Mayor Swearengin: Parking Initiatives Will Benefit Downtown Businesses, Residents, Employees
– Mayor Ashley Swearengin today announced a series of steps aimed at improving parking options for downtown businesses, residents, and employees as part of her vision to create a vibrant city center.
“We’ve heard the message loud and clear from businesses, residents and workers that parking makes coming downtown more of a challenge than it needs to be,” Mayor Swearengin said. “The changes we’re proposing for City Council approval will help us better manage the scarce resource of on-street parking, while providing more convenient choices for users.”
The steps announced by Mayor Swearengin include:
- Creating a new Downtown Corridor Parking District to help business owners market residential units for sale or rent by offering potential customers a variety of parking options;
- Creating better on-street parking options for residents at a reasonable rate ($80 per year);
- Creating a new permit that would be available for frequent downtown visitors to purchase, allowing extended parking at meters;
- Continuing to work on a suite of services to improve parking and complement events and activities in the downtown area, including free parking on Fridays and new technology for meters to accept debit and credit cards; and,
- Within 45 days, the City will release a Request for Proposal (RFP) for parking management service focused on customer service. The RFP will seek proposals for operators of the City’s existing lots and garages that have the ability to meet rigorous operating and accounting standards while delivering a positive customer experience. “The lots and garages are the first and last element of many visitors’ experience downtown, so the quality of this experience affects not only the bottom-line revenue to the City, but the viability of businesses in the entire area,” Mayor Swearengin said.
Proposals related to the Downtown Corridor Parking District and a monthly meter occupancy program will be presented to City Council at its Thursday, Dec. 5, meeting.Downtown Corridor Parking District
The City is proposing the creation of a Downtown Corridor Parking District, an area bounded by Divisadero, H Street, Ventura Street and U Street that will allow on-street parking permits to be issued to residents. There are approximately 20 housing developments that are newly constructed or rehabbed, under construction or planned for the near future. This area ultimate may produce more than 600 housing units.
The permits would be valid for on-street parking in controlled areas or time zones at locations where alternate parking is available. Under the proposal, the permits would cost $80 a year.
The permits issued will specify the locations and/or blocks where they are valid. The passes will be color-coded per location and can only be used for the closest designated street parking area. They cannot be used in any other section of downtown or metered stalls. Each eligible resident will have the opportunity to be issued one on-street parking permit per qualified housing unit.Parking Meter Occupancy Permit
Select business owners, legal service providers, couriers and downtown employees who currently use the Parking Meter Smart Card have requested an additional service allowing for the purchase of a special permit to be used at meters, but with no time restrictions.
As a one-year pilot, the City is proposing creation of a $120 per month occupancy permit that will be valid at metered stalls only and include extended time limits beyond the restrictions posted on the meters. It is estimated that about 50 permits would be sold monthly, resulting in $72,000 in revenue a year.
As part of the proposal, the City also is proposing a one-time $3 fee for the parking meter Smart Card, which allows customers to pre-purchase a bulk amount of meter time to be used as needed at parking meters. The card is provided by a specialized vendor and contains a microchip that is customized to be read by the City of Fresno’s parking meters. About 600 cards are sold annually.
Mayor Swearengin also reminded downtown visitors that parking will be free Thursday, Nov. 28, through Sunday, Dec. 1. In addition, she said parking is free weeknights after 6 p.m. and on weekends unless there is a special event downtown. The City’s Parking Division posts signs around downtown entry points and intersections when a special event is occurring that will result in enforcement at parking meters.
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