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Pismo Beach moves to add parking meters; generated revenue to go to parking solutions

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Angel Russell
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Since 2019, the City has been considering implementation of paid parking on Price Street to help address public access issues associated with lack of vehicular turnover from visitors, employees, and residents parking long-term

As tourists return and parking problems continue in Pismo Beach, more than 100 free parking spaces will soon be converted into paid metered parking during the busy weekends.

Parking on Price Street in downtown Pismo Beach is free, but City Manager Jim Lewis said too many cars end up staying parked there all day, creating congestion. 

“We realized that Price Street continues to get more and more popular as our restaurants are coming back and doing well," Lewis said. "And we are also realizing that a lot of our day visitors will park up there and walk down to the beach, which doesn’t create turnover at the happy hour time, which frustrates people.”

The city plans to install 146 meters along all curbs, the center median, and stub streets connected to Price Street between Pomeroy and San Luis Avenues starting in February 2022.

The meters will only run Friday through Sunday, and the cost will vary between $2 and $4.

“We have a demand-based parking model," Lewis said. " When parking demand is highest, it’ll be more expensive in the peak season than it would be in the winter when it might be 50 cents.”

Lewis said implementing paid parking will be important if the city loses one of its biggest parking lots, the Wolosz lot across from Old West Cinnamon Rolls. It’s a privately-owned lot, and the owners may be looking to develop the land when the city's lease ends in April 2023. 

“So we need to be aware of that, if the family wants to pursue a project, those parking spaces could disappear.” Lewis says the parking meters could generate between $200,000 and $400,000 annually, and the money will go right back into finding solutions to the city's long standing parking problems.

“There has been talk of a parking structure, there’s been talk about off site parking with a shuttle," Lewis said. "Paid parking will pay for those services.”

Lewis said for locals and employees who feel they are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to competing for parking with tourists, they can bypass feeding the meters by purchasing a yearly parking pass for $35 at the city's police station.