote: via SFchronicle.com | photo credits: SFMTA & iTunes/Apple)