High-tech program hopes to make SF parking easier

FILE -- A parking meter is seen near San Francisco's Financial District Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
April 21, 2011 11:07:55 PM PDT
Having a hard time finding a parking space in San Francsico? There is now an app for that.

If you've spend time in San Francisco, at some point your time was spent driving around looking for a parking spot.

"A nightmare, hence why I'm in the car and I let my family or friends run in and do the errands and I usually stay behind the wheel just in case I have to move," San Francisco resident Anna Metoyer said.

A new iPhone app launched Thursday is hoping to ease parking frustrations,and shorten the time it takes to find a spot. Drivers in San Francisco can now track where parking is available and how much it costs by using the SF Park app.

"We are installing new meters that make it much more easier to pay and demand responsive pricing to charge the lowest price possible to make it easier to find parking here in the city," SFMTA Executive Director Nat Ford said.

Of course, using a cell phone while driving is illegal.

"We've acknowledged now that all the world faces a challenge with mobile technology when you are mobile, we haven't solved that problem yet, but we've made it available online so you can look it up before you leave," SF Park app team spokesperson Ben Davis said.

Other features of the new program will allow users to pay meters with their cell phone and receive text messages when their meter is about to run out,

A high tech parking system was implemented in Redwood City a few years ago and has mixed reviews.

"It's difficult for the elderly community to figure out how to use it, not every machine you can use cash for," Redwood City driver Jennifer Gonzales.

According to San Francisco's mayor, parking cannot get much worse than its current state and is optimistic the new system will save people, time, money and frustration.

"We hate everything about the parking thing here, so it's got to be successful," Ed Lee said.


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