While New York City may be the most expensive place to own a vehicle, San Francisco is certainly in the top three. The parking fees alone cost the average driver over $2,800 a year, which is leaps and bounds above cities like Atlanta and Detroit where the average is below $1,000 a year. Biz Journals has ranked San Francisco as the third worst city for car parking, noting that it costs approximately $375 a month and $29 a day. If you have a vehicle, those numbers can add up extremely quickly.
The Good News and the Bad News
While parking can be prohibitive for many residents and visitors to San Francisco, there are some ways to knock the amount you pay way down. The bad news is that you’ll have to keep abreast of a number of tips to incorporate cheaper parking into your life. We’ve compiled a few of the best tips to save you money when parking in the Golden Gate City.
Quick Tips to Remember
SFParkingGuide.com lists a number of great tips for drivers in San Francisco, and we’ll be listing a few especially useful ones below:
- Every parked vehicle needs to be 18 inches from the curb.
- Vehicles can be on the street no longer than 72 hours.
- If your bumper extends into a no-parking zone, driveway opening, or crosswalk, you can be towed or ticketed.
- Make sure to park on a hill the right way and curb your tires.
Extra Street Parking Tips
According to the experts at Z & Y Restaurant and any residents in San Francisco, one of the most difficult places to park in the city is in Chinatown. We wanted to share a few of the tips specific to that neighborhood so you can ensure the best options are open to you.
- Unless you are a resident with a C permit, in most areas you can only park at unmetered spots for less than two hours.
- If it’s Sunday, metered spots are free. If you snag a spot, there’s a quick savings right away.
- Rates often vary so make sure you check the meter before you run off. Check the hours while you are at it.
Tips from Residents in the Know
Hoodline offers a great set of instructions for those who need additional parking help in the city. We picked out a few that are paramount to understand if you plan to drive on a regular basis in San Francisco.
- You can park in green zones when a business is closed from 6 PM to 9 AM on Monday through Saturday.
- Watch for your street sweeper and memorize the schedule. Once you know when it passes by, you can snap a spot quickly as soon as they move on.
- Authentic red zones are the only red zones that count. Sometimes homeowners will break out the paint to make their own, but you don’t have to follow that.
Using these tips should make parking in San Francisco much less stressful and give you a leg-up against other drivers. While this is only the start of a list, it should give you the information you need to have a calmer and more relaxed drive each day. Be safe out there!