Davis City Council Candidates Question 3 – Downtown Parking

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Editor’s Note: Every week on Friday the Vanguard will send all five of the candidates a question that they will be asked to respond to by the end of the day on Thursday for a Friday publication. The answers are posted in the order that they were received.

Answers are limited to 350 words.

Recently the Davis City Council voted on the Downtown Parking Task Force Recommendations.  The goal of the recommendations was to “help to ensure convenient spaces are easily accessible for shoppers with short-term parking needs, in the area where the greatest concentration of retail and service businesses who depend on this type of parking access exists.”

Part of that plan involved creating paid parking to incentivize employees and other long-term users going to parking garages rather than street parking.  Moreover, the task force saw this as a package deal that would not work with parts segmented out.

Given that the council voted to exclude paid parking from the plan, at least for the time being, how will the parking task force plan that was passed work to free up street parking for short-term users in the near future without the paid parking component to act as the incentive stick?

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Munn-John-2014John Munn

I will begin by pointing out the relationship between a City Council and any appointed body.  First, the Council should give clear direction.  Second, as the elected body, the Council is responsible to the voters and must exercise its best judgment on behalf of constituents.  This means that an appointed body should not expect all of its recommendations to be adopted.

I am on record as opposing paid street parking in downtown Davis, so I think the Council made the right decision, so far, in this case.  As I have previously stated, street parking in Davis is a service to customers provided by businesses that they support.  In return, these businesses provide financial support to the City from tax revenues, rate payments, and fees.  Having meters does not actually prevent employees and others from re-parking.  And it is reasonable to expect that parking meters would discourage customers from coming downtown.

The Task Force Report recognizes that parking space is available, that the downtown problem is distribution rather than number of open spaces, and that employee parking and re-parking is a primary reason for the distribution problem.  The recommendation for additional employee and employer parking options (recommendation #2) can make a difference, as can expanding employee parking locations (also recommendation #2) if promoted and used.  It is clear that the existing employee parking program did not generate sufficient numbers of permits to make a substantial difference.  However, increasing the cost of employee parking permits (recommendation #3) would further discourage use of these permits.  As I stated above, just having parking meters does not prevent employee street parking and re-parking, as anyone who has worked in downtown Sacramento already knows.  Other recommendations will help by freeing up a few spaces and opening up additional areas for employee parking.

This question is not about new ideas, and space prevents describing other approaches.  So I will close by stating that human nature and habits can provide better solutions; while paid parking should be viewed as a last choice, rather than a management tool, for creating more convenient parking for customers in downtown Davis.

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Davis-RobbRobb Davis

My starting point when considering city policies is the impact they will have on fostering a sustainable community. Our downtown is key to developing economic sustainability, and insufficient parking management is a constraint to increasing downtown economic activity and revenue. Council actions to date do not provide for the resources necessary to implement an effective downtown parking management plan.

Paid parking is first and foremost a management tool to provide downtown customers access to parking near their destinations. The Task Force concluded this based on empirical evidence from many cities including Davis. It also generates revenue streams[1] sufficient to implement critical parking management tools.

On March 25 the City Council approved implementation of (among others) the following “Phase 1” recommendations:

#2: Increase employee parking location options—in Old North and East neighborhoods and the Regal lot
#3: Increase employee permit fees
#11: Develop transportation and parking alternatives campaign
#12: Collect quarterly parking occupancy data
#13: Explore voluntary shared parking district
#15: Streetscape improvements
#18: Improve transit options into downtown

Phase 1 recommendations also included studying the expansion of the parking supply (#16) but the Council voted to remove this recommendation.

Recommendations 2, 3 and 13 would most directly free up street parking with recommendation 2 creating over 250 new permitted parking spots. However, given the lack of revenue generated from these recommendations it is unlikely they will be implemented.  This is because implementation of the approved recommendations would cost over $300,000 but would generate annual net revenues of only $10,000. 

Council has yet to approve Phase 2 recommendations that include paid parking (Recommendation #1) and important management tools such as upgraded enforcement technology. Using conservative occupancy assumptions, staff estimates a net annual revenue stream of over $250,000 from this component (after the equipment is paid off—4-5 years). This revenue is critical to implementing the comprehensive plan, which was supported by Davis Downtown, the Chamber and YCVB.

[1] Though not a recommendation of the Task Force, Council should impose the restriction that all revenue generated by paid parking (if implemented) be used for parking management and supply expansion efforts.

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sheila-allen-14Sheila Allen

I support the vote and current direction of the city council.  I generally agreed with the proposal for paid parking in a limited area as suggested by the Parking Task Force, but I cannot support moving forward at this time without a clear financial plan.  I support the work of the Task Force and would like to see the other recommendations put in place and look forward to the report within a year to asses if the incremental changes helped to alleviate peak parking time problems.

Two recommendations need to be implemented immediately: signage to help visitors find existing, underutilized parking garages/spaces and educating downtown business owners on the existence of employee parking passes for employees.  Business owners should want to maximize the customer experience by increasing parking availability and minimize disruptions in the work day by workers leaving to move their cars.  In the long term, we need to work with downtown building owners to encourage a more diverse mix of retail, restaurant, residential and office space.  If we have an optimal business-type mix, the high parking demand at meal time would be decreased, and it will have the added advantage of varied tax income.

With the loss of RDA monies, a parking structure will need a different funding source.  Potential sources could include bonding when fiscally prudent (not now) and as a part of a larger planned transportation hub in conjunction with the Richards underpass, the conference center and the Nishi project.

For location of a multilevel parking structure, I prefer the current Amtrak lot site, which is almost always full. I am interested in a resident pass to recoup some funds from people parking from out of town. This structure would also be a more ideal location for employee parking in the impacted area.  It would be safer for late night workers as it is closer and better lit than distant neighborhood parking pass locations.

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Parrella-DanielDaniel Parrella

Even without the paid parking component I believe that the task force recommendations can still make an impact on parking downtown.

For starters, establishing a tiered-fine citation system will encourage repeat offenders out of the core area. Virtually every downtown employee I have talked to has gotten a parking ticket before. Most of them are willing to eat the $43 if it means they can park closer to work. Once they start getting $129 dollar fines behavior will change.

Expanding parking enforcement from 10am to 8pm and including Saturday will also help to push employees out of the core area. Saturday workers currently have no incentive to move out of the core at all and the same holds true for night-shift workers.

Removing the “D” permit option for employees will also help to free up street parking. Considering the fact that the “D” permit is less than a third of the cost of the “X” permit, and is located at the First & F structure, it’s no wonder that we issue twice as many permits as spaces available. Those employees who are unable to find a spot frequently use on-street parking, occupying a potential customer space.

Finally I do believe the parking task force plan, even without paid parking, will still generate revenues which can be used to try and implement some of the other recommendations. The tiered citation system is expected to generate $55,000 in revenue and the streamlined permitting process will generate anywhere from $22,000-$115,000. I will admit I don’t know what the revenue estimate for the streamlined permitting will be without paid parking as an incentive to get employees to buy more permits, but I imagine we will find out soon enough.

The revenue generated won’t be enough to fund all of the other task force recommendations. Once the council gets a revised estimate of incoming revenues they should choose the recommendations they believe make the most direct impact. Looking at the decline of citations issued over the past decade my money would be on upgrading parking enforcement technologies.

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Swanson-2014-headshotRochelle Swanson

The revenue proposed as a part of the parking task force’s plan did not adequately address the funding required to implement, nor did it address the concerns of many of our downtown patrons, residents, and businesses. Our city cannot afford to spend $1.5 million until we identify funding sources. We need to look at solutions to our problems that work with our current budget realities.

We also need more discrete data on the parking habits of our downtown drivers so that when meters are put in place, we know that our policy is creating the greatest outcome with the least impact. We also need a more comprehensive outreach plan to measure and encourage employee business usage. Much less than half of downtown businesses have employees that use X permits.

We need a parking plan that works for our downtown patrons and businesses. I believe that we need to assess the impacts and redesign implementation based on those findings given the concerns of customers, residents, employers, and business owners. As our economy continues to recover, we cannot look to mitigate downtown parking issues merely by introducing charges to those who use the spaces. We require a more nuanced approach that not only avoids impacting downtown businesses, but increases capacity. As I mentioned the night of the vote, I believe we do need to assess options with the Amtrak lot where we could move to a permit process for locals or other measures allowed under our agreemet.

There are still many aspects to the parking plan that will improve our parking issues downtown with little cost like adjusting parking enforcement shifts and increasing employee parking options.

Ultimately, the parking task force plan can’t and won’t be the last effort to improve our parking situation in Davis. I believe that we need additional innovative solutions.

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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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113 thoughts on “Davis City Council Candidates Question 3 – Downtown Parking”

  1. Tia Will

    John Munn

    “street parking in Davis is a service to customers provided by businesses that they support.”

    I am unclear about this statement. It is my understanding that the private businesses do not own the public street in front of their property any more than I own the street in front of my house. I do not understand how you feel that street parking is a service provided by businesses. Is it not the city rather than the business owner that is providing this service ?

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Some of the parking lots in the downtown were provided by the developers of the buildings. In theory, applicants for new buildings need to provide either parking or in lieu fees. I’m sure that’s what Jon Munn is driving at.

      1. DT Businessman

        David, I’m sure that’s not what he’s driving at. He’s writing specifically about “street parking”. The parking lots and in-lieu fees have nothing to do with the on-street paid parking. And as he states, he has “previously stated” this before. This isn’t some first time mix-up.

        -Michael Bisch

  2. Barack Palin

    It seems the main problem is getting the employees to park in designated areas. I like the idea of the tiered parking fines. $43 for the first offense, $86 for the second, $129 for the third and so on………..
    That will not only help the employee problem but also stop the public repeat offenders. I know a $129 ticket would get my attention.
    No reason to penalize everyone because the employees won’t park where they’re supposed to.

  3. Robb Davis

    Two quick points:

    1. I failed to mention that I was a member of the Downtown Parking Task Force

    2. Disclosure: I was part of the Vanguard Editorial Board until I announced my candidacy in October 2013, at which time I resigned. I have no, nor have I ever had any, financial interest in the Vanguard.

  4. Barack Palin

    David, a Microsoft security alert has popped up several times on my computer this morning on the Vanguard site:

    “The security cerificate for this site has been revoked.
    This site should not be trusted”

    I’ve never had that pop up before on any site. Do you know what this is all about? It only pops up here as I’m using several other sites with no problems.
    Is anyone else seeing this? Is this something I should be concerned about?

    1. hpierce

      I’m not seeing anything like you mention… suggest a re-boot, and then run MS security essentials. I’m running Windows 7. May be that older, ‘legacy’ versions are having ‘issues’.

    2. Frankly

      This probably has to do with the host site having to change their certificate because of the heart-bleed virus. But it is a server issue and should not affect users once it is resolved.

      Get prepared for about a month or two of computer weirdness as Microsoft and Apple and others send out half-baked updates in response to this new threat, and then follow up updates to fix what they screw up.

    3. Matt Williams

      BP, I occasionally get the same message when I go to my AT&T/Yahoo e-mail site. I called AT&T Customer Support and they told me that an independent third party company/service keeps track of all the certificate information, and that they occasionally get behind in updating their database given the myriads of certificates that exist for all the web sites around the globe. When I asked how to contact that third party company/service AT&T/Yahoo could not provide me with that information. They very dissmissively said, “Just disregard the message.”

      With all the above said, we have passed on your message to the Vanguard’s website/server support team and they will look into it.

      Finally, when you do open up the Vanguard website, please hold down your Shift key and click on the Refresh icon. That clears the website-specific cache on your machine. You can read more about that new feature of the Internet at http://lifehacker.com/5574852/shift%252Brefresh-is-like-the-restart-button-for-web-sites/all

      Hope that helps.

  5. Mr. Toad

    Paid parking a tool? Only in the most abstract use of the concept of tool. Paid parking is a tax. In this case a tax to do two things. First to raise money to do other things and second a tax to modify behavior. It is this willingness to modify the behavior of others that makes me wary of Robb Davis on the city council. Is this really only about parking management or is this also about his car free lifestyle? Either way, for those of us advanced enough to not want to walk too far yet not so advanced that we have a blue plate special parking permit, it feels imposing and exclusionary.

    1. DT Businessman

      Toad, everyone on the task force viewed the paid parking component as a tool even those business owners who advocated for delaying the paid parking component. The tool has two purposes: encourage employees to park on the periphery of downtown or in parking structures; create a funding stream to partially pay for a new structure. Even the 3 CC members (Frerichs, Wolk, Swanson) who advocated for DELAYING implementation of paid parking until the other recommendations had been implemented view the paid parking component as a tool. [Note: Frerichs, Wolk, Swanson did not say they were against limited paid parking.] That being the case, you should be wary of all the CC members, even Swanson who you say you support, as well as anyone who has educated themselves on the details of parking management.

      By the way, Toad, Robb seconded the task force motion to adopt the two keystones to the entire plan: a limited amount of paid parking AND development of a 3rd parking structure. So why are you blathering on about Robb’s car free lifestyle?

      -Michael Bisch

    2. darelldd

      Paid parking is a tax

      From my vantage point, FREE parking is a tax. Public money that is being extracted from me, has been, and is still being used to supply and maintain the on-street parking that exists. If I don’t use the parking spaces, and you do use them to park your car “for free,” then I am being taxed for your benefit. And this tax is being used as a tool to make it look like we’re happy to invite all cars to come and park for free in downtown.

      If we charge the consumers of these parking spaces in an attempt to repay what these spaces cost us in public money, I consider it a usage fee just like anything else we pay to use.

      When did expensive “free parking” become a right? The gross inequity here is in giving away the use of these expensive parking spaces by using public money that we keep claiming to be short of.

  6. Mr. Toad

    Nobody has addressed why students won’t pay for four hours and go to class if the meters allow that much time. Will the cost of parking at the meters be competitive with the expensive parking on campus? If so won’t that discourage people from going downtown just as it discourages parking on campus?

    1. DT Businessman

      Toad, your concern was considered and addressed by the task force. Throughout the exercise the task force was cognizant of the parking behavior of students. UC Davis had assigned Cliff Contreras, their parking guy (not sure of exact title), to the task force as a liason to provide advise us. The recommended time limits and parking fees are all set to prevent students from parking downtown then scurrying to their classes. What’s interesting is many critics of the recommendations are demanding changes that would actually encourage students to park downtown thereby exacerbating the downtown problem.

      -Michael Bisch

        1. DT Businessman

          It has to be priced so there’s not a significant discrepancy between the price on campus and the price downtown. What’s missing from this discussion is another issue that the task force had to balance was the survey results and public comments we received that made it clear that shoppers wanted options to park longer downtown than the current time limits permitted. The 19 recommendations were very much an exercise in balancing competing uses and needs. There is no silver bullet. The recommendations are a compromise and as time goes by will have to be continuously adjusted; hence the need for monitoring and data collection that Toad feels is a totalitarian scheme to subvert democracy.

          -Michael Bisch

        2. David Greenwald Post author

          How about a time limit on how long you can park at a paid stall. In San Luis Obispo the internal meters are limited to 30, 60, 90, and 120 minutes.

          1. DT Businessman

            Ah, no, not a thumbs up. This is not SLO, this is Davis. The survey data made it quite clear that patrons of Downtown Davis want options to park for longer than 30, 60, 90, 120 minutes. They want options to park for 3-4 hours so they can shop, dine, watch a movie. This was also repeated numerous times in the public comment at the task force meetings.

            -Michael Bisch

          2. Michelle Millet

            I think the metered parking in the core should be for shorter periods of time to encourage turnover. That being said there are times I want to come downtown for extended periods of time, which is why I like the idea of the lots, especially the G St one, being free and having longer time restrictions.

          3. David Greenwald Post author

            They can have options to park for longer, but they have to walk. They don’t get to have their cake and eat it too.

  7. Robb Davis

    Mr Toad – You raise an important issue: “Nobody has addressed why students won’t pay for four hours and go to class if the meters allow that much time.”

    I would offer a few comments:

    1. First, it would appear that students who park and go to campus are doing so in proximity to the campus (east of D or in the lot behind Davis Commons. As you know, the paid parking component is further east than they are likely want to park. However…

    2. We need data collection–including license plate analysis and direct observational studies–to assess the magnitude of the problem. That is why Recommendations 12 and 9 (technology upgrades not yet approved by the CC) are so critical. These will help us assess who is parking in what locations.

    3. The parking plan proposal for the areas where students are most likely to park to go to class are 90 minute spots (2 hours in the Davis Commons lot). Will that discourage student parking? We will need data to assess that and that is why the quarterly collection of data will be so critical.

    Your question illustrates the many factors that must be weighed and considered in developing a comprehensive plan. It may not be possible to balance all needs in an ideal way but with data we can assess the issues and adjust. To me, the data collection recommendation was one of the most important recommendations the Task Force made.

    1. Mr. Toad

      License plate analysis? You mean like the FBI taking pictures of plates at a gangster wedding or Pacific lumber videotaping license plates at a save the redwoods rally? Now you want to gather metadata on people who drive downtown? What happened to that freedom of association thing?

          1. hpierce

            It is being collected daily by the parking enforcement equipment used by the City to cite parking offenders. Has been for years.

          2. Michelle Millet

            I think that enforcement equipment broke and has not been repaired/replaced. They are back to marking tires.

          3. Matt Williams

            Michelle, are you saying that the meter enforcement personnel are using broken pens and ink when they write up parking tickets. That should be a bonanza for defense lawyers. A ticket written up with broken equipment is cause for dismissal of the citation.

          4. Michelle Millet

            Matt I don’t I understand your response. The city used to have a parking enforcement device that scanned license plates. Making it easier to enforce the no re-parking on the same block face after 2 hour rule. It is my understanding that this machine is broken, so they have gone back to marking tires.

          5. Matt Williams

            Michelle, data can come in all shapes and sizes and from all sorts of different sources. Just because one data collection source has a hiccup, doesn’t mean that another data collection source isn’t purring along like a kitten.

          6. Michelle Millet

            Huh? I was not talking about data sources. I was talking about parking enforcement mechanisms. The one that scans license plates is not working so they are currently not using for enforcement.

          7. Matt Williams

            Of course you were talking about data sources … and I too was talking about parking enforcement mechanisms that scan license plates, and then record the scanned information. All those mechanisms are currently being used for enforcement. Meowwwwwwwwwwwww.

          8. Michelle Millet

            I thought that what ever they were using to scan license plates was not operational at the moment?

          9. Matt Williams

            To the best of my knowledge we do not have any blind parking enforcement officers on the Davis Police Department. BP/GI/R49 may think some of them are blind, but that’s only his deep-seated mistrust of anything governmental getting the best of him.

          10. Barack Palin

            Matt Williams/Practical or whatever other aliases you might be or have used it wasn’t BP who questioned the use of license imagery. Since you felt you had to drag me into this my problem isn’t so much the gov’t getting the best of me it’s the busy-body-we-know-what’s-best-for-you crowd that have nothing better to do than hang around city hall and harrass the council to do their bidding.

          11. Matt Williams

            Touchy this morning? There wasn’t any intent to drag you into this problem. It was an (obviously poor) attempt to inject some a humor into the discussion with Michelle. My grandmother always told me to only kid around about people who were strong enough to take it in stride … and not personally. I see you as just that kind of strong individual. I don’t always agree with you, but I respect the conviction of your positions.

          12. Matt Williams

            Two quick points:

            1. I failed to mention that I was not a member of the Downtown Parking Task Force

            2. Disclosure: Lets be clear about my perception of Robb Davis as a leader. Fremontia has pointed out that I am not unbiased whenever I talk about cars and parking. I have declared my support for cars in many venues. I have formally endorsed cars. My name is on record with the State of California in the DMV automobile registration database. I have appreciated cars as a transportation option for a long time. It was good to see the Parking Task Force overtly demonstrate similar appreciation in their deliberations. Further, I have no, nor have I ever had any, financial interest in the Vanguard.

          13. Mr. Toad

            Yes, collecting plate numbers is the easy part. The part that is weird is figuring out if people are shopping or going to school or just hanging out. How do you figure that out? As for my hyperbole about the feds and company spies it was tongue in cheek but determining what people do after they park their cars seems perhaps a little dubious.

          14. Robb Davis

            Mr Toad – The license plate identification would be used to, for example, to examine drivers who routinely shift blocks or park for long periods. Other methods, including direct observation and counts (much like is done for car counts or bike like counts which was done recently) would be used to approximate the numbers of parkers walking to campus.

            Learning about parking habits requires mixed data collection methods, but since we have routine data collection included (assuming there is funding for it), we can learn a great deal and use the information for decision making.

          1. Michelle Millet

            I heard a rumor that by typing my license plate number into a computer they can find out my name and address. How is this not some kind of privacy violation?

          2. hpierce

            Well, DMV has that information (and has ‘forever’)… how else could the police know who to contact for an abandoned vehicle, know who to cite for expired registrations, and/or know who they are likely to deal with in the event of a crime?

            Driving and car ownership is a privilege, not a “right”… now, if someone who doesn’t have a legitimate “need to know” can tie accessing your information based on the license plate, that could very well be an issue. If license plate data is used to inform government, without an “unreasonable” invasion of property, I see no problem.

            If you REALLY want to have NO potential for invasions of privacy, never sign up for Social Security, never have a bank account and/or a credit card, never own a motor vehicle, never work for a government entity, never own property, etc.

            Ironically, in the interest of “transparency”,
            David and others want unfettered information on Court records, public employee pensions (including names an amounts of pensions), etc.

            Oh, don’t open a phone, internet, or PG&E account, either.

          3. David Greenwald Post author

            “Ironically, in the interest of “transparency”, David and others want unfettered information on Court records, public employee pensions (including names an amounts of pensions), etc.”

            What’s wrong with that?

          4. hpierce

            Nothing… but it should apply to all… as it already does, as far as data. Why should not everyone have access to all license plate numbers, and owners of record, as that is ‘public public document’?… why should we all not have access to public documents including property ownership, including prices paid? Why should we all not have access to all property tax information, including owners, addresses and assessments? Since Social Security is a public program, why we should we not have access to benefits paid to each recipient (searchable by name)? Why should we not have basic info regarding those who receive mental health, special education?

            How ‘transparent’ should be transparency?

          5. hpierce

            Sorry to have offended…my earlier post (10:13) was meant to be informative/realistic, not ironic.

          6. hpierce

            Paix, pachem, shalom, salaam, peace. Have a great day and wonderful weekend. I didn’t understand.

          7. Matt Williams

            If you can keep your head when all about you

            Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

            If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

            But make allowance for their doubting too;

            If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

            Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

            Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

            And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

            If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

            If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

            If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

            And treat those two impostors just the same;

            If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

            Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

            Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

            And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

            If you can make one heap of all your winnings

            And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

            And lose, and start again at your beginnings

            And never breathe a word about your loss;

            If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

            To serve your turn long after they are gone,

            And so hold on when there is nothing in you

            Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

            If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

            Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

            If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

            If all folk count with you, but none too much;

            If you can fill the unforgiving minute

            With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

            Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

            And—which is more—you’ll be a Person, my child!

            … with apologies to R. Kipling

      1. hpierce

        Get over it… it happens all the time (and has so for at least 30 years)… it was used during the study done on Richards/First corridor study before the last vote on widening the Richards OH.

  8. Mr. Toad

    Am I paranoid? Yes I am. After plastic bag bans (the one thing I agree with), burn ordinances, the fifth street road diet, trash pricing to modify behavior and green waste containerization I’m a little edgy. So far the council has been pretty good about addressing rational concerns and proceeding cautiously but the next council could easily be more zealous in their approach to creating a more perfect environment. We see the risk when a candidate complains that implementing all but two elements of a long list of recommendations on parking is inadequate.

    Michael Bisch just set off a nuclear bomb in the middle of downtown, I’ve been interested to know how much it will cost to park downtown. The actual numbers haven’t been front and center. Michael says it has to be priced close to the price set by UC Davis. OUCH!!!! I wonder how that impacts the debate. Last time I was on campus it cost $1.50 an hour to park at a meter. It is interesting that the task force claims there is a 3-5 year break even period for meters so they must have estimates of the pricing but I haven’t heard an exact number used anywhere.

    1. Robb Davis

      From the staff presentation on revenue assumptions (see: http://city-council.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/CouncilMeetings/Agendas/20140325/07-Downtown-Parking-Management-Plan-Presentation.pdf) for the entire presentation.

      Paid Parking: ~$545,000
      • $1.00/hr.
      • 50% occupancy rate (current avg: 63%).
      • 6 days/week.
      • 50 weeks/yr (break during winter holidays).
      • Free 20-min spaces remain.
      • 15 Spaces converted to disabled-accessible.
      • Amtrak lot excluded from revenue assumptions.

      Paid parking is not the only or best way to deal with student parking (the magnitude of which is not known due to a lack of data). Time limits may be more effective in areas closest to the University.

      1. Mr. Toad

        So if I park downtown for 4 hours it costs me $4 to attend a 3 hour lab class but if I park on campus it costs me $7 because I don’t have a four hour option. Since there are no 4 hour meters on campus I need an all day pass that costs $7.

        Were there any students on the task force? My guess, knowing the way Davis disregards the interests of students since they tend to not exercise their right to vote or are not allowed to vote in Davis, is there were not any but I could be wrong. When I was a student I would do all sorts of things to avoid paying $3. Three dollars bought a lot more in those days but I would still do lots to avoid paying even less back then.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          When I went to school I parked in some of the free ONDA spots and walked. But then again, my building was on the eastern edge of campus. If you set the meters at shorter intervals, you should be able to deal with that issue.

          1. Mr. Toad

            So now we will get the meters but not the 4 hours time spots or we get more students parking downtown and walking to campus. It will cost a dollar an hour or perhaps more. Does any of this start to make you think that the City Council got it right by not going for the meters. Certainly Jennifer Anderson’s concern about people not wanting to pay to shop at her business might consider their other options like driving to Woodland, Dixon or West Sac. Between non-competitive pricing and parking fees you may be killing the goose and driving retail out of downtown.

          2. Robb Davis

            Students are both price and location sensitive. But, the issues you are raising can be evaluated empirically. That is why we need data collection, which, again, is one of the key recommendations. Once meters are in prices can be adjusted to achieve management goals–which, as I noted in my piece, is the main purpose of installing them. Limiting hours closest to the University or (as one key downtown business owner suggested) using meters close to the University, should help manage the problem. Again, as of now we do not know the magnitude of the problem. We need data. (see above)

          3. Mr. Toad

            Shoppers are also price and location sensitive. Isn’t your real goal to get people out of their cars Robb? Don’t you think the world would be a better place if everyone didn’t drive so much?

          4. Robb Davis

            The data shows that price and location sensitivities vary by consumer. That is why some Davis shoppers will pay to park in the E Street lot when the surrounding streets offer plenty of free parking. This is data that the Parking Task Force looked at. My task as a member of this commission was not to get people out of their cars but rather to assure that they would be able to find convenient spaces according to their price sensitivity when they come into the downtown. I followed that task to the end. I also brought forward recommendations that would enable people who would like to come into downtown by other modes (thereby freeing up spaces for those who do want to drive) the options to do so. In the end, I favor expanding transportation options NOT limiting them. I hope that is clear.

          5. DT Businessman

            Toad, for a former teacher, your reading skills aren’t so good. I already posted that Robb seconded and voted for the motion to move forward with development of a 3rd parking structure as part of a comprehensive plan. So why do you go on and on with this fairy tale of Robb being anti-car? You’re deliberately distorting Robb’s record on this point.

            -Michael Bisch

          6. Mr. Toad

            Just trying to flush him out. Notice he didn’t say he was for or against cars. Still his personal choice speaks more about his leadership than anything. Leading by example is the finest form of leadership. I worry that he will do exactly what he believes whenever he can if elected. That is the root of my concern.

          7. Matt Williams

            Toad, I believe your imagination is getting the better of your common sense.

            If you aggregate all the bicycle advocates in the entire city into one large group, what proportion of those bicycle advocates have swung the personal integrity pendulum as far as Rob and Nancy have? If that proportion is as high as one thousandth of one percent, I will be very surprised. Despite the fact that Robb’s “leading by example” is beyond the “willingness to commit” threshold of the Davis bicycle community, they individually and collectively see him as a leader … not as an emblem of any personal shame on their part for not being as committed as he and Nancy are.

            Robb is an Everyman. I’m surprised that you don’t see that. It would appear that the root of your concern is your own self doubt.

          8. David Greenwald Post author

            Having four hour time spots, in my view at least, diminishes one of the chief benefits of meters which is opening up the surface parking for short term parkers.

        2. Matt Williams

          If a student (who is wise) parks their car on campus, they will have a semester parking pass and the cost will be a small fraction of $7.00.

          Sometimes Toad you speak just to hear yourself.

          1. hpierce

            Matt… UCD is on the quarter system, not semester… cost a “small fraction of $7.00?”

          2. Matt Williams

            Yes Hortense, a small fraction of $7.00. Per the UCD Parking website (see http://taps.ucdavis.edu/parking/permits/rates) the monthly cost of a C Permit is either $42 or $47. Quick division makes that either $1.40 per day or $1.55 per day. Last time I checked $1.40 was a small fraction of $7.00, as was $1.55.

    2. DT Businessman

      What is with you today, Toad? Did you have a bowl of hyperbole to go along with your cup of paranoia? A nuclear bomb in downtown? You act as if we don’t have paid parking in downtown already. We certainly do. I’m pretty sure the area hasn’t become a radioactive wasteland. Quite the opposite! And what’s with the BS about the numbers haven’t been front and center? They most certainly have. The proposed prices have been discussed at length and posted. As for students on the task force, I guess you failed to notice my previous post that UC Davis delegated their parking guy to the task force. Also, all students were welcome to respond to surveys, send emails, provide public comment, blog, etc. just like every other resident.

      Take a couple of deep breaths and exhale slowly, Toad.

      -Michael Bisch

      1. Mr. Toad

        You don’t like my rhetoric? Get in line with everyone else who doesn’t like it. At least I’m not talking about my precious bodily fluids being contaminated. I let the anti-fluoride people worry about that.

        The UCD parking guy is not a student. So while they were free to add input they really never actually had a student voice on the task force. No surprise but probably a mistake when trying to manage student parking behavior.

  9. Michelle Millet

    It is my understanding that the main goal of paid parking is to increase the amount of parking spaces available for people who are driving downtown to shop, thus making it more convenient for people to drive their cars downtown.

    1. Barack Palin

      If paid parking was to make it more convenient for shoppers to go downtown that just means that others are FORGOING our downtown area to shop elsewhere. In order for those convenient spots to open up means that those that did park there are going elsewhere like local strip malls, Woodland, Dixon, West Sac and not shopping or eating at a downtown businesses.

      1. Michelle Millet

        If paid parking was to make it more convenient for shoppers to go downtown that just means that others are FORGOING our downtown area to shop elsewhere.

        The assumption is that these “others” are not shoppers. They are students and employees who are not coming downtown to shop and using parking spaces that could be available to those whose intention it is to come downtown to spend money.

          1. Michelle Millet

            It was my understanding that the Parking Task Force was working under this assumption i.e. that prime shopper parking spots were being used by employees. I imagine they have evidence that they are basing this assumption on and that the reason they were recommending limited paid parking is to encourage employees not use these spots so that they would available to people who drive into downtown to shop/dine/spend money.

          2. DT Businessman

            BP, the task force knows that from the input of Davis PD among other sources. This point has never been in contention not even by the 3 dissenting CC member. Why do you doubt it?

            -Michael Bisch

        1. Barack Palin

          Yes, employees are a problem, but Dan Parrella’s idea of tiering the parking fines could greatly address that while at the same time creating more revenue. As far as students parking downtown, don’t they shop too. I doubt that many students are parking in the downtown core to go to class. First off it’s a fairly long walk and secondly 2 hours is hardly enough time to attend a bank of classes plus you have to include in the walking time.

          1. DT Businessman

            BP, the task force received plenty of info extending over many years regarding students parking in downtown and walking to class.

            -Michael Bisch

          2. Michelle Millet

            I doubt that many students are parking in the downtown core to go to class.

            Do you have any evidence that backs up this assumption?

          3. David Greenwald Post author

            My experience was a lot of students park in Central Park if they have an hour class on the east side of Campus. A lot of longer term parkers parking in Old North, but Old North has solved their problem by having some residentially designated spots and allowing others to park there all day.

          4. Barack Palin

            I can see that, but since that’s not really in the core is that an area where there was going to be paid parking?

          5. David Greenwald Post author

            That’s actually my point, I don’t see that particular issue being a huge problem.

      2. Mr. Toad

        Exactly but since we have little competition because we have restricted growth there is not anyplace close to shop unless you want to leave town so our parking tax becomes a little more incentive to drive those extra miles. Davis’ policies and their unintended consequences; leapfrog development of housing and leaky sales tax policies. I wonder if the task force thought about sales tax leakage versus parking revenue?

        1. DT Businessman

          No, Toad, none of the business or property owners on the task force, or other task force members for that matter, not to mention the head of Community Development, ever thought about sales tax leakage. Of course we did. You really need to review the specific task, including objectives, that the CC assigned to the task force. Your comments would be far better informed, or maybe not.

          -Michael Bisch

  10. DT Businessman

    So here’s my take on the candidates’ parking responses from the perspective of someone who is a leasing agent and manager of a number of downtown properties representing a number of property owners and tenants (and a Robb Davis supporter!).

    ROBB DAVIS
    Robb has an unfair advantage over the others having been on the task force. He clearly has a much better grasp of the parking issues as is reflected in his response. And his opinion reflects that of the task force consensus for a comprehensive plan intended to achieve the goals that the City Council laid out for the task force. The task force was not some rogue group making things up as they went along; rather, they were operating withing the framework that the CC set. [Note: it would have been helpful for David to have posted the CC goals that the task force was instructed to achieve.]

    SHEILA ALLEN
    Sheila’s response is squishy, is not based in fact, and comes across as someone who has only a cursory grasp of the downtown parking issues. If she had been paying attention at the March 24 CC meeting, she would have heard the CM clearly state, in response to a Swanson question, that the upfront cost of the equipment was going to be borrowed from an enterprise fund. The exact fund would be identified once the CC gave staff direction because without such direction, the amount to be borrowed was unknown. There was never a question about the ability to fund the equipment purchase. Sheila then goes on to say she would like to see the other recommendations put into place. She fails to acknowledge that there is no resources (funds, staff, technology) to implement the recommendations that Sheila says she agrees with. This is an ongoing dysfunctional aspect of the CC wherein they assign priorities and task to staff, but do not provide the resources to accomplish them. THIS DYSFUNCTION HAS TO CHANGE! Sheila exacerbates her disconnect by saying signage needs to be implemented immediately. It was humorous watching Lucas go on and on about this at the March 24th meeting. HELLO!!! This is another priority assigned by the CC to staff, which the CC has failed to properly allocate resources. Indeed, the downtown wayfinding project has been an ongoing unmitigated disaster for well over a year. The CC is constantly assigning new priorities to staff when staff doesn’t even have the resources to complete the old priorities. Can you say “POU”? Or “Central Park Bathroom”? Or….?

    “Educating business owners on the existence of employee parking passes for employees.” Please! You don’t think this hasn’t been tried? Is still being tried? It’s obviously completely ineffective as a meaningful solution. Yes, we should continue to educate business owners and employees about the benefits of X permit passes, but this will not have a meaningful impact. The limited paid parking in the SE quadrant is what encourages the employees to park in the X permit spots. The limited paid parking produces the funding stream that pays for everything else and also provides the data to continuously monitor the efficacy of the plan and provides policymakers the data needed to adjust the plan over time.

    “In the long term, we need to work with downtown building owners to encourage a more diverse mix of retail….” Huh? This is really not helpful. We are not going to have less restaurants downtown. We’re likely to have more. And we’re likely to have more offices as well. There will be no balancing of parking needs only a lot more need period. The market will be determining the mix, not the city. This is the US, not some command/control economy.

    DANIEL PARELLA
    Slightly less squishy response, but still not helpful. See critique of Sheila’s response. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure there are State-imposed restrictions on how the parking citation revenue can be used. This was discussed at the task force at length. I don’t recall the details but have a call into the city regarding the use of the citation revenue for implementing the task force recommendations.

    “Streamlined permitting process”? What’s that? The CC “should choose the recommendations they believe make the most direct impact”? The two recommendations that far and away have the biggest impacts for addressing the objects set out by the CC are the paid parking the SE quadrant and development of the 3rd parking structure. The rest of the recommendations are mere tweaking without the 2 key stones.

    JOHN MUNN
    “…and space prevents describing other approaches”? Geez! OK, John has been campaigning for well over a month and has yet to state what he is for. “I’m against this.” “I’m against that.” What kind of campaign is that? The only thing he is for appears to be a balanced budget, but then fails to provide any specifics. That’s unusual, a political candidate who supports a balanced budget, but then speaks only in platitudes about it without any specific proposals. John is clearly the candidate of the NOE Party in this election.

    ROCHELLE SWANSON – M.I.A.
    That said, Rochelle already provided her response at the March 24th CC meeting and at the PAC forum. My critique of Sheila’s position applies for the most part to Rochelle as well.

    -Michael Bisch

    1. hpierce

      Michael… think the “M.I.A” tag was a bit gratuitous, unless made in jest. Not sure if I will vote for Rochelle, but she doesn’t cause me grief, either…

    2. Daniel Parrella

      Michael,

      Thank you for your response but you confuse me a little bit.

      Recommendation #3 is “Increase employee permit fees and streamline employee parking to single “X” permit”, you were on the task force so you know about removing the “D” permit better than anyone.

      As for nitpicking recommendations the question asked by David Greenwald states “Given that the council voted to exclude paid parking from the plan, at least for the time being, how will the parking task force plan that was passed work to free up street parking for short-term users in the near future without the paid parking component to act as the incentive stick?” The point I am trying to make is without the revenue generated by paid parking we dont have the money to implement all of the task force recommendations, we still have some revenue coming in and the council should choose the ones that are still financially feasible. The green waste recommendation only costs $2000.

      As for parking citation revenue cant be used the way I thought it could, you are probably right. My bad.

      Thanks for your comments,

      Daniel Parrella

  11. DT Businessman

    Gratuitous? Humor? Another way to say “failed to respond”? I really didn’t give it a lot of thought when I posted it. I was thinking a lot more about the substance of my comments. We’ll see whether anyone feels like addressing the substance.

    -Michael Bisch

    1. Matt Williams

      Michael, I may be coming late to the party, but what is it about Rochelle’s response that qualifies as MIA?

      Rochelle Swanson

      The revenue proposed as a part of the parking task force’s plan did not adequately address the funding required to implement, nor did it address the concerns of many of our downtown patrons, residents, and businesses. Our city cannot afford to spend $1.5 million until we identify funding sources. We need to look at solutions to our problems that work with our current budget realities.

      We also need more discrete data on the parking habits of our downtown drivers so that when meters are put in place, we know that our policy is creating the greatest outcome with the least impact. We also need a more comprehensive outreach plan to measure and encourage employee business usage. Much less than half of downtown businesses have employees that use X permits.

      We need a parking plan that works for our downtown patrons and businesses. I believe that we need to assess the impacts and redesign implementation based on those findings given the concerns of customers, residents, employers, and business owners. As our economy continues to recover, we cannot look to mitigate downtown parking issues merely by introducing charges to those who use the spaces. We require a more nuanced approach that not only avoids impacting downtown businesses, but increases capacity. As I mentioned the night of the vote, I believe we do need to assess options with the Amtrak lot where we could move to a permit process for locals or other measures allowed under our agreemet.

      There are still many aspects to the parking plan that will improve our parking issues downtown with little cost like adjusting parking enforcement shifts and increasing employee parking options.

      Ultimately, the parking task force plan can’t and won’t be the last effort to improve our parking situation in Davis. I believe that we need additional innovative solutions.

          1. Matt Williams

            That is a testosterone laden answer Hortense. Sans the testosterone, late is always better than premature.

  12. Barack Palin

    I never have any problems finding a free spot downtown now. I might have to drive around the corner but I always find a spot. It has never caused me not to go downtown. I think those that want paid parking are making the problem larger than it actually is and come off as elitist as they want their up close paid parking and want others who maybe can’t afford it to be forced into the garages or make them walk from the outskirts of town.

    1. Michelle Millet

      I never have any problems finding a free spot downtown now. I might have to drive around the corner but I always find a spot.

      Have you done, or seen, any research that suggest your experiences are anything more then anecdotal?

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        According to both the survey and my own eyes having a spot in the south east part of downtown, there are some key times when it is very difficult to find a parking spot.

      2. Barack Palin

        Michelle, it is you who stated:

        “Free parking is only a useful feature when there are actually spots to park in for free.”

        So it must really be useful because I ALWAYS find a spot.

          1. DT Businessman

            David, it’s not kinda of, that’s precisely the issue. And it’s the same with almost all infrastructure. You design class room sizes, electricity grids, road capacity, restaurant capacity, houses, etc. for when the service is in demand.

            -Michael Bisch

          2. Michelle Millet

            Right. For example, think of a shopping center lot. When the design their lot size do they do it in a way that during there busiest times all the spots will be taken? Or do they design it in a way that even at their busiest times spots will still be available?

        1. Michelle Millet

          So it must really be useful because I ALWAYS find a spot.

          As Michael Bisch pointed out the Parking Task Force has evidence that suggests your anecdotal experiences do not accurately represent the parking situation downtown. Do you have any evidence beyond personal experiences to back up your assertions that parking is always available?

    2. DT Businessman

      I agree with BP. “… those that want paid parking are making the problem larger than it actually is…” But then I review all the actual data that proves otherwise. I could pretend that the data is a mirage and stick my head in the sand, or I could act upon the data.

      I should point out that every sitting CC member disagrees with BP, which is why they formed a task force. And 4 of the 5 CC candidates disagree as well.

      -Michael Bisch

  13. Mr. Toad

    Well they pave paradise and put up a parking lot
    and they charge the people a dollar and a half just to see it
    Don’t it always go to show
    you don’t know what you got till its gone
    you pave paradise and put up a parking lot

    I guess its clear, if you want more paid parking, vote for Robb Davis.

  14. DT Businessman

    That’s funny, Toad. You’ve co-opted the song of those who advocated against the last effort to develop a downtown parking structure. It just goes to show that any attempt at progress in this town will be met with fierce mutually exclusive opposition. You can’t manage it, you can’t expand it, status quo, fear of change.

    -Michael Bisch

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