Parking rates to increase in Pismo Beach

Posted at 2:07 PM, Jun 07, 2018

Summer is almost here and if you’re planning on heading to the beach, it’s about to get a little bit pricier to park in Pismo Beach.

Beginning Monday, it’ll cost $2 an hour to park in the lot by the pier, up now from $1 an hour.

The current rates will still apply elsewhere but it’ll be more of a walk.

Come next week, this will mark the first fee increase on parking in about five years.

"I’m actually shocked and appalled because I remember when you didn’t have to pay at all," said local resident Carla McAlister.

The seaside town is a popular tourist spot with special events nearly every weekend.

"It’s chaos," said Steven Thurston, who was born and raised in Pismo Beach. "Traffic gets gridlocked this way, this way, people are trying to go across the street."

With so many people, it’s no wonder parking is a premium.

A recent parking study in the city recommended increasing prices in those prime areas close to the sand.

"For folks looking for better pricing, they’re only going to need to go two or three blocks out but this will also help get some of these lots like the one we’re standing in today a little more utilized," said Chief Jake Miller of the Pismo Beach Police Department.

There are four "pay to park" lots in downtown. Enforcement begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. daily.

On Monday, the pier lot and the street parking west of Dolliver will be bumped up to $2 an hour.

"I mean it’s doubling the price, which is kind of crazy, but I mean for convenience I’ll still pay it," tourist Terra Walker said.

Despite the other three lots staying at $1 an hour, others agree they’ll shell out the extra cash.

"I’ll still park here. I bring my parents and my mom has a handicap pass." McAlister added.

Whether or not this will work, only time will tell… 

"The increase may have a small effect but the parking lots tend to be filled by 11 o’clock in the morning, every busy day all summer long, so I don’t know how raising the rates is going to help the lack of spaces," Thurston concluded.

The mayor says that the pier is set to be completed by the end of this year, so more spots will also become available when that happens.

There’s also a free parking lot that was recently redone on Addie Street.

Police will be enforcing the new rates with different color receipts depending on the rate you pay.

The chief says that "pay for parking" generates about $500,000 a year. The money is used for the upkeep of the current lots, which include repaving projects.