City Council Approves Expansion of Paid Parking to Downtown Surface Lots



(From Press Release) – On December 20th, the Davis City Council directed staff to expand paid parking into four city-owned downtown surface lots.

After consideration of several on-street and off-street paid parking alternatives, the City Council settled on adding the north F Street, north G Street, south G Street, and Boy Scout Cabin lots (see map) to the City’s supply of paid parking and extending the parking time limit from two to four hours in these locations. The Council also supported expending City funds this fiscal year to:

  • Develop the City-owned parking lot at the northwest corner of Richards & Olive Drive for downtown employee parking.
  • Work with the property owners to expand employee parking into the Fourth & G garage.
  • Pursue a downtown parking guidance system.
  • Explore options to offset parking costs with a validation system for downtown purchases

The decision to expand paid parking occurred following City Council support for a parking guidance system, which would help downtown visitors quickly find available parking. The system would consist of interconnected display signs indicating at the street entrances to each lot the number of parking spaces available. This information could be pushed in real-time to the internet or mobile application to assist with trip planning.  In 2014, the City installed a stand-alone display sign at the entrance to the First and F parking structure.

 “Expanding paid parking and pursuing a parking guidance system are important tools for efficiently managing our limited downtown parking supply,” said Mayor Robb Davis.

Expanding paid parking from the existing E Street Plaza lot to other highly impacted areas downtown is one of nineteen recommendations from the Downtown Parking Management Plan, completed in spring of 2014. The recommendations emerged from the Downtown Parking Task Force, which met monthly over the course of a year to help City decision-makers improve parking conditions downtown. In July 2016, City Council directed staff to return with options for expanding paid parking.

A timeframe for implementation is being developed by City staff. Downtown stakeholders will be updated as the project progresses, with community outreach conducted well in advance of kiosk installation.



About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts

17 thoughts on “City Council Approves Expansion of Paid Parking to Downtown Surface Lots”

  1. hpierce

    No reference as to where the parking revenues go… suspect that with the capital costs of installation, maintenance of the equipment, enforcement, this will be a drain on the GF for 2-3 years.  Then, it might break even.

    But there may be goals other than financial.

  2. Jim Frame

    This information could be pushed in real-time to the internet or mobile application to assist with trip planning


    Does the CC really think that someone is going sit at their desktop computer and decide whether or not to drive downtown based on a review of available parking spots?  It seems to me that what this system will actually do is encourage people to flout the law by driving around downtown looking at their phones instead of watching out for bikes, pedestrians and other cars.

    1. hpierce

      Think you pretty much nailed it, Jim…

      When my garbage disposal went out, I never thought of stopping to think about when I should go to Davis Ace or Hibbert based on parking availability…

      Now I’ll have to decide how much I’ll need to pay to park, if a bike just won’t accomplish the task… [yeah, a GD unit could handle on my bike, particularly if  I used the bike trailer, but not 4 sheets of plywood… in either case]

  3. quielo

    Seems like a classic case of over engineering. Maybe they could get input from the folks who designed terminal “B” at SMF who will advise them to put in a tram system for a handful of flights a day. I’m downtown almost every day and have not noticed that parking is that bad. I generally walk or bike but when I do drive I have never had to look for more than a couple of minutes for a space.

    1. Jim Frame

      Maybe they could get input from the folks who designed terminal “B” at SMF who will advise them to put in a tram system for a handful of flights a day.


      I always assumed that isolating the airline gates from the public road system had more to do with security than it did with cost.

      1. quielo



        I was told that the tram system was to allow for more gates than the previous terminal had. SMF is massively overbuilt and the resulting increase in landing fees is allegedly reducing the number of flights while increasing the price of the tickets. I’m not an airport expert but the new terminal B is much worse of a user experience than the old terminal B.

        1. Barack Palin

          I agree, I used to work at the old terminal B and it was so much more convenient for travel.  Luckily my airline was moved to Terminal A where you don’t have to deal with the tram.  I still fly a lot and getting in and out of Terminal A is so much better than dealing with B.

        2. Barack Palin

          At Terminal A you can still drop off a passenger and if they have ticket in hand they can be at their gate in 5 minutes as long as the TSA line is short.


  4. darelldd

    This initial attempt at paid parking is backwards, IMO. It will increase the circling for street spaces before a visitor in a car finally heads to a lot to pay a token sum. Why do we increase congestion and pollution by continuing to incentivize core street parking instead of encouraging everybody to head directly for a lot on the edge of the core? The employee parking issue gets kicked down the road yet again.

    The street spaces in front of the businesses are the prime parking spaces that we don’t need to encourage.

    A comparison to the travel industry would be to have plane tickets cost less during peak travel season, and charge a premium for the less desirable times.

  5. Edison

    I have no argument with more paid parking downtown. It will hopefully encourage more people to walk or bike downtown. My wife and I frequently walk downtown for haircuts or to have lunch. It’s about a 7-mile roundtrip walk, but very pleasant.

    Regarding the new Terminal B at SMF. Mr. Frame is correct, the separation of the terminal (where passengers check in, get boarding passes, etc.) from the concourse (where the gates are located) is a design driven by the feds.  After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FAA  was no longer in favor of “unitary” terminals, such as SMF’s Terminal A, in which the terminal and concourse are combined into one building. The rationale is that if a terrorist event occurred in one facility, only that facility would need to be evacuated.  Depending on the scale of the security threat, the other facility could hopefully remain operational.

    In the case of SMF, that of course led to the decision of how to move passengers between the 2 facilities. Due to high groundwater (within a foot of the surface at SMF during the winter), there would have been cost and design considerations to building a below-grade tunnel, moving sidewalk, etc.   Installing an above grade facility would have likewise entailed other considerations. The designers eventually decided on the aerial tram option, which cost about $150 million (out of a total project cost of about $1 billion).  It may not be the perfect solution, but given a variety of considerations it was selected as the optimum approach. And, such trams are increasingly common at airports around the country and appear to have high reliability.

    Having been in charge of environmental planning and regulatory compliance for the Sac County Airport System (which includes 4 airports) for over 13 years, I would dispute one poster’s observation that the tram only serves a handful of flights annually.  Just check out the current flight statistics on the airport’s website. It’s also important to keep in mind that the new “B” concourse and terminal were not designed for today’s volume of flights.  As former county supervisor Roger Dickinson observed at the project’s groundbreaking ceremony, it was designed and built to meet  the region’s anticipated air travel needs 50 years into the future.

  6. Dave Hart

    I think I lived in Davis for several years before I realized that Davis Lumber didn’t own the lot that so many use to park and shop there.  The turnover in that lot is actually pretty good most of the time.  With paid parking, I would guess average parking time will be longer.  It is definitely the end of an era for making a quick trip to Davis Lumber.  Does anyone know if the City has a process to decide if paid parking in these lots is a success or failure by some predetermined standard or are they just winging it?

  7. Alan Miller

    I was on the downtown parking committee years ago.  The elephant in the room is employee parking.  Mass numbers of employees do the two-hour shuffle, taking up customer spaces.  This is worse now that so many employees work 5-8pm in restaurants, exactly when parking is at a premium.  Each business that refuses to deal with this in itself has little impact, but each together create a parking mess that ironically even the businesses that Buy X permits have to suffer for.  I blame the businesses that don’t work with their employees on this, and to the City for not shaming these businesses outright for the mess they are causing and we are all paying for.

    1. Howard P

      Alan speaks truth on this… Davis Ace was about the only one that was rigorous about employee parking… think it was a one or two strike thing, as to employment…

  8. John Munn

    Another reason to shop in Woodland.  If the real reason for this is to decrease use of cars downtown, it will work because  at least some of the shoppers will just go somewhere else.  I wonder if the parking revenue will make up for the loss of sales tax revenue?

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for