Electronic Sensors Aim To Ease SF Parking

Anybody who drives in San Francisco knows that parking is a pain. Now the city said help is on the way, through your phone or computer. Plastic squares glued to parking spaces along Hayes Street are actually electronic sensors.
"They are wireless, and they tell us whether or not a parking space is occupied or not. And the neat thing about the sensors is that data comes to us in real time," said Jay Primus of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
"We are going to make that data available to drivers either before their trip on the web or during their trip on variable message signs, mobile devices like the iPhone, text message," he added. The idea is to keep traffic flowing, prevent double parking and promote neighborhood shopping.
"It's estimated that about 30 percent of cars on the road are simply circling, looking for parking," Primus said. "And that's bad for drivers, it's bad for business and it's bad for Muni." The wireless system is being tested in several San Francisco neighborhoods. It will go into operation some time this summer. "I think it's a fabulous idea. But I'm hoping not 12 other people are also rushing to the same spot," said San Francisco resident Alison Rutherford.
City officials say the system will not direct drivers to individual parking spots, just to city blocks where the sensors say parking is available. It will also let people know when there is space at any of the city's parking garages. Russel Pritchard, a shop owner on Hayes Street welcomes the idea. "Parking is a challenge. Whatever makes it easier for customers makes it easier for us," he said.
Of course, the sensors will only be at spots where there are parking meters. Now if only we had a sensor to let us know where the parking police are.
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