Central City Master Parking Plan
August, 2006Editor, Parking Today:
The city of Sacramento, CA, has just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars gathering parking data in response to the perceived parking problems in the Central City. (Or should I say, the perceived problems of a successful revitalization of the urban core.) At this time, none of the major recommendations of the Central City Master Parking Plan have been implemented.
It's the typical story. Five years ago, you could drive your long-bed pickup truck downtown and park free on-and off-street. Locals have resisted any traditional supply-and-demand improvement techniques - most notably, parking fees and time limitations. Businesses are slowly realizing that they can't park all day in their loading zones and that employees need to park two blocks away and not take up all the prime parking.
The private operators have done their fair share - installing pay-and-display; implementing incremental parking rates: improving inventory via layouts; and most important, eliminating more than 75% of the monthly parking in strategic surface parking lots. More than 300 new transient stalls have been created without a single city dollar being utilized. Now, inventory is controlled via early birds and pricing. Parking is still economical and available off-street even at the highest peak-demand periods - $5 for valet restaurant parking; public parking is about $2.50 per hour and $10 daily max.
Now the kicker: The goals and recommendations fly in the face of even the most liberal Shoupista! That is, businesses can't get operating permits or parking variances without off-street parking. Developers are going to be required to build a minimum number of stalls per unit. The city is looking to implement a bond for expensive and probably not strategic garages in a very physically constrained environment. The residential neighborhoods are going to be off-limits or limited parking - it goes on and on ...
I think this should be a nominee for your Parking Blog's "City by the Bay award." It's not unusual to find a city that pays for a solution when in fact there really isn't a problem.
Name withheld by request