Local News

The issue of employee parking downtown

By From page A5 | March 25, 2014

The City Council could agree with city staff Tuesday night and adopt the city’s Downtown Parking Task Force’s recommendation to increase permit fees for employee parking downtown, while at the same time trying to increase employee parking.

The potential move would add credence to the notion that improving the downtown parking situation involves both managing and accommodating the people who work there.

And if the council does, it will be acting on the advice of the fact-finding of the task force, which showed many prime on-street spots are currently taken up by employees and business owners.

Businesses can buy so-called X permits to allow their employees to park downtown, often on the periphery, but not all do, and data from the Davis Police records is inconclusive about the number of permits available and purchased versus the cost of managing the program.

Karen Barry, records supervisor, wrote in an email that the police department “purchases enough to handle the demand as determined in previous years” and that there were 533 X permits issued this year, quantified as between Sept 1, 2013 through Aug. 31, 2014. The cycle of permits follows UC Davis’ academic year.

In comparison, there were 365 commuter D parking permits issued, she wrote, adding the police do not have any analysis on the costs of managing and enforcing permits. Both permits are considered “hunting licenses” in that permit holders have to find available parking and are not guaranteed a spot.

The work product of the task force, the Downtown Parking Management Plan, cited “parking literature and past studies conducted in Davis” to show that downtown employees take up prime spaces.

“While it is not known what percentage of the downtown parking supply is occupied by commuters throughout the day, the desire to influence employee parking behavior dates back to the 1961 Core Area Plan,” the document reads, adding that if employees can somehow be shifted to underutilized parking spaces, more prime on-street parking will open up and stimulate economic growth.

The parking management plan goes on to point out X permit parking — 650 spaces worth — isn’t used to its fullest extent, even during peak hours. That means many employees probably don’t have permits and are parking in spaces best used by customers.

And the task force is clear about customers being the highest and best use of prime on-street parking spaces.

— Reach Dave Ryan at 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews

Dave Ryan

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