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Downtown San Luis Obispo business utilizing parking validation to attract customers

Posted at 5:21 PM, Jul 08, 2024

If you park in downtown San Luis Obispo, you'll notice rates are now lower but the first hour of parking in downtown structures is no longer free.

However, as one gate closes, another opens. While the first hour of free parking at the gated parking structures on Palm Street and Morro Street is no longer free, 15-year local business HumanKind Fair Trade is changing that by offering one free hour of parking in those structures for July. The promotion is for customers who are store club members and buy something from their store.

Store manager LynAnne Wiest explained that with the reduced parking rates, the city also reduced the cost for these validation tickets from $2 to $1.

“That makes it more accessible to us as a business to be able to purchase those and offer them to our customers,” she said.

The hope is that customers and shoppers become more inclined to come downtown to shop and not worry about also paying for parking.

“I live in Grover Beach, which is not that far from here, and I'd be more likely to come more often,” Bev Ward said when asked whether she'd come downtown more to shop if other businesses offered parking validation for the first hour.

According to the City of San Luis Obispo, validation tickets have been available to local businesses for a number of years but only seven currently give out parking validation tickets to customers. All businesses can offer parking validation to customers and employees.

“I've been talking to several other businesses that are thinking about some new promotions similar to this," Wiest said. "So there's several other local shops that have something in the works.”

Wiest added that although the promotion runs through July, depending on how well it does, they could look to do it again and more often.

“It has really made a difference in the accessibility for businesses like ours to be able to purchase those tickets,” she said.

The parking validation program extends to community members who show up to a public city council or city advisory body as of July 8, 2024. They will receive one free hour of parking at the 919 Palm Street Garage or the 871 Marsh Street Parking Garage. Complimentary parking validation does not apply to street parking.