Town council sets parking rates for Commercial Row
Locals and Truckee visitors could be paying to park downtown in less than one month.
Truckee’s downtown paid parking district took shape Thursday when the Truckee Town Council set the boundaries and rates for paid parking, which is expected to go into effect on Oct. 3.
The council adopted a parking rate that will escalate as vehicles stay parked longer in downtown. The first two hours will be billed at $1 an hour. The third hour will cost $2, and the fourth hour will cost $3.
The paid parking district will be in effect from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. It will cost $10 to park downtown all day, said Kelly Beede, Town of Truckee parking coordinator.
The idea, said Beede, is to spur turnover in the parking spaces, as well as potentially raise enough money to finance some improvements downtown.
But the council, she noted, opted to go with a lower progressive rate than the one recommended by the town’s parking committee.
“The reason that they went with a lower rate schedule is for it to be more palatable to the users,” Beede said.
That choice by the council means that the district is projected to lose approximately $60,000 in its first year ” although that estimation is based the best guesses on revenues and expenses, Beede said.
“My numbers are very conservative,” she said. “There is potential we may break even.”
The parking district passed on a 4-1 vote at the town council. The lone “no” vote came from Truckee Mayor Craig Threshie, who objected mainly because in-car meters with discounted rates were not included in the motion.
“The motion that was voted on did not include the personal meters for locals to be able to buy parking in advance,” Threshie said. “I thought that was a really important detail.”
The idea of the in-car meter is to allow people who frequent downtown to park without having to walk to a kiosk and pay for a parking pass. The meters would hang from the rearview mirror of the car and be turned on when leaving the car and off when getting back in.
But Threshie said the decision to go with a slightly lower paid parking rate at first ” even if it means running a tight budget “was the right choice.
“I think the council was right to test that first to see if we can cover our costs with that rate structure,” he said.
But all the details of the parking district are not yet set in stone, said Beede. She plans to be back before the town council in six months, letting the town governing body know how the district is performing in its early days.
“The program itself is going to be ever-evolving over the next year,” she said. “If something isn’t working we want to fix it so it works for people.”
The parking district will soon have an online comment page and a phone number available to receive comments on how the district is running.
Employee parking is planned for the lot behind the Beacon gas station, the area behind the Fish Station on West River Street, the area lining Trout Creek off of Bridge Street, and a spot off of E Street.
Employee parking permits will be offered to employers for $40 a month, $210 for six months or $360 for a year.
People who live downtown will be offered a residential parking tag free of charge. A large lot off of Church Street will be available for residential parking.
In preparation for the Oct. 3 start of the paid parking, contractors will be laying the foundations for the parking meters, installing the meters ” which will be stations where motorists pay for a ticket that they place in their windshield ” and putting up signs.
The transition from free parking to metered parking downtown should go relatively smoothly since October is in the middle of Truckee’s shoulder season, said Beede.
“We feel it is enough in the off-season that is should not be a problem,” she said.
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