Parking rates in downtown Fresno could increase 33% based a on a city-commissioned report. The Fresno council will hear recommendations Thursday from a consultant that meters should go up from $0.75 an hour to $1.00 an hour. The findings also call for an increase in monthly permits for street meters and a reduction per hour in garages.
Currently, the city has five parking garages, seven off-street parking lots and about 2,000 street meters. The structures charge $3.00 for the first hour and $1.00 an hour after that. Meters charge a straight $0.75 an hour regardless of location or demand.
The price increases would generate $316,190 in more revenue, estimates Walter P. Moore and Associates of Houston. That money could be used for parking garage maintenance.
The parking rate study based its findings after a two-day survey last August. It found that many downtown employees prefer to park at meters rather than in the garage because it is a better deal. “On-street parking in areas where there are shops and restaurants should be attractive to diners and shoppers but priced high enough to dissuade employees from taking those spaces,” the report states.
Of the five garages, four of them were at 50% occupancy. Moore says that the optimum level is 80-90%.
Instead of charging $3 for the first hour, that rate should go down to $2, and slightly increase the longer a car stays. The maximum suggestion per day is $9, the current maximum daily rate.
Moore says the monthly parking meter permit should increase from $120 to $150 a month. As far as monthly rates to park in the garage, Moore feels $75 in an open-air space and $90 for a covered space is fair. However, any discounted rates should be capped at a $60 minimum.
Other recommendations include eliminating meters that are barely used. Moore observed 12 different areas where there were no cars parked, and many others under 10%. It costs more to monitor and enforce those meters than the revenue they take in.
An increase in parking meter technology would also help. “Smart” meters could be used to adjust per hour prices, up to $1.50 an hour (double the current rate), for peak demand areas and time. An app would allow drivers to pay for parking with a mobile phone.
Fresno’s results were compared to other similar California cities: Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Bakersfield, Stockton and El Paso, Texas. The latter was chosen because of a similar downtown and relatively new baseball stadium.
Of those comparables, Bakersfield does not charge for parking. Sacramento charges $1.75 for the first hour, while Santa Rosa, Stockton and El Paso charge $1.00. For parking lots, Fresno’s $3.00 is higher than the other cities that range from $0.50 (El Paso) to $1.50 (Sacramento) an hour.
Moore’s study cost the city $35,000 to complete.
Walter P. Moore study (from City of Fresno’s agenda page)