Paid parking: One year later |

Paid parking: One year later

Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun Chris WIlliams puts a parking receipt on her dashboard after parking in Commercial Row Friday morning. Paid parking was installed in downtown Truckee a year ago and has created mixed reactions among locals and visitors.

Paid parking in downtown Truckee operated in the red during its first fiscal year, but its second year is already looking better.

Started Oct. 17 of 2005, the paid parking program experienced a $154,000 shortfall in the first year.

“This is normal for a new business in its first year,” said Kelly Beede, Truckee parking services manager. “They don’t break even. We expect to break even our second year, and by the third to be working in the black.”

Kelly Beede projected a loss of $60,000, in a September 2005 Sierra Sun interview.

She attributed the discrepancy to the start-up cost of the program, lower-than-normal visitor numbers last winter, and a “light-handed” approach to ticketing.

“We issued 2,636 warnings and only 680 citations, and 10 percent of those were dismissed,” Beede said.

So far the program has been working as planned, Beede said.

“It seems to be serving it’s purpose which was to open up parking to customers,” she said.

Additions to the program since its inception include free employee parking that began last January; the Smart Card, a pre-paid card that discounts parking 15 percent; and a planned in-car meter to be introduced in December, Beede said.

“The in-car meter hangs from the rear-view mirror. You turn it on when you park and off when you leave. You don’t have to go up to one of the machines,” Beede said, “and those will give a 25 percent discount on parking rates.”

She said feedback had been a “mixed bag,” with most complaints stemming from confusion over the new meters, rather than issues with paying for parking.

Stefanie Olivieri, president of the Downtown Merchants Association, said that people seem to have adjusted.

“Most of the merchants are pleased with the results. There is much more parking available for customers,” Olivieri said.

She said that about 40 to 50 percent of shops are participating in some type of voluntary parking reimbursement program, where stores discount a portion or all of a customer’s parking cost.

– Parking Services report to Truckee Town Council

– Nov. 16, at 6 p.m. at Truckee Town Hall

For the ’05-’06 fiscal year from Oct. 17 to June 30:

– Total program cost: $413,104

– Generated revenue: $258,928

– Meters took in an average of $5,400 a week, with a summer high in August of $10,300.

– Revenue from coin: 51 percent

– Revenue from credit: 49 percent

— $1 for one hour of parking.

– $2 for two hours of parking.

– $4 for three hours of parking.

– $7 for four hours of parking.

– $10 All-Day Parking in Parking Lot Between Fire Station and Train

Depot and behind the Beacon Gas Station.

– $4 Overnight Parking for Hotel Guests and Patrons of the Bus and

Train in the Parking Lot to the East of the Beacon Gas Station (also an

Employee Permit Parking Lot)

– Solar-Powered with a Battery Backup

– Contains a Backup System to Report Malfunctions

– Accepts Credit Card ($2.00 Minimum Purchase) and Coins ($1.00,

$0.25, $0.10, $0.05)

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