SF Parking wars

SF Parking wars

I was driving to an appointment and listening the KQED’s Forum program with Michael Krasny.  He was interviewing the former founder of Zip Car who has now embarked on new venture which allows anyone with a Smart Phone to make money from the parking space they find on streets of San Francisco!

Yes, you heard it right.  If you are lucky enough to find a parking space in San Francisco then this Smart app would offer you an option to make money from your luck, so you sell your space to another driver with the same app!   The app naturally would then direct the winning driver to your location so he can take your spot as other angry drivers watch!

There were many angry calls, text and emails to the show that this is yet another attempt by the elite San Francisco entrepeneurs who only see the problem from their narrow perspective.  One person was writing that this would force her to buy a Smart Phone which she should not be required to do so for using public services available from the City.   Another caller told her story of another driver pulling guns on her when she was trying to save a spot for her boyfriend who was on her way.

Granted City has tons of parking related traffic and pollution.  In fact, it’s estimated that 30% of San Francico’s street traffic is directly linked to drivers who are looking for a parking space.   But this we believe is the wrong way to address this for the following reasons:

1) Private vs Public:  Streets are public resources and shold not used for profit motive period.   If we were allowed to do this, then I should be able to sell my tent site at National Parks to the highest bidder.  I suspect National Park Service would have a fit with that.

2) Safety:  This put the safety of the drivers at risk since no driver would live with the idea of another driving pulling into a space where they have waited for a long time.  Even if the winning bidder parks their car, they will find it damaged and keyed.

San Francisco light many other Silicon Valley has huge challenges when it comes to affordable housing and transportation.  And the solution to the parking has to be part of a regional transportation solution where the works could take public transit to the City which should cut the need for parking.

What do you think?