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Downtown Paso Robles parking won't change after City Council vote

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Posted at 9:17 PM, Apr 09, 2022

The future of parking in Downtown Paso Robles was discussed during a special meetingin Paso Robles Saturday. The meeting took almost three hours for city officials to make a decision on parking fees.

Although they held the meeting on Saturday to be able to receive more public input, only a handful of community members voiced their opinions.  

 The City Council voted 3-2 in favor of keeping parking rates as they are with the first two hours free and $1 per hour after that.

The proposed change to parking in Downtown Paso Robles was prompted by employees of businesses in the area taking up nearby parking spots.

Changes to this program included getting rid of the free parking and charging $2 per hour from the start.

One community member voiced their concern of people from outside the city limits not wanting to come into downtown if they had to pay for parking.

“Right now, any program, including the senior program, is telling those people to do what they’re going to do elsewhere, not in Paso Robles," said the community member.

Some other concerns brought up by council members were about the data presented to them.

“I feel like I’m not getting enough information to be able to make a change on that today," said councilmember Maria Gracia.

Initial revenue numbers provided to the City did not include parking citations, something city officials say they wanted to see included.

Downtown Parking Commissioner John Roush was asked to resign his position as part of the parking advisory commission for the remainder of the meeting due to a conflict of interest but gave public comment about the topic.

“Then we get hit with the city wanting to charge $2 per hour, this is frightening and completely unexpected. We must ask ourselves what’s next? Is it going to be $3 per hour? $4 per hour?" said Roush.

He said increasing parking fees would affect moviegoers who now get three free hours of parking.

Other council members said it’s time to reduce free parking time.

“I think the first step is to start reducing free time to maybe one or maybe two this year, next year change it again and maybe increase rates," said council member John Hamon.

Other possible solutions for parking were brought up during the meeting with a major push for a parking structure. The item will be revisted by the council in six months.