Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

The City of San Diego’s Parking Management Mission Statement is "To promote a quality living environment for the citizens and visitors by maximizing available parking, maintaining traffic flow, and enhancing public safety and awareness."

Disappearances happen overnight. Our once ubiquitous blocks of surface parking lots are vanishing as new condominium projects spring up in their place. Because of past policies, our new housing developments have a shortage of resident parking, let alone any spare room for visitors, contractors, or even postal workers delivering mail.

As dwellers begin to park their second cars on the street even more cars become displaced. The dance begins as drivers circle the block, searching for a temporary resting place.

Even more frustrating than the endless orbiting of our streets is the undeniable fact that some neighborhoods vie intensely for on-street parking while other neighborhoods leave their metered parking unused.

How can we efficiently maximize our metered parking? Do we really want parking structures popping up throughout our neighborhoods for commuting workers and visitors, even if they are aesthetically wrapped with office and residential units? What new ideas and solutions are lurking out there?

I question…can we meter our meters?

These Downtowners have committed their time and talent by serving on the Downtown Parking Management Group. A forthcoming pilot program will test new time limits and rates of on-street parking in the Marina, Little Italy, Cortez, and East Village neighborhoods. The test will add 4-hour and 9-hour zones with rates ranging from $0.50 to $1.25.

John Cunningham (San Diego Square) believes Downtown’s parking situation is entering a long overdue transformation that can benefit the residents, business, community, and city. Be on the lookout for lower parking meter rates, increased parking meter hours, and a greater revenue for creative solutions.

Plenty of parking spaces are available after work hours in office garages. John Collum (Renaissance) thinks allowing residents to purchase monthly parking passes after hours and weekends would be beneficial to all.

John Lawrence (Beech Towers) feels the new multi-space parking meter stations would allow for a closer look at occupancy rates so meter rates and time limits are adjusted for optimum occupancy.

Another idea that appeals to Paul Robinson (Meridian) is regulating meters in neighborhoods by extending hours of operation to 10 p.m. daily seven days a week.

Gary Smith (Park Row) dreams about a shuttle connecting residents, workers and visitors to the waterfront, Balboa Park, neighborhoods, markets, offices, and restaurants.

Imagine parking structures nestled up to the freeway, where cars disappear within and pedestrians emerge with their briefcase in hand and newspaper tucked smartly under their arm. They would stop briefly to pick up their favorite caffeinated beverage and take a regenerating stroll to their office, greeting others who share their daily path. Or instead they could drop a quarter to board the “Circulator” and relax as the electric shuttle driver quickly and quietly moves passengers to their destination. Our streets - uncluttered and walkable. - May 2005

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