Working group forming to assess Truckee paid parking
TRUCKEE and#8212; Town council has decided to form a working group to tackle the issues of downtown parking and reduce, or eliminate, general fund and redevelopment subsidies to the parking district.
At its meeting Thursday, Truckee Town Council voted to include council members Richard Anderson and Joan Jones, and solicit participation from the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association, the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce and the general public.
The idea came from earlier direction from the council to come up with ways to eliminate the $120,000-a-year subsidy the town’s redevelopment agency pays for parking lot leases for the fiscally insolvent Downtown Parking District.
Roughly half of downtown parking is in lots leased by the town, primarily from Union Pacific Railroad.
Anderson, who was on the council when the town decided to take over the leases from downtown merchants and install parking meters, said there were three reasons behind that decision about six years ago: merchants were losing the ability to pay for the lots; paid parking would create turnover in parking spots, allowing more visitors; and the town wanted users of downtown parking to pay for plowing and maintenance.
and#8220;Obviously it’s still controversial, and my impression is we’re writing an average of 10 tickets a day. Some people are unfamiliar with the (paid parking) system and maybe that’s a bit of a failure, or perhaps it’s a total failure,and#8221; Anderson said.
He suggested beyond the options mentioned by staff to reduce the town’s subsidy of parking and#8212; increasing rates or hours, charging a fee to downtown merchants or property owners, or eliminating some parking lot leases and#8212; he’d like the committee to explore privatizing downtown parking management.
Jones, who will also serve on the committee, said with those original goals of the town council in taking over downtown parking, more than just the financial side would need to be considered.
and#8220;In my view this is a large budget item that has to be resolved, but it’s also important to lay out a five-year review to see if it’s working and#8212; I can say it’s not working from a budget standpoint but what about the other standpoints?and#8221; Jones said.
With the committee formed, Director of Public Works and Engineering Dan Wilkins said the goal would be for it to work through the issues in a series of public meetings, then come back with a recommendation to the town council in the coming winter or next spring.