The lead-in paragraph of Tom Sakash’s Jan. 11 article (Driving question: Task force seeks answers to parking) alleges that perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of living in Davis is failure to find parking on a Friday night. One might infer that this is because there is not enough parking at these times, but this is not what we have found.
Davis Bicycles! carefully studied downtown parking availability at about 8 p.m. on two such Friday Artabout days (Sept. 9, 2011, and Feb. 10, 2012). On each evening auto traffic was gridlocked. The streets between First and Third and C and G were essentially full of cars, with lines at each stop sign.
In February, parking seemed tight. The F Street garage was completely full and there were at least 15 cars circling (even trapped) inside on the second and third floors, with a queue outside waiting to get in. There wasn’t even realization by the drivers outside the garage that it was full. But in the Fourth St garage less than three blocks away we counted 160(! ) empty parking spaces, probably enough to absorb all the cars cruising throughout the downtown.
In September, it was not quite as crowded while drivers cruised the streets looking for parking spaces. Although essentially all parking spaces were used in all surface lots, nearly 300 fully public, cost-free parking spaces were available in the two parking structures at F Street and Fourth Street.
What these two anecdotes illustrate is a problem with parking management, not parking availability. To their credit, city staff have commissioned a Downtown Wayfinding Program and Council has approved its installation for Spring 2013. Signs directing drivers to the parking structures will hopefully improve the frustrating situation.