SLO City Council agrees to bring back limited free parking

November 8, 2023


The San Luis Obispo City Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday to provide limited free parking downtown during a contentious meeting.

The council agreed to provide one hour free parking in the city’s parking structures and free parking in structures on Sundays. The changes will go into effect on Thanksgiving weekend and last through July 1, 2025.

On July 1, 2023, two-hour street parking in the main downtown core increased from $2 an hour to $4 per hour while parking in structures rose from $1.50 an hour to $3 per hour. The city also eliminated its first-hour-free parking in all city structures.

During the meeting, multiple downtown business owners said the increased rates were destroying the downtown. Public speakers also complained about issues with the kiosks and ticketing.

In addition, the council voted to authorizing a parking rate study that will also look into improving the user experience.

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If people who park don’t pay for parking, who does? It’s incredible how much welfare subsidies, and entitlements motorists want. Maybe you’d prefer a raise in sales tax or property tax to pay for services instead of user fees. I personally believe in responsibility – pay for what you use. I’m begging once again CCN commenters to return to the real world, and be realistic about how to pay for government infrastructure/services.

We don’t prefer a raise in taxes at all!

We willingly pay for infrastructure, when it has been shown to improve the actual needs of the city.

Huge increases in parking taxes for a parking garage to house a theater group that has never brought in the ticket sales that would cover the expense…..ain’t it.

Repave all the crappy streets (upper Monterey for example), stop pandering to a small minority of bicycle enthusiasts, and stop hiring city workers at exorbitant salaries.

“Pay for what you use”? I don’t ride a bicycle, and I don’t park in the garages. What exactly would be my responsibility?

You don’t get to screw things up, claim it’s the normal, then say “return to the real world”. That’s not my world. Mine is hell bent on fiscal and social sanity.

Let’s see.

1. I also also don’t want a tax increase either (although we should eliminate property tax and instead have a land value tax)

2. The city parking structures improve needs. Glad we are both willing

3. I think there is a misunderstanding, the theater is using half of the first floor of the structure; the structure isn’t for them, it’s just the land is being used for both purposes and the REP is contributing funds for their portion. I personally think it’ll be nice to revitalize that part of downtown with a theater next to the art and history museums.

4. We should definitely repave upper Monterey, that road is awful. Which salaries specifically?

5. If you’re not parking in the structure, so I assume you’re parking on the street next to a meter? You’re paying for the very valuable downtown, unimproved land which is being occupied by your vehicle. That space, I think, would be better utilized by making it part of the businesses (seating, stands, etc.), but instead it is occasionally somewhere a vehicle stays. As for bikelane – they make the road safer for cars and bikes while also reducing traffic (more bikes = less cars) so motorists pay for what is helping them

6. The version of “fiscal sanity” I usually hear is “parking should be always free”. Parking isn’t free, someone, often all of us are paying for it. I want to hear why your alternatives are better through the merits and details.

The purpose of getting people to go downtown is to patronize businesses. Why not have businesses “validate” parking for customers who make minimum purchases. The merchant pays for the parking.

After they have a study on the present situation they can pay for another study to see if validation works. Then they can go back to the original study and study that. After that they can have a study to determine how much free parking could have been offered for the price they paid for all previous studies and so on and so forth in perpetuity.

You would have to spend a lot of money in order to make up the revenue that funds parking costs. It also sounds like a logistical nightmare, “excuse me waiter, can I have my check and while you’re at it hole-punch this parking ticket please”

“validate” parking ” Lol, Lets do S&H greenstamps if we are going to go back in time.

Do you validate parking? Like 1973.

We are all concerned about the trillion dollar plus national fiscal deficit, but we aren’t even able to restrain local gov’t’s administrative and supervisorial salaries and benefits here. We need to reduce these costs now and become a beacon of restrained gov’t expenditures. 

These parking fees should be a rallying cry, “Reduce gov’t cost!”

Which government costs?

Simple solution: Locals registering their cars on the city’s parking portal park for free in ANY parking structure. Not just the measly 1hr free parking in the structure at 842 Palm.

There, now you don’t have to pay for another study.

One, that’s what the council is doing, exactly what you said. Unless you’re talking about free for the full duration… but isn’t that freeloading?

If my taxes built the thing, how is that freeloading?

What Messkit said, and yes for the duration.

I really don’t shop downtown and I stopped going to the movies down there when parking started costing as much as the movie. If I went downtown to go out for dinner I’m afraid the server’s tip would be impacted by the anticipated parking fee.

I don’t mind paying for parking, just not at these rates.

They will probably ignore the results of the study, remove more parking spaces for bicycle lanes and then double the parking cost again?

How much is bike parking?