SLO’s draconian parking measures harm our community

November 4, 2023


There has been growing outrage at the new draconian parking measures put in place by the San Luis Obispo City Council to pay for their past mistakes. Lots of average Joes (like me) and many local businesses are alarmed at the consequences of these new policies.

Apparently, this has gotten the attention (duh, does it take a mob of angry citizens to get our ‘leaders’ heads out of the sand?) of the council and they called for a special meeting on Nov 7 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss this. All you good folks of SLO are invited to attend this meeting and/or email the council at to express your feelings.

I sent this note to the SLO City Council some days ago:

I am one of the outraged public about the costs, reduced hours (to almost nothing) of free parking, the high cost of tickets, confusing Kiosks and so on.

About a month, ago I heard about your puny one hour free parking for locals (in only one garage!!!!). Not being a full on internet nerd I engaged an expert friend of mine to help me sign up, good thing I did. Forty five minutes and three calls to the helpline later I finally got hooked up. What a frustrating nightmare. Did anyone think to review that process for ease of use?

A while back, I got a parking ticket (not downtown), I paid it immediately online with my credit card. Credit card fees are about 3.5 %, your parking ticket department charged me 5%!

All this points to the comparison between our glorious leaders and the Sheriff of Nottingham.

No matter what, the high fees and other nuisances are just aggravating and shoppers are going elsewhere, strangling our downtown-thanks to poorly thought out policies of those we had put our trust in.

I wonder about all the low paid workers in our downtown, how are they managing? What about all the shoppers who have fled to other pastures? What about our dear Palm theater, an icon that is being wiped out by your policies? The owner, Jim Dee, has done so much for this town and this is his reward.

We all know money is tight, and you have much to manage. That is true for Joe Citizen as well.

Perhaps, you could review the outrageous salaries of top staff and other aspects of the budget to find areas that are taxing our resources more than necessary.

We all want a user friendly and vibrant downtown, I don’t think your methods are working.

How about garage parking with validation from certain, or all, businesses for an hour or two (especially for the Palm since movies are over an hour)?

And I have another concern. Remember when our glorious leaders jammed that rental inspection thing down our throats back in 2014 or so? That was so poorly conceived, implemented and run that folks across the political spectrum hated it. Might even have contributed to Mayor Marx losing to that trickster Heidi Harmon.

After the landslide election for a bunch of so-called ‘progressives’ (I am a real progressive, none of them were) in 2016 the first thing they did was hold a town hall meeting at the Vets Hall to ‘look into’ the rental inspection fiasco. What a childish, ridiculous and waste of time that disaster was. What a bunch of absolute fools. Instead they should have just revoked the damn ill conceived ordinance. I say this as a warning to our present council (which has only one remaining ‘progressive’ from those dark past times)-try to act like adults and don’t waste our time with foolish games.

And don’t waste our money on hired out consultants etc. just send some of the overpaid staff downtown to talk to our businesses that are being crushed under the weight of taxation and lack of customers because we refuse to pay the outrageous parking fees.

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I completely agree. In the early-mid 2000’s, SLO had a ton of local shops, including record stores, niche restaurants, boutiques, and community gathering places. You’d be able to park for a few hours at the meters and just walk around and enjoy yourself. Younger people from Santa Maria, Paso, Atascadero, Pismo, Grover, Nipomo, Orcutt, and other cities would regularly go to SLO to hang out and spend money.

The last time I visited SLO, parking in a regular spot for just a few hours to shop and get lunch ended up costing us over $20. This is why SLO is almost entirely tourists and people over 60. All of the local shops and boutiques are gone, replaced by or only survived by overpriced chains. Young people have fled SLO en masse.

Bring back SLO as the coolest place on the Central Coast for people under 40 to hang out. Continually raising parking prices and making expensive businesses inaccessible to anyone local to regularly hang out ensures that SLO will continue along a path toward becoming a tourist hellhole.

Try finding a place to park a contractor bed work truck anywhere near the county or city Building department.

Ironically they both have an organization titled “Planning”.

We go eat and shop mostly at Pismo. Although they are trying to catch up with SLO. After almost being towed, with a handicap sign, on a Thursday, 2e eat out of town. There is no HC parking down town. Got bike lanes but hardly any hc parking