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Varied Rates and Time Restrictions Pilot Project

Project Summary

On November 24, 2004, City Council approved the Downtown Parking Pilot Program to test new strategies to optimize the use of on-street parking in the downtown area and potentially citywide. The Downtown Parking Management Group [DPMG] was appointed as the advisory body to work with city staff to test the use of varying meter rates and time restrictions to improve parking space utilization rates in selected portions of the downtown area.

The DPMG made recommendations to city staff to adjust rates for selected meters from $.50 to $1.25 per hour and modify time limits ranging from one-hour to nine-hour durations. The recommended rates and time limits were designed to achieve a target utilization rate of 85 percent (15 percent vacancy) -- the optimal point at which parking supply is maximized yet there remains a sufficient level of parking available to reduce cruising-induced traffic and facilitate ingress and egress. In highly desirable areas with convenient parking, the hourly rates were set to the highest allowable rate and time limits set shorter to promote turnover and access for more motorists. In less convenient locations, meter rates were lowered and time limits extended to entice long-term-parking motorists.

Project Highlights

Goal: Increased utilization of available on-street parking

Evaluation Period: April 1, 2005 through March 30, 2007 (ongoing)

Parking Meter Type: Mixed single-head (POM) and multi-space (Cale Pay and Display)

Variable Pricing: $.050-$1.25 per hour Mon-Sat 8AM-6PM

Pilot Project Areas: PDF icon East Village, Marina, Cortez and Little Italy

Evaluation Criteria: Increased utilization and parking meter revenue

Key Stakeholders: City of San Diego, Center City Development Corporation, Community Parking District 1, Downtown Parking Management Group

Project Results

Prior to the Pilot, the average utilization rate within the study area was approximately 18 percent. Within two years the average utilization rate was raised to 38 percent -- a 106 percent increase. This improvement in utilization led to an increase in parking meter revenue from $67,322 to $127,537 within the Pilot area -- 89 percent increase.

Although the new strategies increased parking utilization rates within the Pilot area, the average utilization remains under the optimum rate of 85 percent. In addition, the meters do not operate past 6:00PM when parking demand in some entertainment areas is at its highest. A greater range of hourly rates and extended hours of meter operation may be necessary to reach the 85 percent optimum rate.


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