Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons


What is quickly becoming the most sought-after Downtown real estate is a simple parking space.

Parking lots are disappearing to make way for our new neighbors, and many parking spaces are now unavailable due to construction.

The spaces left are meters with posted time limits, generally two-hours. These meters are usually only adjacent to commercial properties, but there are many in residential areas sitting unused all day, every day. Residents and workers are simply unable to move their cars every two hours to another parking space.

45% of meter revenue is used to increase parking supply Downtown. Three parking garages are under construction. Two are in remote locations to effectively benefit non-residential workers.

As you know, I’m a walker. I never drive within the limits of Downtown, and rarely drive beyond, only to Whole Foods for groceries and Hailey Bakich for the cut and color of the month.

I must admit, when I visit Hailey in Bankers Hill I drive around several blocks waiting for an open non-metered space. When my hope for the space doesn’t materialize, I begrudgingly dig into my change to plug the meter. I don’t like to pay for parking.

Parking spaces are not only becoming scarce, but also more expensive. City Council voted to help decrease the budget deficit by raising the parking meter rates. Will rates in parking garages be far behind?

This price increase won’t noticeably affect me, yet inadvertently it affects our neighborhoods’ quality of life.

With the ever-decreasing desirable parking spaces, will non-residents looking for the elusive space circle block after block creating the appearance of even more cars on our busy streets?

And when the driver finally does find that precious space, does he create a perilous situation by crossing lanes to grab it?

With our population growing, will businesses servicing our needs and desires forgo opening up Downtown because of parking expense for employees and shoppers?

I wonder…How can we make space for desirable spaces?

“ We want people to come Downtown and instead they're pushed away to other areas by trying to get more revenue from our meters. Why not add parking meters in La Jolla!!” Deborah Herscovitz (Crown Bay)

“ Cortez Hill is a free parking lot that fills up early each day with office workers. Residents deserve a parking space near their homes. Neighborhood Parking Permits would solve the problem; it's the right thing to do.” Gary Nobel, Cortez Hill

“ Not only does it inconvenience customers and people visiting Little Italy and Downtown, it will drive up the price of the private parking lots. I understand the city needs their revenues, but they need to be more creative than raising the meter rates. I can see noting but negative results from this.” Guy Matsuda, Little Italy

Parking meters should only be placed in commercial areas citywide, leaving residential areas with longer time zones and permits for residents. Then, we can decrease the rates to 50 cents an hour! - July 3, 2003

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