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Morro Bay City Council eyes implementing paid parking along Embarcadero

Angel Russell

The seaside fishing village of Morro Bay bustles with tourists on the weekends and summers.

But unlike other popular beach towns, Morro Bay currently keeps its nearly 2,000 parking spots in the downtown core area free of charge.

But now, the city is looking at whether to implement a paid parking system with hour limitations to keep up with the demand the city is seeing.

“On the weekends, the Embarcadero gets super crowded and kind of chaotic," said Cinda Coats with Under the Sea Gallery.

Coats said even with the crowds and traffic during high season, she thinks it’s a bad idea to charge for parking and would hurt businesses.

“Because nobody wants to pay for parking," Coats said. "Less people would want to come.”

The city of Morro Bay recently engaged in a parking study for the Embarcadero and downtown area.

The findings recommend the city implement a three-hour time limit along the Embarcadero between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and to charge a $1 an hour parking fee for the prime on-street parking spaces.

Bridget Kline with Kelli’s Candies said she’s in favor of the idea as long as the city makes employee-only parking spaces that are free of charge.

“I feel like since we work here all the time, we need to get in and out, and sometimes we might be running a little late," Kline said. "So it would be nice if we could have designated spots for us. Even if it is a little far away.”

The city council will be reviewing the findings from the traffic study and discussing a possible paid parking pilot program during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting starting at 5:30 p.m..

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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