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Sensor Networks In San Francisco Finds Parking Spots

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the sweet-spots dept.

Transportation 209

MrSeb writes "You've heard of smart cars, and now, rolling out in San Francisco, is a smart parking system that promises to eliminate the arduous process of finding a parking spot. SFpark is a network of magnetic sensors that have been installed under 8,200 street parking spaces, along with additional information from parking garages and parking meters. These sensors are all linked together in a mesh network, and ultimately link back to a central command center. Drivers can access this parking data via the SFpark website or smartphone app, and see in real-time where parking spaces are available. At any one time, a third of cars on the road in urban areas are looking for parking spots, consuming more fuel, creating more pollution, and causing more accidents. With SFpark, you can see at a glance where there's a parking spot — but in the future, you'll be able to hit a button and have your smartphone direct you to the nearest parking spot."

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Kick ass. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898537)

ha.

Parking tickets (5, Insightful)

grimsnaggle (1320777) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898561)

...now delivered with greater efficiency than ever before.

Re:Parking tickets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898581)

Thanks for the reality check.

Re:Parking tickets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899291)

your a nupid stigger

Re:Parking tickets (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898691)

Why do morons like you have to respond to every article like this? People should pay for parking, the fact that they get away with not paying is a side effect of an old, archaic, broken meter system.

Now someone designs a way better system, one that actually makes it so you don't have to fuck around for 10 minutes finding an empty spot just for it to get stolen by noisy Civic, and the only thing you can think of is "HURR DURR I HAS TO PAY FOR PARKING NOWW!!!! WAHHH!!!" because of a side effect of making the parking payment system work? God damn, stop crying like a child and pay your parking like everyone else, and enjoy the benefits of what this could bring maybe not now but in the future. It could link to your car and park for you, you know. Or it could send you a text 10 minutes before your parking expires so you can, you know, pay your due.

But no. I forgot the City will Steal our MONIES!!!!

Fuck you.

Re:Parking tickets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898705)

Absolutely nothing the grandparent wrote suggests the strawman positions you made up and assigned to him. You are a liar.

Re:Parking tickets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898929)

Yeah, except the title and his post. I was more talking about his dumb attitude than the rest, anyway, as artor3 nicely pointed out for me in a more calm manner.

Re:Parking tickets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899197)

No, not the title and not the post. And you know it. And so does artor3. Both of you invented the "attitude" that you wanted to see and pretended that he was expressing it. Both of you are liars.

Re:Parking tickets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899245)

We didn't invent it, it's what we got from what he wrote due to how he wrote it. Just because you can't admit it won't change that, no matter how hard you try. You, on the other hand, are lying when you say that I know things I do not.

Re:Parking tickets (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898777)

How about they link to my credit card so I get charged for the length of time I'm parked NO MATTER HOW LONG IT IS. Never happen, because the tickets are a gold mine.

Re:Parking tickets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899235)

Sure, why not? It would be a logical followup to a system like this.

Re:Parking tickets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899369)

Well.... not really.

If the goal of metered parking is to generate revenue, then tickets + parking payments is better than just the parking payments.

If the goal is to encourage you to park, get your shit done, and get the fuck out so that other people can use the parking space ... then no, the hassle of having to come out and pay for more time (or get a ticket) is better than just being charged for however long you end up being parked.

You're talking like the point is to be convenient to actual people. Crazy talk.

Re:Parking tickets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899637)

I'm not making a statement about whether or not it's for the good of the population that SF is doing this, but thanks for your valuable input on that unrelated question.

Re:Parking tickets (0, Flamebait)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898813)

I'm going to basically repeat what the AC said, since some jackass modded him down...

This attitude is fucking stupid.

This is a great advancement, as anyone who has ever wasted ten minutes looking for a parking space can tell you. But no, you anarchist luddites have to race in to scream and cry about "Oh boo hoo! Now I actually have to pay parking fines instead of just parking wherever the hell I want and fuck everyone else!"

Stop trying to find shit to complain about in every goddamn thing. It doesn't make you cool or edgy or wise. It makes you an ass.

Re:Parking tickets (4, Interesting)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898967)

Parking tickets...now delivered with greater efficiency than ever before.

Actually, they've found [sfgate.com] the opposite to be true:

Prior to the new meters, 55 percent of the revenue came from payments drivers used to buy time and 45 percent from fines. After the new meters went in, the amount from payments increased to 70 percent and the amount from fines plummeted to 30 percent.

Race you to the nearest open spot (4, Insightful)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898567)

While this is a great idea, in some cases it'll be a race to get an open spot, even worse than now. Now you'll be able to see open spots blocks away even if you can't get to it in time, so after a while people will know that they need to hurry and exactly where to go.

Re:Race you to the nearest open spot (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898639)

Hack the system. Advertise some bogus open spots a few blocks away. All the other suckers head over there. You park over here.

Re:Race you to the nearest open spot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898933)

There are on-line stochastic optimization algorithms for these kinds of assignment problems that can provide, in the real world, on average more effective solutions than the stupid "everyone tries the closest free item first" (see esp. the work of Warren B. Powell). The problem is that a centralized optimization-based solution would require everyone to trust the system to give them a good spot, without being given a choice. In comparison, people would probably trust the open system proposed for San Francisco a lot easier, since they can see every open spot near them and make the choice on their own.

Re:Race you to the nearest open spot (2)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899001)

While this is a great idea, in some cases it'll be a race to get an open spot, even worse than now.

They price the parking spaces according to demand in order to make at least one parking space available on every block. [sfpark.org] So there's no need to race to any spots.

Re:Race you to the nearest open spot (2)

catbutt (469582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899109)

This would be awesome for the first person to use it. They'd have a pretty sweet advantage in finding a spot.

Once everyone has it, it will doubtfully make a difference.

cool idea, but... (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898569)

The website isn't that usable. Really slow Google-Maps overlay (at least in Chrome on OSX), and doesn't give enough detail to actually see where the spots are unless an area is all-vacant or all-occupied. Except, the big things like garages are useful.

The mobile app might well be better.

Re:cool idea, but... (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898571)

Oh, and since the summary inexplicably didn't link it, SFpark is here [sfpark.org] .

Re:cool idea, but... (2)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899453)

the summary inexplicably didn't link it

I'm pretty sure that was done on purpose to prevent slashdotting. Even just a link in the comments managed to take the site down (as of writing).

Competition can be ugly (4, Insightful)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898573)

Will the system be smart enough to only provide info to the two or three closest cars requesting information? I'd hate to see the carnage when a dozen spot-seekers show up simultaneously to claim "their" spot.

Re:Competition can be ugly (-1, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898729)

Another logical use for this technology in San Francisco could be to identify half-full mens' restrooms available for trysting.

For example, infared sensors on the toilets could ascertain which stalls are taken and which are empty. The technology to detect prolonged sitting is already in place to flag chronic masturbators at public universities. Why not sell that information in real time to scores of rich, horny homosexuals?

Former Senator Larry Craig [wikipedia.org] would be proud.

Convergence (2, Insightful)

edjs (1043612) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898575)

I have visions of a dozen vehicles all converging on the one parking spot that has opened up.

Re:Convergence (4, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898611)

I can see the owner of the system making additional income by only showing parking places to the highest bidder, so places would show to the guy who bid $50, but not to the guy who bid $20 until all the higher bidders are off the system.

Re:Convergence (5, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898789)

I can see the owner of the system making additional income by only showing parking places to the highest bidder, so places would show to the guy who bid $50, but not to the guy who bid $20 until all the higher bidders are off the system.

No, this is a municipal agency as far as I can tell, which actually makes this another liberal fascist policy telling us where we can park. Another freedom lost...

Re:Convergence (3, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898995)

Yeah, fuck the liberals.

Always tryin' to regulate everything and give my hard-earned money to unions and welfare queens. Ketchup is a vegetable!

McCain 2012!

Re:Convergence (0)

SuperQ (431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899193)

Yes, because it's your god given right to put your 4000+ pound personal possession anywhere you want, any time you want, for however long as you want on crowded publicly paid for city streets.

Re:Convergence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899579)

Yes, because it's your god given right to put your 4000+ pound personal possession anywhere you want, any time you want, for however long as you want on crowded publicly paid for city streets.

If it's publically paid for (true) and he's a member of the public (also true) then he has as much of a right to it as anyone else.

Re:Convergence (2)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898757)

And then they get all get there and find out some jackass in a blinged out Ford Excessive has parked diagonally across two spaces.

Re:Convergence (2)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899489)

I envision the magnetic sensors to be intelligent enough to determine if such a transport were not parked properly and notified parking enforcement. This will ultimately lead to owners of said transports to start parking more efficiently, which means tighter. It's only a formality to hypothesize that tighter parking means more dings on doors, which means more insurance claims, auto repairs, and... you guessed it, more taxis being used. This entire thing was hatched by the cabbies.

Oh good. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898579)

Now we have a new reason for people to be paying attention to something other than the road while they're driving. I'm pretty sure that's just what we needed.

Re:Oh good. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898695)

Yes. Neck craning for open spots doesn't currently distract drivers from the road at all :-P

Re:Oh good. (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899347)

Yes. Neck craning for open spots doesn't currently distract drivers from the road at all :-P

Still gives them a hell of a lot more awareness then having their nose buried in a phone. Not to mention they still have both hands on the controls.

I've had 3 near misses in the last 2 weeks. All of them involved another driver who was on the phone. All of them completely oblivious to my presence until I sounded my horn. Even then only two became aware of my car after that.

One little detail... (5, Interesting)

0WaitState (231806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898629)

One little detail omitted is that they plan on (and are) raising the meter rates such that it becomes too expensive for some people to park. The goal is to price things such that "there is at least one open spot per block". (I don't know if that means per street-front block, or per 4-sided block.)

That those rates can go up to $18/hr, coupled with the minimum $50 parking tickets is why some people describe San Francisco as having "a war on cars". There's also the little gem that you can't pre-pay the electronic meters for the next morning--so yeah, it's free from 11PM to 7AM, but you have to be there on the dot of 7AM to beat the ticket-wielding meter maid summoned by the electronic sensor. Makes life a little rough for overnight guests who might like to have some wine with dinner.

Not to mention the scam of "street cleaning", which seems to require clearing the street of cars once a week yet somehow get cleaned at best twice a year. And you guessed it, $50 ticket regardless of whether any street cleaners actually showed up.

So yeah, neat technology. It's practical purpose is to raise money for the city and to provide price supports for off-street parking lots.

Re:One little detail... (4, Insightful)

mattyj (18900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898711)

Yeah. The article fails to elaborate on the true reason for this system: to raise or lower prices based on demand. I live in San Francisco and I love it. I drive a motorcycle so my parking is cheap. This system is not designed to help the consumer, it's to help the city government. Which is fine but I hate how they are presenting it as a boon to people looking for parking spaces.

They feed us some vision of people 'shopping' for cheaper parking spaces a bit further away, which will never happen. In this city, nobody will pass up a parking spot no matter how much it costs. So this is just a way for the City to squeeze more money out of you during certain times of day.

I still don't know how they can tout the smartphone apps but still have laws on the books making it illegal to use smartphones while you are driving. Are we to bring a 'spotter' with us everywhere we go?

Anyway, the novelty will wear off soon enough, I guess. Maybe one day this technology will be universally built into GPS units or something but for now I don't really see it catching on.

Re:One little detail... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898947)

I still don't know how they can tout the smartphone apps but still have laws on the books making it illegal to use smartphones while you are driving. Are we to bring a 'spotter' with us everywhere we go?

Could be, they're intending to make a pile of cash off the tickets that will be written for using those smartphones to find those spaces. How hard is it to have a bike cop around to ticket somebody after they pull into the spot?

Re:One little detail... (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898767)

They hate cars in SF. They hate people there too, unless you are a tourist or a wacko. I'd much rather spend time in Geyserville or Napa Valley than SF, and it is only about an hour's drive once you leave the Bay Area. Or you can go a tad further out of the way to Mendicino which is quite picturesque.

I don't know why anyone wants to go to SF, except for the Brochures that are better than the City.

Re:One little detail... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898889)

They hate people there too, unless you are ... a wacko. I'd much rather spend time in Geyserville or Napa Valley than SF, ...

Crappy year for you Republicans. U R going to get soooo spanked in Nov,

The Mormon or the guy married to the fembot - who will it be? Mmmm, mmmmm, mmmm. And you people really think Obama is going to be a one termer?!

Ah hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

Re:One little detail... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899035)

They hate cars in SF. They hate people there too, unless you are a tourist or a wacko.

Eh? You don't live there. Yet you're convinced they hate people there, except for tourists -- which, by definition, must have included you the last time you were there, so what's your beef with San Francisco exactly?

Re:One little detail... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899089)

Yeah, it's inconceivable that he used to be a resident, and moved because they didn't like him?

Re:One little detail... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899169)

Yeah, it's inconceivable that he used to be a resident, and moved because they didn't like him?

I base my assumption on the fact that the places he mentions he'd rather spend time in are leisure destinations in the Northern California wine country. He doesn't say anything about the realities of being a resident in either area.

Re:One little detail... (2)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899103)

As a Californian living in San Diego with family in the Bay Area, I dismiss the guy you are replying to as -1, naive. Parking sucks in every major city. I'm guessing that Archangel Michael grew up in Peoria, Illinois or Abilene, Texas; was somehow offered a job in San Francisco, and experienced total sensory overload when he visited.

My sister works for Columbia university, with decent pay. Think she has a car? Take a moment to answer that, Google map if you have to.

Re:One little detail... (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899251)

As a Californian, who was born and raised in So Cal (San Gabriel Valley) and now living in Northern California (North of Sacramento), I can assure you that they don't like people. How else could you free a Gang Banger Illegal Alien under "sanctuary" laws, allowing said "gentleman" to murder three people? It is because you have a sick twisted sense of "justice".

There is NOTHING in San Fransisco that I need, want or otherwise would go there for. I'd rather drive 10 hours to LA or San Diego and deal with what can only be described as "horrible traffic" than go to SF. In other words, I wasn't complaining about the Parking.

You yourself admit to it with a statement such as this "experienced total sensory overload when he visited", which is code for "not family friendly". Here is a list of things I saw the last time I was in SF.

1) three guys peeing .. together ... I'll leave the rest to your imagination
2) A bum taking a crap in some bushes
3) hit on by no less than 3 hookers, one of which I'm not sure what sex it really was, one was probably female and one was probably male.

That was on my walk from AT&T park to Fisherman's Warf ...Aahhhh culture huh?

Re:One little detail... (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899325)

This coming from the guy who grew up in L.A.'s backyard. You're a funny man.

Go try to park on Wilshire Boulevard, or go to West Hollywood where the cop cars have rainbows [myspace.com] painted on them. (note: when I lived in L.A., the WeHo cop cars had a Pink Floyd-style rainbow design on their doors - it comes with the territory of being a boyfriend of a fag-hag). How's that for family values?

As for your three items, San Diego is probably the most conservative big city in the United States. Yet, come visit downtown SD, and I can show you all three of your items within 3 blocks of city hall.

Re:One little detail... (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899541)

Hollywood, Santa Monica, Wilshire district, etc yeah, I know all about them. Heck, even my current city has its places I wouldn't want to go. But I can walk downtown without getting "an eyeful" ... well most days anyways. San Fran .. probably not so much.

The funniest was telling my French cousins that hooker was a guy ... LOL, they had no idea boys could be so pretty ;)

Re:One little detail... (1)

SuperQ (431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899271)

Yup, as a SF resident I can say I don't give a fuck about how much parking meters cost. I use them maybe once a month or two when I get a zipcar to do a few big item errands.

The only people that give a shit about this are people dumb enough to drive from the east bay instead of taking BART. (or caltrain from the peninsula)

Or maybe the people that live in the Marina and haven't figured out that owning a car in a major city is a bad idea.

Re:One little detail... (2)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898823)

That those rates can go up to $18/hr

That's really nasty.... so you can park to go to work, pay your parking $144 for 8 hours....

Your $30/hour wage, is effectively reduced to a $12/hour wage just by parking, before you have even added taxes.

You earn less than $25/hr you might as well just quit your job, because you'll be in the hole for parking at those unconscionable parking rates.

Re:One little detail... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898837)

Or you take public transport, which is in abundance in San Francisco, and pay $0 for parking. Problem solved.

Re:One little detail... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898867)

public transportation in unAmerican.

Re:One little detail... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899137)

Around here we pronounce it "SF Fucking Muni". Let me know if the city gets around to building a BART line under Geary in your lifetime.

Re:One little detail... (2)

SuperQ (431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899281)

Seriously, this needs to happen yesterday. Fucking Slower Than Walking Muni is why I ride a bike around town.

Re:One little detail... (3, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899093)

That's really nasty.... so you can park to go to work, pay your parking $144 for 8 hours....

Actually, you probably can't. If it's a meter priced at that rate, it's probably time limited. Stay longer than an hour (or whatever) and you get a ticket.

For all-day parking you'd probably want a garage spot, which you might be able to find for $25. Some jobs also offer parking spaces as part of the benefits package. This is just one of the costs of doing business in a heavy congested city area. You wouldn't drive your own car around Manhattan, either.

Re:One little detail... (1)

StuffMaster (412029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898857)

>Not to mention the scam of "street cleaning"

Yeah, I'm lucky enough to live in an area of the city with parking, but even if I don't use my car for anything, I have to move it TWICE A WEEK to avoid those tickets.

Re:One little detail... (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899133)

Yeah, I'm lucky enough to live in an area of the city with parking, but even if I don't use my car for anything, I have to move it TWICE A WEEK to avoid those tickets.

Yeah. Who wants clean streets if it means people like you can't keep cars you never use? You're probably one of those people who bitch about the "bridge and tunnel crowd" taking all the parking spots, but if they'd let you, you'd abandon your junker in the same spot for six months and only move it when you have to tow it to the mechanic to get the engine to turn over. Pay much rent on that stretch of curb?

Re:One little detail... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898863)

San Francisco needs a war on cars, it has the most nightmarish traffic I've ever seen.

Re:One little detail... (2)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899053)

San Francisco needs a war on cars, it has the most nightmarish traffic I've ever seen.

You've never been to Los Angeles or New York, then?

San Francisco is a cramped, Peninsula-bound city that was not designed for modern traffic patterns and could never be re-designed to accommodate them. For all that, though, it's pretty easy to drive around SF. Parking is another matter.

Re:One little detail... (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899391)

Nothing on Rome. Nothing.

Wait until the Chinese have lots of cars. That will be fun.

SF is heading towards being a car free city (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898865)

I don't have a problem with this. I live here, do not own a car, rent one when required ( a few times a year), and I'm happy as a clam.

Leave your car at home when you come visit next time. Shed the addiction.

Re:One little detail... (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898905)

How is charging market rates for a scarce commodity a "war"? The price that results in the spaces being almost full but not quite full is exactly the price they should charge! That's rationing via the market, the efficient way to ration: otherwise you ration the communist/NYC way, where you ration by first-come-first-serve and queues (in this case circling cars).

Do you think everything that isn't government-subsidized equals a war being waged?

SF: At war with cars (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899317)

He didn't say charging the artificially inflated market rates was the war.

That wasn't intentionally against cars, that just naturally came about because all the parking lots are being built into vacant buildings (like the Metreon and surrounding areas) due to the Kaiser family successfully lobbying to get Prop 13 applied to commercial property at the last second before the election that passed it. Then they sell the holding company that owns the parcel rather than the parcel itself, the property never changes hands, and only the rest of us have our property tax ever go up.

He said that some people describe SF as having a war on cars. For the most part, I agree: SF does.

The city is cash-strapped after a bunch of stupid moves by government, such as Willie Brown spending all that money putting actual gold leaf on city hall instead of paying the city's bills, and all the other boondoggles like the road crews starting all the road projects at once when it looked like funding was going to be cut so that they'd have to be paid to complete the repairs on the roads they'd already torn up. One of the other things we say about SF is "the shortest distance between any two points is under construction".

Cars are their way of collecting revenue from people with enough money to afford cars, but not enough to hire a lawyer. If they could have charged people for having noses instead, they would have.

But I think the biggest indicator of SF's war on cars is Critical Ass, where every militant and semimilitant person in the city gets on bikes, intentionally obstructs traffic, and pounds on peoples cars, frequently damaging them, and if the driver defends themselves or their property, the police either do nothing, or they give the ticket to or arrest the car owner. Unless they're not there at all because they're down on Market harassing the Occupy Wall Street crowd.

You can maybe get around your neighborhood on a bike, if you have a lot of time, and happen to work at or near home, and never need to transport anything larger than will fit in your saddlebags.

Oh, and you can forget public transportation... it's not like Europe.

The buses job appears to be pretty evenly split between making sure the rest of traffic moves slowly enough that people can't get where they're going any faster than if they had taken public transportation (job 1), or drunkenly running over pedestrians or bicyclists (job 2), or providing a warm place for a drunks and druggies to hang out until they've ridden the route several times (job 3).

The trains are largely to take people from somewhere they wouldn't be in the first place, if it weren't the only station around, to someplace they don't want to go, except it's also the only station around.

(Yeah, a bit angsty today; maybe I'll join Critical Ass on their next ride and dent on a Ferrari if I can find one).

-- Terry

Re:SF: At war with cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899395)

Bravo! Except most of the critical massholes are from out of town. The in-city bikers I know wish they'd stay the hell away, cause they don't need the monday morning follow-on anger from drivers.

Critical Mass is now just another tourist attraction for the B&T crowd, like the broadway clubs.

Re:SF: At war with cars (1)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899573)

Oh... Don't forget Willie Brown's most ridiculous "gift" to the city: Mission Bay and that ridiculous T-Third rail line.

God forbid he actually put his new light rail line where it'd actually do some good and take people somewhere worth going... like on Geary Street as a replacement for the always-overcrowded and never-ontime 38. Nope, he wanted Mission Bay to be his "legacy" to the city; so we get saddled with a boondoggle of a rail line down third that doesn't go to Candlestick and stops before the Cow Palace... basically not going anywhere worth going.

Sigh. Sometimes I wonder how I can love a city that's so dysfunctional as much as I do.

Re:One little detail... and another possible one! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899191)

I suspect where the future lies... the parking meters will instantly notify the metermaid which meters have expired and still have a vehicle parked in them so that they can arrive quickly to issue a ticket. Maybe, we will even get to the point where each vehicle will be transmitting an identifying code along with the expired meter and the system will automatically send out a 'pay-it-now' ticket to you smartphone, maybe just take the money right out of your account!

Re:One little detail... (1)

SuperQ (431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899243)

And SF needs this money. Right now people living here are going to be paying off hundreds of millions for road repairs due to all the car traffic.

I wish they would extend parking meter hours from 6pm to midnight.

6 hours * 6 days a week * 52 weeks * 8200 spaces * $2.50/hour = only $38M/year. That's not going to pay back the bond measure any time soon.

or.... (1)

Xenious (24845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898671)

you could tear down a few blocks and build a parking garage and have tons of parking!

Now they just need to add a 'reserve' option (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898681)

A reserve button to allow the driver 10 minutes to safely navigate to the spot, which must be within a certain distance according to GPS. Otherwise folks will see the available spot and everyone looking for a spot will be heading towards the small number of spots and competing fiercly, possibly resulting in reckless behavior and safety risks.

Better add a red "Reserved" light in front of each spot. When lit, only the person who reserved the spot is allowed to park there until the allowed time for them to reach the reserved spot expires -- by way of the parking meter refusing to accept payment except by the party holding the reservation, and an automatic parking ticket being issued to the violator.

Re:Now they just need to add a 'reserve' option (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899167)

Better add a red "Reserved" light in front of each spot.
When lit, only the person who reserved the spot is allowed to park there until the allowed time for them to reach the reserved spot expires -- by way of the parking meter refusing to accept payment except by the party holding the reservation, and an automatic parking ticket being issued to the violator.

And a $1 (or so) charge for reserving a spot and then not parking there, or some douche will walk around the city reserving spots on his smart phone.

The steps (0, Troll)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898715)

1. Use smartphone app to locate parking
2. Use smartphone to navigate to open spot
3. Park
4. Receive multi-Franklin ticket from waiting police officer for using smartphone while driving
5. Protest ticket in court that the city is encouraging people to use smartphones while driving
6. Have fine increased by dishonest shill San Francisco court which exists only to fill the city's coffers with contrived fines because that's how the city and county of San Francisco does business.

Illegal to use a cell phone while driving (3, Informative)

0WaitState (231806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898743)

In California it is illegal to use a cell phone while driving. Even while stopped at a traffic light. So tell me again how I'm going to use this parking spot locator service? I guess I could pull off the road into an empty parking spot and pull up the app, um, wait... Even if I did this, glancing down at my phone to follow the map to the parking spot would be illegal. Yes, it's a poorly written law. But there it is.

Main feature here is dynamic upward pricing of parking and more efficient dispatch of meter-maids. The rest is window-dressing.

Re:Illegal to use a cell phone while driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898793)

Coming soon: apps built in to your car.

Re:Illegal to use a cell phone while driving (5, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898821)

Yup, the actual law states that:

The base fine for the FIRST offense is $20 and $50 for subsequent convictions. With penalty assessments, the fine can be more than triple the base fine amount.

Californian here. Knowing people who have been caught breaking that law, even for the first time with no other offenses, you can expect to pay over $400 for that ticket in San Diego and San Bernardino counties. Just a public service announcement for you potential tourists. So slump in your seat so the cops behind you can't see, cover your phone with your hand like you're scratching your ear so the cops to your left can't see, and keep your mind on the road.

Re:Illegal to use a cell phone while driving (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899521)

Ouch, with those penalties I might as well kidnap someone, implant a subdermal bomb into their cranium, and force them to operate the smartphone app for me.

Re:Illegal to use a cell phone while driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899569)

Valet companies will love this. When I parked cars in SF we used VHF -- still not illegal AFAIK. The doorman will work the smartphone and notify the runners of open spaces via VHF. Nobody uses a smartphone at the wheel, and open spaces are efficiently allocated to valet customers.

Re:Illegal to use a cell phone while driving (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898839)

On your iPod Touch which is wifi hotspotted from your smartphone. Not a cell phone!

Network Collision (2)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898827)

There isn't any word of a reservation feature. I'm sure instead of having 1/3rd of drivers randomly searching for parking spots, having 1/3rd of drivers compete for the same apparently few in number spots will work out somewhat less pacifically than wishfully presented.

Re:Network Collision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898951)

Obviously you haven't been to San Francisco where everyone including their grandmother own an iPhone. The areas where they are putting it are also heavily in business areas where most people who have cars also have smartphones. And there aren't any parking spaces to be found in commonly traffic'd areas anyway, so this can help in the decision on whether to pay exorbitant fees at a parking lot/garage.

Old News (4, Informative)

guttentag (313541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898885)

This story is old news:

July 13, 2008
Smart Parking Spaces in San Francisco [slashdot.org]
This fall, San Francisco will test 6,000 of its 24,000 metered parking spaces in the nation's most ambitious trial of a wireless sensor network that will announce which of the spaces are free at any moment. Drivers will be alerted to empty parking places either by displays on street signs, or by looking at maps on screens of their smartphones. They may even be able to pay for parking by cellphone, and add to the parking meter from their phones without returning to the car.

September 28, 2011
IBM Launches Parking Meter Analytics System [slashdot.org]
"It's not just a parking spot, think of it as a 'revenue-producing asset,' says Vinodh Swaminathan, IBM's director of intelligent transportation systems. Working with San Francisco-based startup Streetline, IBM has launched a system designed to help cities ease parking congestion and collect more parking fees. Streetline's remote sensors can determine if a parking space is taken by a car, whether a customer has paid, and how much time is left on the meter. And IBM's business intelligence software parses the data and generates reports and statistics for government managers. Drivers can benefit too: A free mobile phone app can help locate available parking spaces."

Deja Vu (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38898927)

This [slashdot.org] looks familiar. Looks like the French beat them to it.

Only works with a smartphone owning passenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38898953)

Have you ever tried driving in SF while looking at your phone and trying to find a parking spot? Don't try it.
You need a sober adult with a smartphone to direct you where to go.

Already exists in places in Japan (2)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899099)

This already exists on big parking lots (f.ex. of malls) in Japan, where you can see on a map where the free places roughly are, and in front of each lane of parking spaces you will have another indicator indicating whether there are any free places in that lane. Very useful!

Taxis are the way to go. (1)

Physician (861339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899127)

The last time I was in San Francisco, it took about 30 minutes to find a parking spot within a 30 minute walk of a small Asian restaurant I wanted to eat at. And if you've been to San Francisco, you know that you will encounter lots of sketchy characters on that walk. The next time we ate out, we found a parking spot on the wharf and then took a taxi from there to where we wanted to eat. If they are really thinking of charging $20 or $30 an hour for parking, the economics will greatly favor catching a cab.

Re:Taxis are the way to go. (1)

SuperQ (431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899307)

Those aren't "sketchy characters", they're software engineers. That's just how people dress in SF.

Even better is to just take BART into town and walk/cab.

Oh, and if you want Asian, goto Nombe. Yum.

Re:Taxis are the way to go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899465)

If you are taking bart, you probably already have a clipper card, you can use it on muni. http://www.nextmuni.com/ It goes everywhere.

Re:Taxis are the way to go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899563)

And muni is subsidized by parking tickets.

Senior network (2)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899143)

I misread the title of this article as "Senior networks in SF finds parking spaces". And was like :

Yay, finally someone found some good use for all those seniors strewn about the country. And networking them to. Good job.

Well I guess sensors will work as well, but what will the seniors do?

a third must reserve (1)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899227)

if one in three cars is looking for a spot, than one of the five cars around me is competing for my spot. So on a typical street, four lanes wide, each and every single "column" of cars has at least one car looking for a spot.

and my phone tells me that there's an open spot 100 metres away. that's about 15 "columns". Good to know that there's a spot open, with 15 competitors between me and it.

this is yet another idea that helps only temporarily -- until enough people use it. then it because worse than nothing.

Re:a third must reserve (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899441)

Part of the solution is to ratchet the parking costs so that you pay more the greater the utilization. So those 15 will see it's $18 per hour to park, and they'll drive home and take the train. Only the rich bastard or guy with an expense account will park there, your competition will be greatly reduced.

Re:a third must reserve (1)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899605)

they've already done that here. but it's 25, not 18. changes absolutely nothing. cars cost way more than the parking. the parking is insignificant. and you're forgetting that the local businesses want the customers in those cars.
you can't take a train when you intend to go places that the train doesn't.
and you can't take a 20 minute drive, and turn it into a two hour trip with six buses.

you can have more parking though. that's easy. welcome to building infrastructure.

Re:a third must reserve (1)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899619)

interesting though. if you think that 18 is the avenue of the rich, you may want to try working harder. you may find that if you'd actually work the way those of us with 20's do, that maybe you'd have a few 20's too.

meh. (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899249)

but in the future, you'll be able to hit a button and have your smartphone direct you to the nearest parking spot."

Just in time to see someone who ISN'T in the system scoop the space from you.

More efficiency giving parking tickets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899287)

These things will eventually be used to make it more efficient for cops to give parking tickets.

My wife is a big stupid bitch, does anyone here wa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899311)

want to fuck her? She's ready for some small nerd dick while reading man pages...

Re:My wife is a big stupid bitch, does anyone here (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899451)

There are man pages for your wife? Who wrote them? Her or you?

Reliability? (2)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899329)

How reliable will the system be? All the sensors keep working, every parking spot, all the time, five nines? No damage from cutting into the pavement for utility work? Salt will never find its way through cracks and short them out? The maintenance crews will be just as diligent in the low-income parts of town as they are in the high-income parts?

How reliable does it need to be? How does it degrade? At any given moment it seems like maybe 2%-3% of all streetlights are out of commission, let's say the failure rate for sensors is about the same; what happens? What is the failure mode like?

How will drivers react if the system directs them to drive a long way for a parking space that turns out to buried in snow? Or occupied by a motorcycle that didn't trip the sensor?

Is this thing robust, or is it just a fantasy that makes a good demo but becomes useless the first year there isn't enough money for perfect maintenance?

Re:Reliability? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899537)

Five nines? It only needs to be in operation while the meters require you to pay for parking, which is apparently 7am - 11pm Mon - Fri. Any other time and the city won't care if it needs to ticket a car. The failure of a sensor doesn't mean the system goes down either, more likely it would just be a park that users would see an occupied and the system would see as out of order.

Good idea... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38899513)

Isn't it illegal to use your phone while driving?

Old News (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38899613)

SFPark has been around for a while, and there are other apps around that do this on a national scale ( Parking In Motion, MPA, etc), so I'm not sure why this is news.

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