Paying to park |

Paying to park

David Bunker
Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun Downtown Truckee was, as always, packed with cars on Tuesday. The Town Council has OK'd a plan that will start paid parking by Oct. 3.

The days of parking for free downtown are coming to an end.The Truckee Town Council has authorized the purchase of 35 “pay and display” meters for nearly $300,000. The multi-space meters, which will print tickets that will be placed in car windows, are expected to be in service downtown by Oct. 3.Truckee also recently hired a parking coordinator, and will soon negotiate a lease for a parking lot previously operated by the Downtown Merchants Association.All the moves mean Truckee now has both feet firmly in the parking game, a position that will bring it challenges in the months ahead, town officials said.

“I can guarantee that we are not going to get it perfect on the first cut,” said Dan Wilkins, public works director, of the upcoming creation of a metered parking district in downtown.One of the biggest questions will be whether to meter the entire downtown at one time, or phase in the paid parking so the managers and enforcers of the parking district can work out the kinks slowly. At last week’s Town Council meeting, council members was leaning toward having all the meters operational at one time.”Frankly, the truth of the matter is metering throughout downtown all at the same time is probably the most successful and least controversial way to go about this,” said Truckee Mayor Craig Threshie.The meters will be solar-powered, so they will not need any trenching for electricity. They will also process credit or debit cards for motorists who do not have spare change. Officials are also working on the idea of a “locals pass” for residents who frequent the downtown and do not want to feed the meter each time they park.Representatives from the Downtown Merchants Association were relieved to see the downtown on the brink of establishing paid parking – a goal several of them have pushed for years.

“It’s a great plan. It’s been worked on real hard,” said Jerry Wood, owner of the White Buffalo.Stefanie Olivieri, president of the Downtown Merchants Association, said the parking program needs to be initiated with the fewest problems possible.”I think the most important thing for the merchants is we want it to be a good experience for the locals and the visitors that come to us,” Olivieri said. Councilman Richard Anderson said that parking staff should be out in force to monitor any problems that arise as paid parking comes into effect.

“It does seem important that we do have people out looking for problems so we can deal with them as quickly as possible,” he saidParking TimelineParking downtown from Brickelltown to Church Street is expected to be metered by Oct. 3. West River Street may also have meters if the town can come to an agreement with Truckee Diner that will make their parking lot public, said Public Works Director Dan Wilkins. But residents will likely see work crews out earlier installing meters. Meters installed before October 3 will be bagged or marked in another fashion to show motorists that they are inoperable.

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