Town to take action on paid parking proposal
Start collecting quarters, parking meters may spring up in downtown Truckee sooner than anticipated. The Truckee Town Council, seeking to upgrade downtown parking, is set to recommend that the town either pursues metered parking in the commercial core or back the creation of an assessment district to finance enhancements to the downtown parking supply.The council will be working off of a recommendation by the planning commission that supports town-administered paid parking, an increase in the fee paid by development that does not provide parking spaces, and a residential permit program to ensure that residents of downtown are not left without parking.The comments follow closely the conclusions of a downtown parking study that was recently completed by a consultant hired by the town.Metered parking has long been discussed as a solution to the parking shortfall that downtown businesses say is only getting worse. With paid parking, the turnover of spaces would increase and the use of prime spaces by employees and shop owners would decrease, opening up spaces for customers, according to the study. The parking revenue would also finance parking management and the upgrade of parking lots leased from the railroad, adding capacity to the downtown parking supply.If the council recommends that the public works department formulate an implementation plan for paid parking, the move will likely signal that there is no going back, said Truckee Public Works Director Dan Wilkins.The public works department would begin working with the railroad to investigate continued leasing of parking property, begin developing a sign plan, and researching vendors that provide metering equipment.”Right now we think we know what it is going to cost,” said Wilkins. “But we’ll know a heck of a lot more if we do this extra level of research.” What worries him, said Wilkins, is that the prospect of metered parking, which has stirred intense controversy in other communities upon its arrival, has drawn little input so far within Truckee.”I’m surprised that this issue has not been more controversial,” he said.Wilkins said he is hoping that residents with strong viewpoints on metered parking – both opposing and supporting it – will voice their opinions before it’s too late, which means at Thursday’s council meeting.In other communities, Wilkins said, the public outcry has only been heard when the meters are in place – too late to influence change.Many downtown business owners have voiced support for paid parking, since it will mean a future assessment district for lighting and sidewalk improvements would be more financially feasible for the merchants.With parking improvements tacked on, the assessment is high enough that it will likely fail, they say.But Wilkins said that opposition to metered parking in other communities has been based on worries that the fees may drive business away, a concern that has been largely absent at public meeting on paid parking. Check it outWhen: Thursday, December 16 at 6 p.m.Where: Truckee Town Hall, council chambersWhat: Downtown Parking
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