Who hasn’t rummaged through bags and searched underneath car seats, scavenging for loose change to feed the meter? Well, residents of San Diego better start loading their pockets with loose change, because the city is looking to raise rates on its parking meters.
According to a March 27 report from the city’s independent budget analyst, a proposal to raise rates for city parking meters and extend operational hours will bring in an extra $8.4 million per year, $4.3 million of which for the city’s beleaguered general fund.
The proposal, which the city council will hear on Monday March 30, includes raising the hourly rates anywhere from 50 cents to 3 dollars and extending the operational hours of parking meters until 2 a.m. and on Sundays.
To date, the city’s 5150 parking meters are used 39 percent of the time, operating 302 days out of the year. The proposal seeks to raise the number of operational days to 354, so the meters would be used 85 percent of the time.
According to the report, the changes can’t happen soon enough: “With the city facing an estimated $60 million deficit for fiscal year 2010, the increased revenue as a result of the changes to the parking meter program would be welcomed.”
Added the report: “The Independent Budget Analyst is supportive of the proposed changes to the Parking Meter Program and is optimistic that the projected revenues will be achieved in time as the program is fully implemented.”
And while everyone wants a balanced budget, representatives from Hillcrest’s Business Improvement District (BID) and members of the community’s planning committee feel the proposal targets Hillcrest, effectively chasing business away.
Uptown Planning Committee chair Leo Wilson wrote in an email to community members: “Other than Downtown, no other community in San Diego will pay this fee -- just Uptown (Hillcrest, Banker’s Hill). A fairer approach would have been to place new meters in other areas of San Diego; but instead we are being selectively targeted....
“There may very well be good reasons to have flexible meter rates in certain locations; but the item needs to be fully discussed in Uptown prior to adoption.”
For more on the city’s initiative to raise rates for parking, spend an hour trying to find an available parking spot near City Hall for the city council meeting on Monday, March 30.