SLO City Council to consider lowering parking rates

November 6, 2023

SLO City Council


The San Luis Obispo City Council is scheduled to discuss parking rates and the impact the increased costs have had on downtown visitors during a meeting on Tuesday, according to the agenda.

The council plans to discuss parking rate relief options that include bringing back the one-hour free parking to all city structures. In addition, the council will consider authorizing a parking rate study.

Last June, the council voted unanimously to double downtown parking rates, effective July 2023, with  plans to build a fourth parking structure. 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.

Downtown business owners say the changes resulted in fewer visitors and less revenue. Research by city staff shows a decline in visitors to the downtown from 2022 to 2023, according to a staff report.

The council approved the rate increases to help pay for the new parking structure, which will provide needed capacity on the west end of downtown in what has become the developing Cultural Arts District. The new San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre will be built adjacent to the structure.

The current rate structure was developed based on the cost of the proposed parking garage. However, the cost estimates have changed, with a considerable savings. The proposed study would look into reducing rates based on the cost savings.

Currently, downtown street parking rates are slated to increase to $5 an hour on July 1, 2025.


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5 dollars an hour for parking? No one in the city considered how insane this is? This is San Luis Obispo, NOT downtown Los Angeles!

One more example of voting for “feel good failure”. What in God’s name ever happened to common sense? High rates=low revenues. Add in the vagrants, and who would want to patronize downtown?

Why not raise the rate to $10.00 for the first hour after which the rate will be $15.00 per hour. Or higher if you wish. Wont matter in the least to me I haven’t shopped there since they put in the silly parking meters! I would like to shop there again but………. well you know what’s keeping me from it.

Way too late!! All of our shopping is in Santa Maria. And no, I’m not sorry about that!

Suggestion Mayor & City Council; STOP listening to staff & start listening to the people you serve. I know that sounds foreign to you, but you’re destroying downtown in the process.

I used to roll my eyes at the folks that posted that they would no longer go to downtown because of the cost of parking. A couple of months ago I went downtown and paid $4 for a 15 minute visit to a store. I now stay away from downtown unless I am going out to dinner. Death by a thousand cuts.

Too little, too late, we have new shopping and dining patterns that do not include downtown SLO.

Thank you. The damage is done – irrevocably. I for one will never give the city of SLO the opportunity to write me a $75 ticket for a 0.75c omission again.

Fully support bringing back the first hour free – a nice, popular convenience, I often support the councils decisions, but that’s one I thought was quite bad. Would also like to see a return of the gates being raised at night, meaning you often had to pay nothing if you went downtown for dinner, but I also understand that probably is not fiscally sustainable. I would also like to see the rates divided into smaller time increments – if I spend 2 hours and 1 minute downtown, it really sucks to have to pay for 3 full hours; IF they keep the current rate, make it a dollar every 20 minutes, or 1.50 every half hour.

The higher the parking fees the lower the sales tax revenue. If folks feel they are being fleeced with parking fees they will not visit downtown then both the city and the business owners loose

They don’t have the intellectual fortitude to understand this concept!