Business Owners Come Forward With Alternative Parking Plan

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Vanguard Commentary: Troubling Vote on ParkingAfter a year of the council-appointed task force’s engaging in a public process, wading through thousands of pages of survey results, parking counts, other data, case studies, public testimony and expert testimony, then ultimately arriving at a consensus plan that was vetted and approved by Davis Downtown and the Chamber, a group of business owners came forward at last night’s council meeting with an alternative plan.

Last night at public comment, Jennifer Anderson of Davis Ace and Jason Taormino of Coldwell Banker, representing a number of property owners, presented their alternative to the Davis City Council.

Mr. Taormino told the council that they had a number of meetings and had “great momentum going.”  They presented the council with 12 items that they would like the council to act on in the coming weeks, with five additional items that are longer range.

He highlighted a few, “First, we believe we need to add to the supply by adding X-permit parking in North Davis and east of the railroad tracks.  (We) would also like to see a major push to have employers be responsible for providing parking permits to their employees, it should be their responsibility to do that so that we get more employees parking, not in front of the businesses but a couple of blocks away.”

“We want an in lieu fee for parking to be established.  We’re recommending $15,000,” he said.  He added that they are working with staff members, and want to figure out what they can do now, and then come back in a few weeks and ask the council to “make some votes and put some priorities in different spaces.”

Jennifer Anderson added, “We need more specifics and that’s where we need the help from staff and that’s what we’re asking for tonight.”

Downtown Property Owners Parking Plan

Request for City Council to implement:

Initial Changes: (completed within six months)

1. Add X permit parking in old North Davis immediately. (New signs are not needed. A small “X” hang tag or sticker could be used. Current special parking preferences for residents could be maintained).

2. Add X permit parking:

a. East of the railroad tracks immediately. Include 3rd & 4th Streets.

b. East side of B Street by Central Park.

3. Implement several plans to increase the number of X permits utilized by employees including:

a. Calling, letter writing and personal visits to major downtown employers from the City Manager’s office.

b. Encourage property owners to contact tenants to encourage them to purchase X permits and require their employees to park outside of the core. Provide them with a list of tenants who do buy permits.

c. Publish a “thank you” letter to businesses that participate by purchasing permits.

4. Issue X permits only to Business License holders so that they are controlled.

5. Establish an in lieu fee of $15,000 per parking space demand created and that all funds shall be utilized solely for the construction of a parking garage or parking lot.

6. Acquire two independent quotes for the cost to gravel/use reclaimed asphalt, add lights and stripe the City owned lot behind the Design house and the Regal Gas lot in order to convert both to X parking. Add access from Olive Drive to the Design House rear lot.

7. Initiate a quarterly parking survey.

8. Make a final determination if the Amtrak parking lot can be utilized by non-Amtrak riders at any time during the day or night.

9. Require any conversion of space from office or retail to pay in lieu fees based upon a square footage conversion formula. Review parking ratios in Davis to national and comparable other cities.

10. Provide a quote for and analysis of the software license fee for the enforcement cart camera systems.

11. Issue an RFP for Valet Service in downtown. Allow valet companies to tour Davis, talk to businesses and put together proposals. They could be on public or private property.

12. Reject the idea of tiered parking tickets. This is a bad idea that will sour voters on sales tax increase, parks tax and the water project. It is not supportable at this time. It also will raise insignificant funds and likely not change parking behavior.

Phase II: (6-12 months from adoption)

1. Change parking enforcement times to 10:00 am – 8:00 pm. (this should wait until the supply of X permit spaces increases and the number of employees with X bumper stickers is dramatically increased.

2. Install wayfinding signs for parking lots and garages. (sooner if possible).

3. Determine if 1st & F and Boy Scout lot should be paid long term parking and/or X permit parking areas.

4. Implement City owned lot behind Design House as an X parking permit lot.

5. Involve two Design/Contracting/Construction firms to discuss possible parking garage options in various locations. Evaluate options to present for possible parking garage.

At the bottom of their proposal they write, “We are asking for: dedicated staff time to work through the feasibility of the listed items (and) follow up meeting at council in May with action items.”

All of this has occurred after the council approved most of the 19 recommendations put forth by the Downtown Parking Task Force.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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26 thoughts on “Business Owners Come Forward With Alternative Parking Plan”

  1. D.D.

    Suggestions:

    — Give employees a free bus pass
    — Give incentives, maybe one extra vacation day per year, for any employee who uses alternate transportation to get to work
    — Really encourage car pools for your employees, and rewards for those who carpool. walk, bus, bike, etc.

    David’s photo is worth a thousand words.. Look at all those empty spaces. Do we really need more parking spaces, or do we just need to educate the public on how to find the existing empty spaces?

  2. Jim Frame

    Add X permit parking…[to the] East side of B Street by Central Park.

    This is a terrible idea. B Street is a major thoroughfare for cars and bikes. The bike lane from 3rd Street to about 300 feet north of 3rd is only about 6 feet wide, and then it transitions to about 9 feet as it goes north to Russell. Neither is wide enough to accommodate both parked cars and bikes.

  3. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > Last night at public comment, Jennifer Anderson of
    > Davis Ace and Jason Taormino of Cold Well Banker

    FYI Jason works for his Dad a co-owner of Coldwell Banker-Doug Arnold (not “Cold Well”)…

    1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

      Toad, currently there is an in-lieu fee of $4,000 per parking space not provided by a developer. The idea is to raise that to $15,000.

      What this derives from is non-compliance. Say you have a smallish lot in the core area. You redevelop your lot, making the ground floor space retail or restaurant and adding a second story with offices. The general plan requires your design to have a certain number of parking spaces for that kind of development. However, since your lot is small, you might not be able to meet that requirement on site. For example, say the GP requires 7 spaces on site. But you can muster no more than 3. So you would be required to pay $16,000 into the parking fund, which is 4 x $4,000.

      Under this proposal, you would be required to pay $60,000, which is 4 x $15,000. The reason for this change is because $15,000 is much more realistic, in terms of how much it will cost the city to construct a new space, using money from its parking fund.

      One thing Jennifer Anderson noted to me about 8 or 10 days ago in an email is that restaurants use up more parking than retail, all else held equal. So if you have a space which was retail, but it is converted to restaurant usage, you need to add more parking. However, in cases like this, Davis has generally waived any requirement to pay an in-lieu fee or build more parking on-site. The result, she says, is the over-demand for parking we now have at the lunch and dinner hours.

  4. Mr. Toad

    How does the Parking Task force make 19 recommendations yet lack consensus with the owners of some of the largest business owners in Downtown? Shouldn’t there have been some recognition of lack of consensus? Why would the council want to implement all 19 without consensus especially implementing a tax/fee for parking unless the community buys in? It looks like the council was correct to be cautious in the face of such internal community dissension. The interesting question is why were the community leaders who supported the Parking Task Force so willing to move forward without getting everyone on board?

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      The task force had businesspeople like Jennifer Anderson, Alzeda Knickerbocker, and Lynne Yackzan for starters. Michael Bisch from Davis Downtown, Rosalie Paine from the Chamber.

        1. DT Businessman

          It did reach consensus, but it didn’t reach unanimity on certain points. If unanimity were the minimum standard, it would be extremely difficult for our community to make any progress whatsoever.

          -Michael Bisch

  5. berryessawilcox

    There are currently no parking restrictions in Old North in non-preferential spots and there are plenty of open spaces. I don’t understand what signing the neighborhood under X-permits would accomplish.

    1. berryessawilcox

      Correction – there are some two hour spots by the Co-op and the School District (I think), but those only count for a small portion of the neighborhood.

    2. Alan Miller

      X-permit funds go to downtown; Old North wishes to have permits that raise revenue for unfunded neighborhood traffic improvements / calming. (Please correct if this is not accurate)

      1. berryessawilcox

        So it sounds like under this plan the residents of Old North Davis lose the ability to park for free in front of their houses in order to fund downtown parking improvements? What is the sense in charging to pay for parking in a neighborhood that doesn’t fill up? I picture a lot of empty X permit spots sitting unused in front of people’s houses.

  6. DT Businessman

    “In speaking to Dennis Foster, a lot of things became clear. The biggest thing he said is that the level of micromanagement, complaining by the parents and meddling by upper administration, is unique to Davis. He has spent years in Natomas and the climate there is very different.”

    “This is part of the culture in Davis that has to change – coaches need to be allowed to do their job, in his opinion, and in our opinion you could replace “coaches” with teachers and with city employees, across the line.”

    “Unfortunately, the more I talked with Dennis Foster, the more I realized that this problem is really far bigger than athletics. I heard the same complaints from him that I do from city employees, city councilmembers, school board members and teachers.”

    “We need to decide as a community what kind of community we want and we need to start trusting the people we hire to do their jobs. It is one thing to scrutinize policy level decisions made by elected officials, it is another to micromanage site level decisions, whether they are made by coaches, teachers, or other low level employees.”

    All excerpts from an April 2nd David Greenwald article regarding individuals not respecting the process, instead doing end runs to achieve their aims.

    The effort from the Downtown Property Owners, whoever they may be, is more of the same. This kind of action is rampant resulting in an ungovernable community. While community volunteers or appointees are conducting the community’s business in public operating under democratic principals, working hard to form consensus (albeit not always unanimity), unknown individuals are working hard behind the scenes at opposing ends. What’s the point of even having an agreed upon process, requesting volunteers, and engaging in a public dialogue if it’s only to be undermined from those not willing to respect the process or the work of the volunteers?

    -Michael Bisch

  7. darelldd

    It seems to me that on some level we’re looking to pay employees more, so they can afford to drive a car to work, so we need to build more parking structures and we need to expand administration of special parking permits… and on and on. So much expense and complication that seems to incentivize employees’ use of a car to commute to work. We already have a bunch of under-utilized parking spaces that I’m getting tired of paying for.

    I received the parking questionnaire that Ms. Anderson sent out. It was 100% about parking cars. Not a single mention of any alternative way to commute to, or shop in downtown. It asked two basic questions in a few different ways:

    1) Would you like to driver your car and park for free?
    2) Would you like to pay to park your car?

    Time to wake up and smell the alternatives. Or we’ll need to add a new sign printing expense into our strained city budget:

    Welcome to Davis, a Platinum Automobile-friendly Town.

    1. DT Businessman

      darelldd or Don Shor, it would be helpful to the public debate to be have a look at the questionnaire. Would you please post it?

      -Michael Bisch

      1. darelldd

        It was a link to a website. I’ll see if I can dig it up from my archives. What I recall most was that none of the questions made sense to the many 1000’s of people who daily visit downtown without driving an automobile.

  8. Michelle Millet

    After a year of the council-appointed task force’s engaging in a public process, wading through thousands of pages of survey results, parking counts, other data, case studies, public testimony and expert testimony, then ultimately arriving at a consensus plan that was vetted and approved by Davis Downtown and the Chamber, a group of business owners came forward at last night’s council meeting with an alternative plan.

    Thanks to the volunteers who engaged in the process, waded though thousand of pages of survey results, parking count, other data, case studies and export testimony.

    Despite the disconcerting direction the process has taken, I am hopeful that your time, energy, and efforts were not spent in vain.

  9. DT Businessman

    Yikes! I stand corrected. From Merriam Webster:

    “a general agreement about something : an idea or opinion that is shared by all the people in a group.”

    There wasn’t a consensus. There was a strong majority. The comprehensive parking plan was arrived at by a series of majority votes on each individual component. Most participants were willing to make concessions to reach agreement. Some were not. Had each participant taken the winner-take-all approach, we never would have gotten anywhere. Had each participant after the fact decided to actively campaign against the task force plan simply because they didn’t agree with each and every aspect, every single task force member would be opposed to the plan (the parking equivalent of Balkanization).

    -Michael Bisch

    1. Michelle Millet

      Had each participant taken the winner-take-all approach, we never would have gotten anywhere.

      Their concessions seemed to have been in vain. Even with them it does not seem we have actually gotten anywhere.

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