After hearing from residents, Paso Robles is looking at a few options to ease parking and traffic problems downtown.
Dozens of people showed up for a community meeting Monday night to share their ideas.
Right now, finding a parking spot in downtown Paso Robles is no fun.
“It takes sometimes 10-15 minutes to find a parking spot,” said resident Maria.
For employees, it’s a daily struggle.
“When it comes to the afternoon, it becomes packed, so there is not enough parking at all,” said Ryan Mort, who works downtown for a window cleaning company.
Some local shop owners said the problem is pushing potential customers — and their money — away.
“They’ll drive around looking for parking space and if they don’t find any, they don’t come to the restaurant,” said Carole MacDonal, a business owner in downtown.
In an attempt to fix the problem, the city hired a parking consultant to draft a plan.
At Monday’s meeting, a wide range of ideas was shared, everything from parking-space time limits to parking meters to a parking garage.
“The real consistent message that we heard was addressing employee parking and the concrete associated with that and improving signage. I think those are two things we can definitely ratchet to the top of the list,” explained Julie Dixon, the parking consultant.
Downtown workers said they consistently have to park about three blocks away from work. Chloe Atkins is happy assigned employee parking may be part of the plan.
“It’s actually kind of sketchy. It is really dark out and we don’t have many street lights, so parking at the far end, it is not very comfortable,” said Atkins.
A few people who aren’t really for the parking meters said the free downtown parking is what makes Paso Robles unique.
Shuttles and incentives for people to use other ways to get to downtown were also mentioned. All the ideas and studies will be presented Tuesday to the city council and topics such as where the money will come from will also be discussed.