Town contemplates tweaks to paid parking
After more than two months of metered parking in downtown Truckee, town officials say they have seen what works and what doesn’t and are ready to make some minor changes.A discounted program for frequent downtown visitors, limited free parking for downtown employees and the formation of a parking commission to review the parking district’s performance are all possible changes that may be made at Thursday night’s town council meeting.Personal parking meters that can be displayed inside of a car or a card that can be loaded with a pre-determined amount of parking money are two ways frequent visitors to downtown Truckee may be able to get parking discounts. Both options are expected to offer the motorists parking at 75 cents an hour, although there will be the initial cost to purchase the meter or the card.A personal parking meter, which is activated when the car is parked, would also eliminate the need to walk to a parking meter.
Town staff has proposed the 30-space Catholic Church parking lot as a free lot for downtown employees during weekdays from 8 a.m. to midnight. A free employee lot will benefit both employers and employees, said Kelly Beede, parking coordinator for the Town of Truckee.”It’s helping the employer in the sense that they might not have to buy the permit, and it is helping the employee because they might not have to pay the $2,” she said.Beede said she expects the Catholic church parking lot to see much more usage if it becomes free. The personal meters and cards sounded like an improvement to Jack Stillens, the bookkeeper at downtown restaurant Casa Baeza.”I think there needs to be something for the locals,” Stillens said.
Casa Baeza has not had to purchase employee parking permits because they have parking available behind the restaurant and employees drive farther down Church Street where parking is free, Stillens said.”It’s bothered [the employees] a little bit, but they have a place to park,” he said.Other restaurants, which employ dozens of people, have noted that buying permits for each worker is a large financial burden.Truckee Town Councilman Richard Anderson, in reviewing the staff report for the parking district, noted that the formation of a parking commission may be premature. In an e-mail, he said that the town council should be the ones to interact directly with the public and make the important parking decisions.
“The council has the responsibility to ‘get it right’ with regard to the parking program, and we’re the ones who need to discuss and approve significant changes to the program,” wrote Anderson. “I would far prefer to hear input on the parking program directly from the public rather than have it filtered through another committee and its attendant staff reports.”Beede said the idea behind the parking commission, which will take the place of the informal parking committee, is to help review issues such as signs, motorcycle parking and contractor parking.”As the district grows and develops, there are certain items we want the commission to address,” she said.The Truckee Town Council will discuss the downtown parking district at their regular meeting which begins at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at Truckee Town Hall.