- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
- NO SABBATH : Starting in July, people parking in the city of San Luis Obispo on Sundays between 1 and 6 p.m. will have to pay for the privilege.
The San Luis Obispo City Council voted unanimously to impose parking fees on Sundays and raise daily parking rates in the downtown core.
Parking rates in the heart of the downtown area on Higuera Street and a few nearby streets will rise from $1.25 per hour to $1.50. The city will also purchase and install 400 credit card meters to “improve customer convenience,” according to a staff report.
Though the vote on April 5 was unanimous, there were differing levels of enthusiasm for the increase. Councilmember Dan Carpenter wanted to examine fees for parking at night so a fee increase would be unnecessary. Councilmember Andrew Carter wanted to jack the rates up to $1.75 per hour, an idea the rest of the council quickly shot down.
Starting July 1, Sunday parkers will have to pay between 1 and 6 p.m. The city estimates Sunday parking will bring in $212,350 a year in revenue. Minus the $45,215 a year the city estimates it will cost to maintain parking structures, lots, and the meters, the yearly take will be $167,135 with the Sunday fees.
Unfortunately for the city, the cost for installing the 400 credit card meters will more than eat up the Sunday parking profits for quite a while. At a cost of $495 per meter, plus installation and training, the credit card meter “upgrades” will cost the city $222,335. Even when the credit card meters are installed they will drain city coffers. Wireless gateway/data fees—the 400 meters will operate much like Pacific Gas and Electric’s SmartMeters—will cost an estimated $18,000 a year. Management license fees will cost $9,600 a year, along with $15,600 a year in credit card transaction fees.
The new downtown core rate increase will bring in $145,000 a year in estimated additional money, but at a cost. New signs and more coin handling costs will cost $10,000, and the additional coins could trigger the need for higher capacity coin vaults—a $74,000 expenditure. That reduces the first year’s take to $61,000.
When all is said and done, the city will take in
an estimated $5,800 in additional revenue in the first year.
The money from the parking fee increases won’t help the city’s growing financial problems. Additional parking revenue will help finance a $20 million parking structure at Palm and Nipomo streets. This structure is necessary, city staffers say, because of the proposed Chinatown and Garden Street Terraces developments that will be built over existing city parking lots. There will be little or no public parking at the developments whe--or if--they’re built.