Expect to pay more to park in downtown San Luis Obispo. The city council has approved rate increases that will affect parking meters, parking structures and parking tickets.
The first parking rate hike will go into effect January 1, 2018. It will cost 25 cents more per hour to park at parking meters and in parking structures. Another 25-cent increase will take effect in 2020.
"Parking is one of those programs where you need to keep consistent increases to keep up with need," said Scott Lee, parking services manager for San Luis Obispo.
The last rate increase was approved in 2011 and the city says a new increase is long overdue.
Parking in the core of downtown will go from $1.50 per hour to $1.75 next year, then increase to $2.00 in 2020.
Monthly parking rates will bump from $40 this year, to $60 next year to $80 in 2019 and then $90 in 2020.
Getting busted in an expired meter will cost you $40 in the future compared to $33 now.
"Obviously, I'm not going to want to spend more money, but we are a tourist attraction so people are going to come downtown and pay it regardless," said San Luis Obispo resident Tyler Walter.
The city says the growth in tourism is causing congestion, making finding parking in the city tougher.
"I avoid the congestion altogether. I don't mind walking, therefore I do park father away," said San Luis Obispo resident Travis Storrer.
The number of downtown parking spots will also dwindle in the coming years due to parklets, business expansion and bike lanes. That's why the city plans to build a 400-space parking structure at Nipomo and Palm streets, which is set to break ground in 2019 at the cost of about $24 million.
"It's kind of out there but it's a logical area where a lot of redevelopment in the neighborhood and therefore having a structure to support that growth will handle that capacity," Lee said.
The new parking structure is projected to be complete in the year 2021.
The other three parking structures in the city now accept credit cards and the plan is to eventually make all parking meters credit-card friendly as well.