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Unlimited free parking in downtown Paso Robles could be a thing of the past

Posted at 10:48 PM, Jun 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-20 01:48:12-04

Unlimited free parking could be on the way out in downtown Paso Robles where there are more employees than parking spaces. 

The city now wants to free up some of those spaces for visitors, but it might come at a cost. 
 
City officials say employees who park in front of stores take away spots from potential customers. 

"It’s a problem with some of our downtown businesses where they have employees there eight hours a day and they come and take up downtown spaces and that’s not good for business," said Elissa Williams, Remaxx Parkside Real Estate Business Manager.
 
Parking sometimes overflows to residential streets.

On Tuesday, the city council discussed a 2018 Downtown Parking Action Plan to better manage the spots they already have before adding any new ones.

"Then we will segway into adding spaces and we can add some surface lots, we can share parking with some existing businesses," said Tom Frutchey, Paso Robles City Manager. "Even if those aren’t successful, fully successful, that’s when we’ll build a parking garage. "
 
The city wants to start by putting time limits on free parking and if that doesn’t work, they will consider paid meters. 
 
The owner of the Park Cinemas 9 in Paso Robles says limiting visitor parking time could pose a burden on the city and his customers. 
 
"People go to the movies, they go to dinner, the get ice cream or the candy store, have coffee and the reality is four hours or perhaps more," said John Roush, President of Central Coast Cinemas and DBA.

The action plan also includes adding employee and residential parking permits.

"If we didn’t have this challenge, then we would have no business, so it’s a good challenge to have," Williams added.
 
If the city does implement paid parking, the money from the meters will go into the city’s budget. 

The city council will meet again on Wednesday, June 20, to continue discussing the plan and welcomes feedback from the community.