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Change On The Way For S.D. Parking Meters

Audio

Aired 3/23/11

When it comes to parking meters, would you be willing to walk a little more if it meant paying a little less? You may soon get that option.

A San Diego parking meter on April 11, 2010.
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Above: A San Diego parking meter on April 11, 2010.

— Various studies over the years have shown parking meters in San Diego aren’t being used efficiently. But there’s an effort under way to change that.

Parking-management groups around the city are recommending how meters should be used in their neighborhoods. Bill Keller is with the downtown group.

“This whole process we’ve been going through is not about trying to raise rates,” he said. “In fact it’s about trying to find the right balance between the rates, duration of use and the uses in each neighborhood.”

Keller said, for instance, meters located farther from popular downtown areas might cost less per hour and allow longer parking. But the opposite would be true for meters closer to the action.

Alex Roth is with the mayor’s office, which will consider and implement the recommendations. He said letting neighborhood groups decide how meters should be used makes sense.

“It essentially gives each community the flexibility to tailor the parking meters to the needs of their community,” Roth said. “Whether that means lowering parking-meter rates in certain business districts, or whether it means raising them in other business districts so you can free up parking.”

Roth said what works for meters in one neighborhood might not work in another. A 2004 pilot project in downtown San Diego found allowing flexible times and rates doubled the utilization of street meters and increased parking revenues.

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