Ad hoc meeting yields no conclusion as dissatisfaction with current program grows
PASO ROBLES — The saga of downtown parking in Paso Robles continues as another Ad Hoc meeting was held on Monday, Aug. 28, to discuss its future as members of the community voice their disapproval of the current program. Yet, the discussion will again continue as no conclusion was met at the end of the meeting.
For several weeks, the Paso Robles Main Street Association has collected input from the community regarding the current downtown parking program. The inch-thick collection of replies was presented to Paso Robles Press and the Ad Hoc committee — and held a collective disapproval of the program.
Some business owners and members of the community are hoping for some middle ground to be found regarding the program. In June, the city council voted to continue with the current program. During that time, it was decided an Ad Hoc committee would be formed to bring forward different solutions to the parking debacle.
Public concerns primarily revolve around difficulties with using the existing parking kiosks and unclear signage. Local business owners argue that these issues deter community members from frequenting the downtown area, and some residents feel as though the focus has shifted towards prioritizing tourists over locals.
Paso Robles resident Linda Midkiff submitted a public comment to the committee, saying, “I have yet to hear any positive comments about the parking regulations. People feel the parking enforcement is overzealous, and many hate trying to find a kiosk or finding that the app isn’t working.”
She adds, “More importantly, the City has been losing money on this endeavor since its inception. The City’s answer seems to be to eliminate any free parking and raise the rates. This plan follows the previous changes of expanding the hours of enforcement, expanding the territory of enforcement, and raising both the parking fees and the fines. And still, the City is losing money. So they want to make the situation even worse for the patrons of downtown by yet again increasing rates and completely eliminating free parking.”
Another resident, Jan Albin, said, “My solution for the downtown parking debacle has always been: you either handle your business and your employees as a responsible, respectful of others adult or find a corner and sell ice cream from a cart.”
During the meeting, Ryan Cornell discussed the financial aspects of the parking program and trolley services in Avila Beach and Morro Bay. Below is a summary of the committee’s consensus on different aspects of the parking program:
- No consensus on terminating the paid parking program.
- Consensus to increase annual senior parking permits.
- Consensus to offer free parking on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
- Consensus to study timed parking in the future.
- No consensus on canceling parking fund debt.
- Consensus for improved signage and outreach efforts.
The Downtown Wine District also gathered 27 signatures representing wineries that believe the downtown parking program should be canceled.
Ultimately, the committee concluded that they had made little progress in formulating a new solution or recommendation to present to the council for evaluation.
For more information on the Downtown Parking Program, visit prcity.com/361/Downtown-Parking
Paso Robles Press is following this story and will provide more updates as they become available.