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LETTER TO COMMUNITY: Creating change with parking meter change

SAN DIEGO – Councilmember Todd Gloria, serving as chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, today championed changes to policies and procedures to make more effective use of available funds for parking improvements in the City of San Diego.

“The shortage of parking is a problem in many San Diego communities, and funds are available to solve it,” Gloria said. “City staff and parking districts must move forward with tangible parking improvements for our neighborhoods.”

Community Parking District (CPD) advisory boards have expressed frustration with the speed at which their proposals and projects are analyzed and implemented by City staff. Councilmember Gloria and parking-impacted neighbors believe a focus by CPDs on studies and reports has resulted in too few benefits or additional parking spaces.

The Budget and Finance Committee today held an oversight hearing that discussed guidelines for the use of parking meter funds and took action to resolve challenges and streamline the current process.

The Committee approved a motion asking City staff to consider potential changes identified by Councilmember Gloria for inclusion in Council Policy 100-18 and to modify existing agreements with the City’s CPD and asking staff bring back changes to the Budget and Finance Committee for consideration. Potential modifications include but are not limited to the following:

-- Prioritizing funding for tangible results and creating additional parking spaces;

-- Eliminating inappropriate restrictions on allowable distances and impact zones for CPD project expenditures;

-- Using previous successful projects as guidelines for future implementation to cut down on analysis and review time;

-- Increasing regular coordination with necessary City departments and City Attorney;

-- Adding quantifiable performance measures into annual plans and budgets for CPD Board.

Parking meter revenue is split between the City’s General Fund, which receives 55%, and CPDs, which receive 45%. CPDs are tasked with using the funds to implement parking solutions in their neighborhoods. Three CPDs have amassed unallocated balances totaling more than $1 million in areas that all suffer from tremendous parking shortages:

-- Uptown: $1,100,801

-- Mid-City/El Cajon Boulevard: $244,607

-- Mid-City/University Heights: $158,875

At the hearing, Councilmember Gloria called out some parking improvements that have been implemented in recent years.

-- Angled parking was installed on Meade Avenue near Campus Avenue in University Heights, yielding a net gain of 10 parking spaces for a cost of $3,200.

-- The long-fenced vacant Pernicano’s parking lot in Hillcrest was opened for public use, generating 36 parking spaces at no cost to the City.

-- A bicycle parking corral in Hillcrest added 12 on-street bike parking spaces for $2,500.

“It doesn’t take a lot of money to make a big difference in addressing parking shortages. Our neighborhoods deserve more of these improvements,” Gloria said.

Gloria will continue to fight to ensure neighborhoods receive benefits as mitigation for their impacted parking conditions. Next steps include hiring a City traffic engineer to coordinate projects and updating parking regulations to clarify and simplify policies.