San Francisco plans to add 900 new parking meters in Mission Bay

Drivers, start digging under those couch cushions because soon that spare change could be needed to feed the hundreds of new meters set for installation in San Francisco.

“This plan is meant to provide effective parking management that makes parking available, eases congestion and allows Muni to run faster,” said Paul Rose, spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

In an effort to improve the efficiency of transportation, whether public or private, the city of San Francisco is planning to add 900 parking meters. According to Rose, the funds from the new meters will help operate Muni, the seventh largest transit system in the country.

The new meters will be added mainly in Mission Bay, a neighborhood known for its biotech companies, and AT&T Park, potentially affecting tens of thousands of Giants’ fans and patrons visiting this vibrant part of the city.

Although adding the new meters may bring money to San Francisco, some people are against the addition because it could result in customers being turned away from the area.

Morris Davis, 37, regularly visits the adjacent South Beach neighborhood and relies on the free parking near South and Third streets, but new meters may turn him away from spending evenings in the area.

“I’m concerned implementing new meters would lead to price hikes for parking (lots) during game nights,” Davis said. “If this is the case I may opt for public transportation or carpool to save cash — or just avoid the area if possible.”

Businesses and residents, on the other hand, welcome the new meters into their neighborhood.

Stacy O’Connell, 18, an undeclared freshman, recently moved to the nearby South of Market neighborhood in hopes of grasping city life. She said she moved to San Francisco because it is a city that is designed for public transportation.

“There’s no need for a car in San Francisco and I favor any proposal that would bring money into Muni,” said O’Connell, a Modesto native. “If that wasn’t the case, I could have stayed home.”

Similarly, Bernard Birch, owner of Radical Tan on King Street supports the SFMTA’s decision because the agency would control an area where parking spaces are becoming scarce.

“Overall, anywhere in San Francisco is going to be an issue to park,” Birch said. “There’s more cars than parking spots. Plus the city knows what they’re doing.”

The average meter rate can fluctuate from 50 cents up to $6 an hour, depending on its location and demand. Special events can increase the fee up to $7 per hour.

Rose also commented on a speculated plan that more meters could appear in other sections of the city, including along Sloat Boulevard near the San Francisco Zoo.

“There is no formal zoo plan,” Rose said. “It was mentioned to the supervisor (Sean Elsbernd) to gather feedback as a potential option going forward.”