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More Free Parking For Hillcrest Residents, Visitors

Credit: Nathan Rupert / Flickr

The blur of car lights illuminate the street at night in San Diego's uptown neighborhood of Hillcrest.

Aired 6/6/14 on KPBS News.

The 202 parking spaces are mostly courtesy of the Uptown Community Parking District, which receives 45 percent of meter money from the city of San Diego.

Those coins you put in a Hillcrest parking meter buy you more than just time. Thanks to the meter funds, more than 200 new free parking spaces are opening in the uptown San Diego neighborhood Friday.

The new spots come courtesy of the Uptown Community Parking District, which receives 45 percent of the money from parking meters in Hillcrest, Bankers Hill, Mission Hills and Five Points. The organization is using some of those funds to lease 158 parking spaces from the state Department of Motor Vehicles on Normal Street. Plus, realigned parking spots on nearby streets made room for 44 more, which brings the total of new parking spaces to 202.

Future Parking Projects

In addition to the ParkHillcrest Trolley, recent programs from the parking district include Hillcrest community valet and the ParkHillcrest mobile app.

During the fiscal year that begins July 1, the Uptown Community Parking District will use some of its $676,000 annual budget to explore expanding the parking validation program. The organization is also looking to connect its mobile app to the city's new smart parking meters for real time data on meter availability.

Elizabeth Hannon, the district's chief operating officer, said one of the organization's goals is to keep up with the demand of parking. A recent study by the district showed the extent of the projected parking shortfall.

“The year 2020 it’s expected to have about 250 spaces short," she said. "Then moving another 10 years into the future, 450 spaces short based on the current demand for parking."

The free parking spaces at the DMV will be available after-hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and on weekends and holidays.

The district will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the DMV lot Friday at 6:30 p.m.

It will also feature the reveal of a new look for the ParkHillcrest Trolley, a free tram service that runs through the neighborhood on weekends. Graphics featuring Hillcrest community members will adorn the vehicle.

"It's everybody from a young woman who uses a wheelchair — because the Park Hillcrest Trolley is fully accessible — to a very famous local chef," Hannon said.

In addition to the chef, Andrew Spurgin, the trolley will feature images of a "hipster" who founded a gourmet mustard company at the Hillcrest Farmers Market and Glitz Glam, and a drag performance artist who recently married his longtime partner in a ceremony officiated by Queen Latifah during the Grammy's.

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