San Francisco to test car sharing parking spots

June 27, 2011 8:06:47 PM PDT
If you take the bus to work, but sometimes need to drive to the store, you might be the ideal candidate for car sharing. San Francisco is trying to make car sharing more convenient, but it comes at a price some people don't want to pay.

Competition for parking in San Francisco's Russian Hill neighborhood is so fierce, Leigh Wells made some handwritten signs, begging her neighbors to leave room for the moving truck.

"I'm so glad that this worked out," said Wells.

But Wells actually favors a plan that would take away three of the precious public parking spots and reserve them for a car sharing service.

"I think that's a great idea... because I share a car with my husband and I would like to have access to a car sometimes if I don't have access to our car," said Wells.

Under a pilot program, San Francisco would rent out prime street-side parking spots to non-profit City Car Share. Mayor Ed Lee says it has broad support.

"It would be for the residents themselves. I think they're asking for it because they don't want to have to buy cars," said Lee.

Along with the three spots in Russian Hill, the program would take over a spot at Clay and Fillmore, one on Harriet Street, South of Market, and another at 17th and Valencia in the Mission District. City Car Share CEO Rich Hutchinson thinks better access to shared cars in those areas could actually help parking.

"Two thirds of our members report that they either got rid of a car or else they didn't buy a car that they might have bought when they joined City Car Share," said Hutchinson.

However, in a neighborhood filled with narrow alleys where cars park bumper to bumper, the plan has plenty of skeptics. Some told ABC7 they just don't think their neighbors will actually give up their cars.

"I have my car and I'm not going to suddenly sell it," said dog groomer Leonard Montgomery.

Montgomery has been parking in the city for years and said he fears the worst.

"It can take you 20-30 minutes to find a parking spot," said Montgomery. And when asked what if there were three fewer parking spots, he said, "It'd probably take you hours."

The MTA says the pilot program is just for six months -- enough time for them to find out if it helps parking or hurts.


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