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SLO delays charging for Sunday parking

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The city of San Luis Obispo delayed plans to charge for Sunday parking due to the time and cost of replacing signs.

City staffers underestimated the time it would take and the costs involved for re-signing the downtown area. City officials planned to start charging for Sunday parking in October, but now plan to wait until early next year.

In July, staffers told the City Council the effort would cost $11,000, but the cost is now estimated to be $102,500. The initial estimates were predicated on city workers doing most of the changeover work, but it turns out city work crews are too busy to do the job, and the work turned out to be more involved than initially thought.

“Although it was originally believed that the city streets crew could complete this work, their current prioritized workload does not allow the crew to perform the sign removal and replacements within the required timeframe,” according to a city staff report. “As a direct result, the only way to complete the project is
to be contracted out with a higher labor cost.”

An outside contractor will now likely do the work.

The initial cost estimate didn’t include updating the signs to new federal retroreflectivity standards that will be required by 2015. The City Council also insisted that parking fees only be required between 1 and 6 p.m. to avoid charging Sunday churchgoers. Because the Sunday parking times differ from the rest of the week, every pole will need a new sign. That means the city needs new poles, too, that can hold up the additional weight of the new signs, which drove up the final costs.

The city is slated to bring in $167,000 each year for charging for Sunday downtown parking, according to city reports. Money from the new fees won’t help bolster the city’s general fund. Instead, the money will go to help pay for a $20 million parking structure to be built at Palm and Nipomo streets.

The City Council will have to modify or sign off on the new schedule at its Oct. 4 meeting.

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