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San Francisco Considers Surge Parking Prices

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- A new plan proposes bringing surge parking prices to San Francisco.

In time, parking rates could go as high as $8 an hour in some areas under the plan.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehey said, "It just starts out with the assumption that everybody in San Francisco is rich."

Prices could go up or down depending on the time of day, but transportation planners, say critics are missing the point.

Muni Spokesman Paul Rose said, "We are trying to make it easier and faster to find parking spaces in San Francisco."

It's called dynamic pricing and we already have it on the state's bay bridges where rush hour commuters pay an extra $1.

Another example is special event parking around AT&T Park, as parking jumps to $7 an hour when the Giants play.

The idea is that people will move faster if they are paying more for parking and thus free up parking spaces.

A 2014 study led by a UC Santa Cruz professor found that San Francisco's previous efforts to match the price of public parking with real-time demand had led to a drastic reduction in cruising for spots.

But Henry Karnilowicz of the District Merchants Association doesn't buy it.

Karnilowicz said, "I don't see how it is going to make the turn overany different, just because you are increasing the price."

And John Nazzal, owner of the Marina Deli, which is located in one of the neighborhoods where they tested the new pricing, agrees.

Nazzal said, "A lot of my friends and customers tell me that the reason they don't come in anymore is that they don't want to spend $2 or $3 to get a sandwich."

It should be noted that in San Francisco, parking is a moneymaker. The city took in about $38 million from parking meters last year. Which begs the question: How much of this is about making more money?

Rose said, "There is no doubt that revenue comes into the city because of parking -- but we are really putting this forward to make sure that people are parking faster and easier in San Francisco."

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