Update 12:36 p.m.: There were more questions than answers at the informational meeting about downtown paid parking convened by the city of Half Moon Bay. About two dozen attended — almost all of whom were downtown business owners.
While several business owners, including co-owner Patti Warshauer and chiropractor Mark Heath spoke out strongly for taking into consideration how a paid parking program would benefit locals who need to park for a short period rather than a full day, a few others such co-owner Mike Alifano spoke out in favor of paid parking.
Paid parking proposal project manager Leslie Parks — a consultant hired by the city who has worked for other cities on the Peninsula on downtown parking issues, including Burlingame, Millbrae, San Mateo, Redwood City and San Carlos — collected data in the past few months regarding Half Moon Bay's parking occupancy throughout the week. After showing data to the merchants, she characterized Half Moon Bay as having a "parking problem."
Most did not appear to agree with that assessment, saying that rarely did they ever have a problem finding a parking spot in the downtown area.
One resident said that he regularly patronizes on Main St., but that if paid parking was implemented, he would "shop at , where the parking is free."
Parks said that charging less than a dollar an hour for parking — as is the practice in San Mateo and Redwood City — was not an option for Half Moon Bay, as it would not bring in enough revenue to make a paid parking system worth the investment. Solar meters were not an option either, she said, due to weather in Half Moon Bay.
"Based on not being able to have those two conditions, I don't think paid parking has a place in Half Moon Bay," said George Gipe, whose wife owns Main St. business .
Others, such as Arrowhead Framing merchant , wanted more details on how the city came up with the geographic parameters of paid parking in the Half Moon Bay downtown area, saying that he felt that this needed to be discussed in more detail among the greater community.
Near the end of the meeting, Mayor Allan Alifano said to those assembled that paid parking downtown was the first choice in a list of potential ways to generate revenue. The list was brainstormed by community residents last year at a city-initiated public meeting.
Alifano agreed with resident and downtown business owner Dave Worden that revenues generated from downtown paid parking should benefit the downtown area.
Parks emphasized that none of the information presented in today's session was final. The city will continue to collect input from the community regarding a potential paid parking program and will reconvene another special study session on March 20.
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The city of Half Moon Bay is holding a community meeting this morning to provide more details on a proposal to implement paid parking downtown. Aimed at local businessowners and community residents, the meeting is a follow-up to a held last October where city staff presented a proposal to charge $2/hour for parking in the downtown area.
City staff cited the $2/hour charge as a figure which would provide the greatest return on the city's investment in a paid parking system. According to an October city staff report, paid parking has the potential to bring in $1 million per year based on occupancy projections and a $2/hour fee enforced 365 days a year from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., according to city staff calculations. All revenue from the program would go towards the city's general fund.
The October city staff report estimated the upfront costs for the city to implement a pay station program as $605,000: $530,000 to install 28 pay stations downtown and $75,000 for the first year's annual maintenance fee for the stations. Installation costs would be recouped less than a year later with the $2/hour fee enforced from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. 365 days a year, according to city staff.
The proposal was met with cautionary feedback from downtown merchants, residents and city councilmembers alike. Residents and business owners questioned the impact of paid parking on local businesses, while several cited the struggling economy as a reason why a $2/hour fee could be prohibitive towards attracting downtown tourists and business patrons.
During the meeting, owner and Mayor Allan Alifano (who was Vice Mayor at the time of the meeting) spoke in favor of a $1/hour fee, as did executive Charise McHugh. owner Charles Nelson also said he preferred a $1/hour fee instead of a $2/hour fee.
Other downtown business owners Dave Worden and Robin Jeffs recommended the establishment of a parking district which would create a connection in the way parking revenues are generated and the way they are spent.
At the conclusion of the October meeting, councilmembers expressed interest in continuing to move forward with the idea of implementing a paid parking program, but asked staff to before presenting a proposal with specific fees, hours of enforcement and areas of enforcement.
Since the meeting, the city has hired a project manager to head the downtown parking project.
The public information meeting on the proposal for the Half Moon Bay Downtown Paid Parking Program will be held this morning (Mon., Feb. 27) from 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. at the Ted Adcock Senior/Community Center (535 Kelly Ave., Half Moon Bay). For more information about the meeting, contact Parking Project Manager Leslie Parks at (408) 264-1601.