FAQ from the City about Downtown Parking

Is there a change being made by the City to the parking downtown?

We are taking steps to improve downtown parking because demand for parking exceeds the supply available during our peak hours (lunch and evenings). As a result, cars circle around downtown trying to find a parking space. This creates traffic congestion, noise, air pollution, aggressive driving across intersections, and an uncomfortable environment for pedestrians. One action, increasing the amount of paid parking, will ensure one or two spaces will be available on each block face.  

On what advice are you creating a new plan?

A new plan isn’t being created, but rather the existing 2014 Downtown Parking Management Plan (DPMP) is being implemented. Establishing paid parking in the southeast quadrant (roughly First-Third, D-H Streets) was one of 19 recommendations from the Downtown Park Task Force (DPTF) process, which culminated in the DPMP. Many of the DPTF recommendations have been implemented and others are still in progress.  In November 2017, the Davis City Council directed staff to proceed with establishing additional paid parking as an important parking management tool to ensure parking availability for downtown customers.

Planning for the expansion of paid parking has been in progress since February 2018 and is nearly complete.  We are working with consultants from Nelson/Nygaard, and Dixon Resources Unlimited to explore best practices from other cities and to create recommendations for next steps for implementation.

Are you implementing paid parking next month?

No. The results from the paid parking implementation planning will come to City Council for final approval sometime this Fall. The City will notify the community well in advance of the anticipated City Council decision date.  If Council accepts the final approach to implement paid parking, other steps will need to occur before you will see parking meters on the ground. City staff anticipate Summer 2019 as the earliest meters would be installed.

Will parking enforcement hours change as a result of paid parking?

Most likely. A DPTF recommendation was to shift parking enforcement hours from 8 am6pm to 10 am8 pm, consistent with parking demand. This has not occurred yet and naturally coincides with paid parking implementation.

How long will I be allowed to park?

Existing two-hour time limits will either be extended to three or four hours or eliminated entirely, while re-parking restrictions in the paid parking area will be eliminated because they won’t be needed. With paid parking, customers will have plenty of time to shop, enjoy a meal, and watch a movie without having to move their car, worry about a ticket, or leave downtown entirely 

Will all spaces downtown require payment?

No. Both on- and off-street parking in the southeast quadrant are proposed for paid parking, which experiences the greatest demand during the peaks. This represents approximately 400-450 total spaces of over 2,000, or 20%-23% of all public spaces downtown.  Paid parking will not be prohibitively expensive, only enough to ensure one or two spaces on a block face remain available on average, or 80-85% occupancy overall. We anticipate fees in the $.50-$1.00 an hour range to start, depending on time of day. Whatever the lowest rate that is needed to achieve the performance objectives is where they will be set.

Where will downtown employees park?

The DPTF discussed this issue extensively throughout their process and they agreed that downtown employee parking needs are important, but secondary to customers’ needs.

With paid parking, some employees will choose to arrive via a different mode of transportation such as bicycle, ridesharing, drop-off, or the bus. For those who need to drive and don’t currently purchase downtown employee X-permits, they will need to purchase a permit and walk farther to their place of employment. Relative to the cost of car ownership, fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repairs, X-permit parking is very affordable at $10/month and well below market rates. X-permit parking is located in the First & F garage, the Boy Scout lot at First & F, and the western & northern downtown peripheries. This supply is not typically fully occupied. However, the City continues to look for opportunities to provide more employee parking locations. For example, an additional 29 space parking lot at the NW corner of Richards Blvd and Olive Drive was recently constructed specifically for X-permit parking. Other efforts are in progress. On the occasions where employees must park in the paid parking zone, they may do so at the standard meter rate, but most will choose not to on a regular basis.

For those who need a guaranteed space, reserved parking is available in the privately owned Fourth & G garage at market rates.

Will paid parking drive customers away from businesses?

This is unlikely. If parking occupancy rates average between 80% – 85% and many parking spaces are freed up by downtown employees migrating to more appropriate parking or other modes (typically, anywhere from 15%-30% of parking is occupied by employees), an increase of downtown customers could result. Customers willing to pay for parking typically spend more than those who don’t and when implemented correctly, economics can improve for downtown property owners and businesses. 75%-80% of downtown parking spaces will remain free of charge for price sensitive customers. Fortunately, paid parking has been piloted in the E Street Plaza parking lot since 2008 and is filled to capacity at peak times. That is, paid parking hasn’t driven business away.

Isn’t paid parking just another tax on downtown visitors?

More accurately, it’s a fee for a scarce commodity; one currently being overused and causing undesirable side effects. Economic principles conclude the City can no longer provide highly valued parking in the southeast quadrant free of charge and expect conditions to improve. Market forces will determine the value of these parking spaces to achieve an 80%-85% occupancy rate, which will ensure downtown vitality. 

Why is the City charging for parking if there are concerns and opposition?

It’s natural to resist paying for something that was previously free. However, surveys from the DPTF process indicate widespread agreement that parking is a problem downtown. Paid parking is a necessary parking management tool to ensure customer parking availability is prioritized. While anxieties about paid parking are real, data shows that when implemented properly, customer’s value parking availability more than they oppose paying for it, especially if they can stay longer. Since the DPTF concluded their work in 2014, the Davis Downtown Business Association and Chamber of Commerce have supported establishing downtown paid parking in some form. 

How will the paid parking revenue be used?

Some communities have taken the wrong approach with paid parking, applying it in struggling downtowns to generate revenue for citywide funding shortfalls. Fortunately, Davis’ purpose is strictly for parking management.

While paid parking will obviously generate revenue, much of that will be needed for additional operations, maintenance, and parking enforcement to implement paid parking itself. As currently done with the E Street Plaza, any additional revenue will be placed in a separate fund and used to improve the downtown customer experience, parking, and access.  

Why doesn’t the City just construct more parking?

Most people perceive the downtown parking problem as not being able to park on the street close to their destination. However, the City cannot meaningfully increase the on-street parking supply and a new parking garage is prohibitively expensive to construct, with an estimate of approximately $50,000 per space, and difficult to justify given the existing garage at Fourth & G Street is underutilized. Paid parking is a cost-effective tool to most effectively use the existing parking supply.

If the City can’t build more parking, what are you doing to make parking easier?

This Fall, a new interconnected electronic parking guidance system will be installed for all City-owned parking lots and the F Street garage. This will consist of electronic LED display signs visible to drivers from the street that indicate how many spaces are available at each lot. There will also be a monument sign at the Richards Blvd & First Street intersection indicating off-street parking availability. 

What about people with mobility challenges who have disabled placards?

Paid parking will require the city designate some on-street spaces for disabled parking. However, regulations for visitors with mobility challenges and who have placards will not change. 

How can I get more information?

A website for the Downtown Paid Parking/Parking Management Plan can be found at:  https://cityofdavis.org

Davis Downtown business association plans to hold a brown bag discussion of the topic in September which will be widely publicized and open to all.

How can I voice my comments?

You can send comments to:

Brian Abbanat
Senior Transportation Planner
Public Works Department
City of Davis

If you are a downtown business, you can also send your comments to the Davis Downtown Business Association at stewart@davisdowntown.com

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  1. Alan Miller

     . . . because demand for parking exceeds the supply available during our peak hours . . .

    Please add to this sentence:  ” . . . for those unwilling to walk 2-3 blocks”.

    With paid parking, some employees will choose to arrive via a different mode of transportation such as bicycle, ridesharing, drop-off, or the bus.

    Love to see the actual numbers on this, though I doubt the ‘before’ numbers exist.

      1. Alan Miller

        Strange you find it strange.  I was on the Downtown Davis Parking Committee 15 years ago, and one of the main goals was trying to get more employees to use X-permits.  Back then, many employers didn’t buy or encourage use of permits, employees low paid didn’t want to pay and so did the 2-hour shuffle.  Paid area is too small to make a major difference in this behavior, maybe some, I’d imagine.  In case any reading this don’t know, the issue is that many employees park in spaces that could be used by customers and move their cars every two hours, significantly reducing the amount of parking available to the public. Another issue is that some of the employees who do this are business owners themselves.

        1. Ken A

          It seems like people that work in retail smoke more than average (a lot more than structural engineers) and it seems like “every two hours” is about the time most people take a smoke break and move their cars…

  2. Jeff M

    Isn’t paid parking just another tax on downtown visitors?

    Yes.  Yes.  and Yes x 2.

    The thing about paid parking… it only works when the positive draw to the area is strong enough to offset the negative draw of the cost and difficulty of parking.   My guess is that there will be these central-located payment kiosks where people will have to queue up to get their ticket to then take back to their car.   It is a real time waster.  Maybe not a problem for all the retired people and visitors will probably not mind too much.  But this change is the opposite for what a city would do if they were promoting their downtown as the primary shopping district.

    There are a lot of reasons why I don’t shop at downtown Davis.  I believe that this will add to my reasons instead of help improve the situation.

    1. Wesley Sagewalker

      The parking spaces cost the city money to maintain. Paid parking isn’t so much a tax as it is reducing (and certainly not eliminating) a subsidy for a scarce and, evidently, highly demanded good. Cities have been installing meters which can be paid on your phone which makes parking much more convenient which would be a good solution to the issue you raise. A major inconvenience that many Davisiites complain about is trying to find a parking spot downtown during peak hours.  As Mr. Abbanat mentioned, the data shows that customers value having available places to park than paying a few bucks for parking. Parking downtown is a scarce resource, so no matter what it will be rationed. Right now, that means circling endlessly in a three block loop and scrambling for the first available spot. The DPTF is proposing a rationing scheme that uses prices rather than queues to accomplish this. The market provides elegant and efficient solutions.

      1. Jeff M

        A major inconvenience that many Davisiites complain about is trying to find a parking spot downtown during peak hours.

        Right.  So making them less convenient is going to help how?

        This is a bonehead solution unless the goal is fewer paying customers downtown.   The scarcity mindset is like the victim mindset… both lead to decline.

        1. Wesley Sagewalker

          If you institute paid parking, the supply of available street parking spots increases; hence, potential downtown customers are able to find parking spots faster. Given that people face higher disutility from being in traffic and feeling anxiety about snatching up a parking spot if they happen upon it (there are some amazing studies and surveys out there quantifying just how much people hate traffic) than the disutility they receive from paying for this resource (as confirmed empirically at the E street parking lot), this is a Pareto optimal global utility maximizing solution. Again, because this is a scarce resource, there will be rationing. There is no way around this. You, in effect, are saying you prefer using queues and the value of the time they impose as an opportunity cost over prices. Fair enough, I suppose, but a lot of the auction theory work by Hal Varian among others would argue that using prices to ration scarce goods tends to lead to more efficient outcomes whereby those with the highest valuations receive the largest utility gains by using price auctions over any other rationing scheme.

      2. Ken A

        It costs the city to maintain everything the city owns, I’m wondering if Wesley would be in favor of charging $0.25 to park in the bike racks in town or making parents pay $1 per kid every time they play at the park…

        I can “afford” to pay to park but it is the nickle-and-diming that drives me nuts.  If I want a cup of coffee or want to pick up a half pound of coffee for the weekend it often takes more time to wait and pay the “parking ATM” than it does to get my coffee.  I wish the city would just raise my taxes by $50/year than to torture me by making me wait in line to pay a tax $0.50 tax multiple times…

        1. Wesley Sagewalker

          Hi Ken,

          I see the examples you bring up as being fundamentally different in that (as I understand them being presented), these are not really comparable to the parking situation downtown for the following reasons. If there a substantial shortage of bike racks in town (which, as an illustration, is only analogous here if we agree that there exists a real shortage of street parking spots downtown) with no feasible way of increasing their supply (because the commission has already ruled out building more parking as being prohibitively expensive in addition to being likely underutilized–people’s driving/parking decisions are always fascinating), and this shortage was causing negative spillover effects (as is the case with the long circling searching patterns for the reasons described in the article), and if we leave aside all the possible positive externalities generated by excessive (w.r.t. available rack space) bike use versus all the possible negative externalities we could consider from excessive (w.r.t. parking) driving, then, yes, it would make sense to use a pricing mechanism to more efficiently ration the bike rack spaces. This would be societally optimal given those parameters. Similarly for park time. My belief, however, is that we are probably not in a situation where such public goods are being excessively utilized such that a rationing scheme needs to be put into place.

          What I think you are really getting at, however, is the inconvenience of having to shell out money, time, and effort to park downtown every time you go there instead of just absorbing the associated fee in a single fell swoop. Undoubtedly, this would be much more convenient and pleasant for you and for anyone else who wants to park downtown. There is a lot of really great research done in Prospect Theory by Tversky and Kahneman (along with many others) in Behavioral Economics about how people prefer bundling their losses together instead of having to be “nickel and dimed” as it were over a prolonged period. The issue, in my view, is not that more revenue needs to be raised (the author explicitly says the revenue generated won’t go into the black hole of the city general fund or such). If that were the case, then bundling the costs and their associated disutility together in one yearly lump sum would be much preferred. Here, however, the principal goal of this program is to change behavior. Pricing mechanisms like this work precisely because they are annoying. By making driving and parking downtown more of hassle, it incentivizes people on the margins to switch to other transportation modes (freeing up otherwise used spots), and the pricing mechanism incentivizes people with low valuation for downtown parking spots to use them more sparingly.

          So, what I was trying to argue is that this isn’t really a tax. It is a pricing mechanism to provide more available parking spots in downtown during peak hours. Some people will choose not to go downtown during these hours because they are sufficiently dissuaded from the additional cost of choosing to drive a car there and park. Some, who were previously dissuaded from going because of the lack of available spaces will start to come. The effects on pedestrians and other visitors as well as the behavior changes of the drivers who do decide to park downtown are, of course, impossible to know with certainty, but the available survey data the DPTF used to create this plan indicates that more people will view the increased availability of parking space and reduction of cars circling around looking for one will outweigh the disutility others receive. Time will tell if this data conforms to reality. Using similar pricing mechanisms have had remarkable effects on improving traffic flow in places like London and (recently) Northern Virginia going into D.C. I am quite hopeful this will be a success.

        2. Jeff M

          There are a lot of missing pieces here.

          Davis isn’t London.

          Commercial areas that constrain parking tend to do it because there is an over abundance of non-car-parking-needing paying customers and business that cater to them.  Davis downtown isn’t one of these.  The few people that spend money in Davis are car-driving working professionals… of which there are fewer than most communities our size because we tend to attract more fixed-income seniors and poor students.

          I was in midtown Sac last night for dinner and a show.   Two things interesting.  One… the number of young professionals in the area has exploded and many of them are riding Jump bikes.   Two… K-Street is now back to being open for auto traffic after having been a pedestrian mall.

          From my perspective these are indications for how convenience is a strong motivator to encourage consumers to frequent a shopping area… but also there has to be a connection with the shopping demographic and their habits.

          In other words, Davis isn’t London.

        3. Wesley Sagewalker

          Hi Jeff,

          I think you sort of missed the point of what I was getting at w.r.t. London. That was really just to illustrate how pricing mechanisms can be effective in changing consumer behavior. London’s use of dynamic pricing for tolls was much more about easing traffic congestion. Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned it as I can see how someone might conflate the examples I provided with London and D.C. with the situation in Davis. I certainly agree that Davis isn’t London; in fact, as you note, we are talking about parking availability versus traffic congestion–two very different beasts.

          With that out of the way, I’d like to try to dive into the rest of your response. First, it is very true that the Davis population tends to be bimodally distributed with a large contingent of young students and another peak of older retirees (that missing middle of prime aged workers and families has caused a lot of handwringing over at City Hall with very little done to correct it). I suppose I would question some of the assumptions that are being made in your argument. The first is that the primary driver of commerce downtown is coming from, as you put it, “car-driving working professionals”. If we acknowledge that, proportionately, Davis has a higher distribution of students and seniors and a relative lack of prime age working professionals as compared to the region (a point that the demographic data bears out, in my opinion), and if we also note that Davis, is on average, a wealthier community, then I think we need to take a second look at your characterization. First, I think everyone can agree that students tend to be below-average in income, and due to their relatively high share of the Davis population, this should drag the average Davis income down quite a bit, relatively. Since we have already acknowledged that working professionals make up a proportionately smaller share of Davis than the regional average, then I see only two explanations for Davis being an above-average income community. 1) Either, the working age professionals are earning such high incomes that they compensate for the low incomes of students and retirees which must be weighted by their respective population share, or 2) the retirees are wealthier than you are supposing. It could be a combination of these two, but I suspect that considering the very high share of Davis’ population that consists of 65+ citizens, along with my personal experience, that it is likely that Davis seniors are fairly wealthy. Thus, I question your characterization of the makeup of Davis downtown customers. I would argue that they probably skew older (and perhaps less auto-centric-although that is very conjectural of me) than you are positing.

          I think your point about Midtown Sac and the need to design a shopping area around the customer demographics and their habits/preferences (admittedly something I added to what you said) is spot on. What I take from the survey data provided, however, is that downtown customers who arrive their in cars and non-cars alike seem to be indicating a strong preference for reducing the time and hassle of circling around downtown to find an elusive open parking spot during peak hours. This perhaps shouldn’t surprise us coming from non-driver customers, but the survey data also seems to show that even drivers seem to prefer paying a little money to relieve parking space shortages. That, to me, seems to be a fairly sound basis to be able to claim that this program is, in fact, connecting with the shopping demographic and their habits.

  3. Ken A

    I found this on the ground downtown with a “FIRST DRAFT” stamp on it…

    Is there a change being made by the City to the parking downtown?

    Yes, get ready to pay more…

    On what advice are you creating a new plan?

    To get more money…

    Will parking enforcement hours change as a result of paid parking?

    If we can get more money we will…

    Where will downtown employees park?

    We don’t care, but hope they will pay (or not pay and get tickets so they pay even more)…

    Will paid parking drive customers away from businesses?


    Isn’t paid parking just another tax on downtown visitors?


    Why is the City charging for parking if there are concerns and opposition?

    We need the cash to pay for employee pensions

    Why doesn’t the City just construct more parking?

    It costs a lot of money and as stated above we have to pay more to fund pensions.

    How can I get more information?

    A website for the Downtown Paid Parking/Parking Management Plan can be found at:  https://cityofdavis.org

    How can I voice my comments?

    You can send comments to: junkmail@downtownparking.org


  4. Keith O

    This is really head scratching.  The experts say charging for parking will create open spots (so one can assume less shoppers) but at the same time they say it will create more shoppers.

    hmmmm?  Those spots will be open for some reason, my thinking that’s because there will be less shoppers frequenting downtown.


















    1. Mark West

      Some people claim that ‘Davis is different’ which is why we constantly need to reinvent the wheel everytime we implement some new approach. We can’t just follow what has worked elsewhere because, you know, ‘Davis is different.’  Well, it isn’t. You may want to believe that drivers/shoppers in Davis will act differently than they do everywhere else, but decades of research says they won’t. If we implement paid parking using the current best practices as recommended, then we will see the benefits that have been predicted. If, however, we screw it up and fail to implement all of those best practices (because someone here thinks they know better) then we won’t, and will instead be forced to continue with the currently deteriorating situation.

      1. Ken A

        It looks like Keith and Ron don’t think we will have hundreds of people riding the new JUMP bikes in from Woodland and West Sac to shop in Downtown Davis…

      2. Keith O

        Mark West, I think we already have a thriving downtown.  So maybe “best practice” is don’t try to fix what’s not broken.  But what do I know, I’m just anonymous noise.

        1. Mark West

           Keith O. “I think we already have a thriving downtown.”

          and an $8 million-plus annual deficit with no hope in sight for generating new revenues. Our decisions should be based on how the City needs to evolve to become fiscally sustainable, not how we protect what features you and others like.


        2. Keith O

          So Mark West, are you looking at parking revenue (tax) as a way of closing the $8 million deficit?  Detering people from going downtown to shop because of a new tax is not the way to create more revenue unless they’re looking at the parking fees.

        3. Mark West

          “are you looking at parking revenue (tax) as a way of closing the $8 million deficit?”


          Keith O., where has that idea been offered up as an example of ‘best practices?’ It certainly is not included in anything coming from the City, anything coming out of the parking task force or anything that I have ever written or said on the topic.

          “Detering people from going downtown to shop because of a new tax is not the way to create more revenue unless they’re looking at the parking fees.” [emphasis added]

          I agree, raising the local sales tax as we did recently (and that some are considering raising again) certainly could have a deterrent effect on local buying. However, as far as paid parking is concerned, it is only a personal belief (that you and others obviously share) that it will deter shoppers from going downtown. The research suggests just the opposite, as long as implementation follows current best practices. I trust the research more than I do your beliefs or fears.

          1. Don Shor

            But the research says paid parking will open up parking spots so obviously that must mean less people going downtown to shop. What am I missing here?

            That some people will choose to park in the free parking structures rather than pay to park on the streets downtown. So what it opens up is more parking spots on the streets downtown. At least, that’s how I understand the underlying assumptions.

        4. Mark West

          “But the research says paid parking will open up parking spots so obviously that must mean less people going downtown to shop.  What am I missing here?”

          You are making an inference that the newly available parking spots on each block are an indication of fewer shoppers, but that inference is not supported by the research data. What you are missing therefore is a proper understanding of the results. Don has the gist of it (2:05pm). As prospective shoppers find it easier to park, thus lowering their frustration from circling the block, they tend to return more frequently. Over time that results in greater numbers of shoppers, not fewer as you have assumed.

          One important note is that you cannot simply set the rates once and walk away. Proper management of paid parking involves adjusting the rates to meet the changing demand throughout the day, at various locations, and over time (months). That is one of the challenges of implementing the best practices. Poor management (or improper implementation) could very well make things worse.

        5. Mark West

          Keith O. – When you go shopping, do you typically hang out at a single store for more than two hours? My guess is you might occasionally, but typically you likely park, go inside, get what you need, then leave. Thirty minutes tops. Now if you had a part-time job at that store, it would be quite reasonable for you to park your car, go inside, work your two hours, then leave. In the first case, the parking spot you use is unavailable to others for the thirty minutes you are inside, in the second, it is unavailable for two hours. In the case of the shoppers, four different ‘typical’ shoppers could use that one spot in the amount of time that one employee (or one two-hour shopper) does so. This is a simplified example, but in general, properly managed paid parking creates a disincentive for those looking for multi-hour free storage of their vehicle (often, but not exclusively, employees), while incentivizing those who park, do their business, then leave (often, but not exclusively, shoppers). As a consequence, each space is utilized by more people (for shorter periods of time on average), and since there are free spaces on all block fronts (see ‘best practices’) less time (and fuel) is wasted looking for a spot. Shoppers are happier…and more of them are accommodated by the same number of parking spaces.

        6. Ron

          Mark:  “Now if you had a part-time job at that store, it would be quite reasonable for you to park your car, go inside, work your two hours, then leave.”

          I don’t think so, and I doubt that there’s data to support this conclusion.

          The current 2-hour “free parking” limit works pretty well, for those shopping at more than one store. (In fact, it might not be long enough. Shopping at Davis ACE alone can take longer than 30 minutes, unless you know exactly what you need.)

        7. Mark West

          Ron: “I don’t think so…”

          And there is the crux of the problem, you are basing your argument on what you think should be reasonable rather than on what is in fact happening. Why do you think the City has X permits? To get employees to park their cars in longer-term peripheral locations rather than immediately adjacent to their place of work (and having to move them every two hours), freeing up those close-in spots for customers. This employee two-hour shuffle is a major component of the parking problem downtown. Anyone who spends time there can see the impact on a daily basis. For simplicity, I used a two-hour work shift as an example, but most shifts will be longer (4+ hours) which exacerbates the problem.

        8. Ron

          Mark:  “This employee two-hour shuffle is a major component of the parking problem downtown.”

          It’s possible, but no evidence has been presented to support this statement.

          If I were working downturn (or faced with a similar situation), I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t go through this kind of hassle every 2 hours, everyday. (Assuming that I could even take a break, when I needed to move my vehicle. Generally, employees may not have that much control over their time, or ability to leave work.) If I was faced with this situation, I’d try to park farther away, in a location without 2-hour restrictions.

          1. Don Shor

            It’s possible, but no evidence has been presented to support this statement.

            Believe it or not, this has actually been observed and employee parking behavior has been a consideration in all of the parking subcommittees and plans over the last few decades here.

            If I was faced with this situation, I’d try to park farther away, in a location without 2-hour restrictions.

            Unless you were running late. More to the point, it really doesn’t matter what you think you would do. Employee parking on downtown streets is known to be a supply factor.

        9. Ron

          Don:  “Believe it or not, this has actually been observed . . .”

          Then let’s see the proof/evidence, in the form of actual data/results.  (This is the third time that I’ve noted the apparent lack thereof. Anecdotal observations are not of much use.)

          Also, how do we actually know who will be more “price sensitive” to paid parking?  (Employees, or customers?  Especially if time limits are lengthened.)

          What, exactly, are the options that employees currently have?  And, if they’re not taking advantage of it, what is the reason? And, how do we know if the proposal will actually address that reason?

        10. Ron

          Thanks for the 96-page document.

          I might look it over more carefully, but I immediately noticed this:

          “While it is not known what percentage of the downtown parking supply is occupied by commuters throughout the day . . .”

          In any case, I’m curious as to the option that the X-permit provides for employees, regarding time limits/locations. I haven’t yet seen a summary regarding that, but might keep looking in the document. (I’m assuming that the 90-minutes that’s mentioned doesn’t apply, if one has a permit.)

          1. David Greenwald

            Unfortunately, because of the Tim Spencer Alley construction, I know the x-permit system quite well. Most of downtown is off-limits for the use of x-permits. You can always park for two hours and move your car, but there are only certain places where you can park all day and most of that is off the main routes and towards the edges of downtown or in the lots.

  5. John D


    Lol.  Thanks for sharing…….

    The thinking seems to be that by charging for parking, it will result in more spaces available in Downtown because people who are price sensitive (presumably like some employees and and shoppers) will simply choose to park “elsewhere” that is free.  What it will mean to those living or operating businesses in those areas is another topic.

    Of course, this all assumes that there is sufficient “elsewhere” (like adjacent neighborhoods and problematic X permit spaces) that will attract the more price sensitive.  It also assumes that the employees would be price sensitive to a $.50 or $1.00 charge and would change behavior accordingly.  By the way, has anybody taken a survey of the Downtown employees on this very issue?  That is, has anybody reached out them – explaining the goal of relocating their cars at their expense in order to make more Downtown spaces available – seeking their input on where they will be expected to relocate?

    Concerning the statistics, Staff may know, but to date the larger community hasn’t seen any accurate count of employee parking (even though the City has now had the technology in place long enough that we should accurately know the durations and reparking statistics).   Who’s to say that a $.50 rate wouldn’t result in more employees opting in for paid parking and not change the dynamics in any meaningful count (since the premise seems to be that once we chase out the employees from parking Downtown there will be plenty of space available)?

    Bottom line, there isn’t any more new capacity being proposed (the repaving of the Regal lot actually results in fewer cars being  able to fit on the lot) – unless you count more overflow spaces in the neighborhoods.  Likewise, there isn’t any new beefed up Public Transit solution being proposed nor any budget for it. All we can seem to do is talk about alternative transit modes.

    So, you’re right.   If it’s not a new tax on frequent Downtown shoppers (who studies show are predominantly – 75-80% by the latest study – comprised of local Davis residents and UCD students) – then what is?

    And, if its such a good idea, and helps drive additional business to a Downtown, then why haven’t Downtown Palo Alto, Downtown La Jolla, Downtown Carmel, Downtown Petaluma and Downtown Sonoma all adopt a similar strategy by now?

    1. Jeff M

      And, if its such a good idea, and helps drive additional business to a Downtown, then why haven’t Downtown Palo Alto, Downtown La Jolla, Downtown Carmel, Downtown Petaluma and Downtown Sonoma all adopt a similar strategy by now?

      This is exactly the right question.

      Either the people pushing these ideas are more brilliant than the planners and leaders in every other community worth modeling, or they are mistaken in their feeling of elite thinker confidence (they don’t know what they don’t know), or they have a hidden agenda (knowing that it won’t help downtown business, but it will reduce the number of cars and people in their little village square).

      I think it is a combination of #2 and #3.

      1. John D


        Sorry, but I couldn’t help thinking about the hugely dystopian family experienced earlier this week as we circled down into the subterranean parking structure below Apple’s World Visitor Center in Cupertino.

        The whole experience was like, extraterrestrial.  Seriously, all I could think about was Shoup’s highly acclaimed book “The High Cost of FREE Parking”.   And just to be clear, there was no charge for parking as the helpful attendant waived us through the entrance and into the cavern below.  Fortunately, we found a space on the second level – saving us from a journey into level 3.

        So, here we are at Apple Headquarters (a mere 70 mile commute by car from Davis) and being welcomed into a FREE, underground parking structure (can you imagine how much that must have cost per space, with all the attendant HVAC to maintain air quality?)    Don’t you think Apple could have charged $5 if they wanted to – particularly considering the value of the message?

        You really should think about this issue:  How much could Apple reduce the cost of its I-Phones and I-Phablets if it simply charged visitors for parking at its new campus?   I mean, how better to convey the message that individuals who choose to operate powered, personal transportation vehicles really should be required to pay a fee?   Just imagine how Apple really could be changing the World?

        I just don’t get it.  Maybe I should be asking the question of just how can the City’s transportation consultants – who helped Apple justify building hugely expensive, auto-centric parking structures – be encouraging the half-broke City of Davis to impose a parking charge on the very residents and visitors who choose to take their time, endure the circulation challenges, and  support the Downtown with their hard-earned shopping dollars?

        I mean, if it’s good enough for Apple to provide FREE parking to its employees and visitors alike – why shouldn’t Davis be following that same model?

        Doesn’t it seem kind of backwards to you that these same consultants would be encouraging us to charge – just for the privilege of visiting and maybe spending some money in Downtown Davis? In the end, I guess it is kind of hard to blame the consultants, when – after all – they are only doing what the City requested.

        Particularly after this visit, and while t seems difficult to imagine, but maybe the answer does lie closer to your observation #3?

        1. Mark West

          John D –


          Let’s take a look at the community members who made up the DOWNTOWN PARKING TASK FORCE back in 2013/14.


          Jennifer Anderson

          Michael Bisch

          Cliff Contreras, ex-officio (UC Davis TAPS)

          Robb Davis

          Sara Granda

          Amanda Kimball, Vice-Chair

          Alzada Knickerbocker

          Matt Kowta, Chair

          Rosalie Paine

          Steve Tracy

          Johannes Troost

          Lynne Yackzan


          These are the individuals who worked for roughly a year studying all the data and listened to all of the input, then voted unanimously to make a series of recommendations to the City Council, the first of which was:

          1. Establish paid parking in Southeast Quadrant

          Tell me John D., please, which of those individuals do you believe has or had a ‘hidden agenda?’

        2. Ken A

          It is about 70 miles to SF, the Apple campus in Cupertino is well over 100 miles from Davis. Apple does not need to charge for parking since they get a large number of families to pay close to $1K each for new phones every couple years and pass the old phones down to the kids (a smaller number of even richer families buys everyone in the family a new Apple phone and laptop every couple years)…

  6. John D


    From my perspective, each of the participants had an agenda and set of priorities they sought to address through the work of the committee.  I don’t see there were any hidden agendas in the positions advocated by the individual members.   All of their comments and votes are recorded in the accompanying documents.

    As I hope you would know, the list of recommendations shown in Don’s attachment from the city (March 2914) is not reflective of any priority for implementation of the identified tasks.   In other words, the committee never came to agreement on a ranking or a sequence of prioritization for the recommendations – as such they remained a list of potential tools with paid parking being one of the most obvious tools.

    Following issuance of the recommendations, in a meeting of the City Council Meeting on March 24, 2014 (if memory serves), the elements were ranked and prioritized for implementation by City Staff.   Implementation of Paid Parking was reordered to a Stage 2 status – with the tacit understanding that the more achievable elements contained in Stage 1 would be allowed to unfold with the results informing the balance of the program.  Later that Fall (2014) the final sequence of tasks was issued and adopted.

    The overt omission of this history, together with a more detailed report on the the abysmal failure to execute on the Key Priority One tasks, is more than noteworthy.

    There are many ways to subvert an agenda and guarantee its failure – withholding of funding and necessary staffing resources are but two.

    Perhaps there is no hidden agenda, but deliberate omission and failure to fully disclose all relevant history are two of the classic hallmarks of what some might describe as forming the basis for hidden agendas.

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