Paso Robles plans to double parking rates, eliminate free parking

February 10, 2023


Paso Robles wants to double its downtown parking rates to make up for money the city is losing on its parking program.

In 2019, the city began charging $1 an hour for parking in the downtown area, with the first two hours free. The plan was to manage the demand for downtown parking with a program that would become cost neutral in five years.

While paid parking revenues have averaged $11,800 per month, on-going expenses run just under $30,000 per month, according to a city staff report.

During the same time period, the city collected approximately $28,500 a month in parking ticket revenue from the same area.

In December, the city council voted 3-2 to eliminate the first two hours of free parking and to raise the hourly rate to $2 an hour, with an expectation the changes will increase paid parking revenue to approximately $85,000 a month, with Councilman Chris Bausch and Mayor Steve Martin dissenting.

The increase parking fees require a second approval by the Paso Robles City Council, which is scheduled for Feb. 21.

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It says that the ongoing expenses are just shy of $30,000 per month, and that they collected $28,500 in revenue from parking tickets, plus the $11k, and that their plan was to create a cost neutral plan. If they want a cost neutral plan, then why are they shooting for over $85,000 per month? Do they want to have a cost neutral program or do they want to make a bunch of money from parking?

Heck, it’s probably going to cost over $50,000 just to change out all the damn signs that say the first 2 hours are free!

Paso Robles! Used to be a nice little town to go visit, shop, dine, spend a little time in the park. Until it became a “wave” town.

I don’t visit Paso Robles much anymore, but I do wave as I drive by it North or South on the 101 each day on my commute.

Well, just another city to stop spending money in. We have already paid for those streets and parking spaces with our taxes. Now they want to charge you again for something you already paid for previously. Think about it.

Paso has done well to build their tourism and niche for their coffers. This will hinder it and eventually hurt the locals and continue to grow a root of bitterness within the community.

The city of Paso Robles is quickly looking like SLO city when it comes to greed and an elitist mindset of those in leadership. The people will slowly turn from this as they have in SLO. With the cost of everything increasing across the board, this just doesn’t make sense to the average person. What’s next? A toll booth on the east, west, north, and south before entering your city? Why stop there, get them leaving as well. The simple absurdity of their dreadful ignorance. Thanks, but I think I’ll spend my money elsewhere.

Everyone is likely wondering the same thing – just what the heck is costing the City $360,000 per year in expense?!! Apparently this cost did not exist before the new parking program, but thanks to the genius of government bureaucrats they have “solved” one “problem” and created a whole new set of issues with expenses that did not previously exist with the original “problem” to be solved. Seriously?

Is Paso Robles now following the path of the SLO planners whereby they envision parking solutions that don’t match the reality of the needs and desires of the consumers? I once adored SLO and frequently shopped and dined downtown, however I now refuse to endure the insanity of that chit-show.

It is not too late to turn back Paso Robles, but I fear we are watching the implosion of a beautiful thing.

Makes no sense, SLO city officials are spending lots of money to get you out of your vehicle to visit downtown and yet they have plans for another parking structure, does that make any sense?

If their plan is successful what happens to the extra $55,000 a month in profits? Or is this their plan as a way to give themselves and the board of supervisors a raise?It’s a good way to eliminate local residents to shop downtown and only attract tourists.

I was going to Paso Robles, just had my mind changed for me. Thank You City!

Fantastic. Paso is making the right step towards fiscal responsibility and creating a better downtown. Free parking has costs; direct costs of maintaining the expensive downtown infrastructure and indirect costs through induced demand and making the downtown nothing but an ocean of parking lots. Next step is to eliminate all parking minimums, build parking structures, and return on street parking to businesses and pedestrians. Even if your vision isn’t as bold as mine, recognize this is the government balancing it’s checkbook – if drivers aren’t paying for parking, taxes are. City dollars that could go to more services, parks, police, road repair, economic development and more (and sure tax cuts too!) are being wasted to subsidize freeloading motorists who can’t be bothered to spend two dollars on the way to their 50 dollar meal. Great decision!

Here is a suggstion to the city I’m sure they haven’t coinsidered. Reduce your biggest expenditure, salries, pensions and compensation. This can be done two ways, first reduce the number of employees and two reduce all salaries proportionally, highest salaries get the greatest reduction, possibly even to the point where there is a cut off, say for those making $100,000 in total compensation no reduction.

Here is a link to the Paso Robles budget

What specifically are you looking to cut? Water utilities? Firefighters? Police? Road repair? It’s easy to imagine that there are all these wasted dollars out there, but no one actually wants to cut anything when you look at the budget.

As for cutting salaries, sure, why not just pay them nothing, public servants should just work for free! That’d be silly of course, no one besides bribe takers would ever work there. Public sector employees already make less than their peers, how do you expect to have anyone competent in government if you pay them in loose change. What’s ironic is that it’s this exact stingy attitude that has created the pension problems straining budgets – taxpayers chose lower salaries and higher benefits as a way to kick the cost down the road and look what’s happened since 2008. You get what you pay for.

I could not agree more and have ranted about the outrageous salaries and benefits – especially defined benefit pension plans – for years. Cities are effectively paying a second workforce with the city contributions to the CalPERS for retirees.

Here was my idea: give every employee three years from a fixed date – say 2024 or 2025 – to decide to continue on working or leave in the next three years, taking their higher pension with them. This gives them a reasonable amount of time to decide what they want to do. At the end of the three year period, pensions will be capped at $110,000 a year – that’s $5000 a week. Since many higher level bureaucrats and public safety personnel fall into that bracket and presently make far more than that in retirement, it would free them to retire, to look for another job, or continue working knowing their pension was set at the cap.

It would also open up job opportunities for younger workers who would also be subject to the cap. Or the cap could be determined another way, say as a percentage of average salary; just get creative. Pensions are killing cities!

Do I find that high of a pension benefit outrageous? Absolutely. But we can’t renege on what has been promised. This modest proposal would protect existing employees and start to right the ship for the future.

And that means cities would have more control over their budgets and not have to nickel and dime residents for excessive parking fees and so on.

so – wait – they started to lose money when they started charging for parking? how about eliminate the pay for parking, your expenses go back to, I dunno, zero? pretty soon, they’ll need a new parking structure and more ticket writers.

god forbid, a town encourages people to come to their downtown.

The article says nothing of the sort. Even if free citywide parking was a good idea (it isn’t, it’s a terrible one) there would still considerable expenses with maintaining downtown infrastructure, who’s gonna pay for that? As it stands Paso doesn’t collect enough revenue to sustain it’s existing level of services, the can got kicked down the road and now it’s time for automobile owners to pay for the externalities of automobile designed cities. No more taxpayer handouts!!

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