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SLO City proposes parking rate increases to fund fourth downtown parking structure

downtown parking.jpg
Rachel Showalter

If you plan to continue parking in downtown San Luis Obispo over the next several years, you’ll likely see the prices increase significantly.

The parking rate increases are proposed as a way to help fund a fourth downtown parking structure in the city.

“This is us building for our future,” said San Luis Obispo Parking Program Manager Gaven Hussey.

He said, if approved, all of the money from the rate increases will go toward building the Cultural Arts District structure, as it’s called, on the corner of Palm, Nipomo and Monterey Streets.

“Right now, we’re looking at about $47 to $50 million dollars for the Cultural Arts District Parking Structure,” Hussey said.

He said the extra funding would also help pay off the loan for the Marsh Street parking structure.

If approved, parking rates will increase about a year from now, in July of 2023.

The 2-hour street parking in the main downtown core will go up to $4 per hour from about $2.

The 10-hour street parking in the outer downtown area will go up to $3 per hour from $1.50.

Structure parking will be $3 per hour or a maximum daily rate of $12.

“These rates do align with other agencies in our community. Pismo Beach for one, and Cal Poly,” Hussey said.

He said he understands the concern from some community members about the increase in rates. Though, he said, these kinds of changes are critical for developing infrastructure that accommodates the city’s needs.

“It’s difficult to see anything go up and there’s gonna be people that don’t agree with that rate increase," Hussey said. "Unfortunately, if we don’t do rate increases, we do run the risk of not having parking in the future.”

Hussey said anyone worried about costs downtown is encouraged to bike, walk, or use the parking structures.

“It’s a more convenient and more reasonably priced option. It also helps us increase public safety on streets," Hussey said. "Vehicles that aren’t circling the on-street areas looking for a parking space reduce the number of possible injuries with vehicle and pedestrian.”

According to Hussey, the use of parking structures rather than on-street parking also reduces carbon emissions.

The San Luis Obispo City Council will consider the proposed rate increases on Tuesday. Members of the public are invited to provide public comment before and during the meeting.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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