The city needs to charge more to help to pay for new garages, signs and security, a new report suggests.
Raising the cost of parking in downtown Riverside starting next year could bring in more than $500,000 annually to make parking safer and more convenient, a new city report says.
Increasing the cost of Festival of Lights parking, boosting the hourly cost at most downtown meters and cutting the length of free parking in city garages are among the recommendations.
The report will be discussed Monday, Dec. 12, by the council’s land use committee, which would recommend any fee changes to the City Council.
The city’s parking program pays for itself through charges for garage and street parking as well as fines.
But as garages deteriorate and street parking and surface lots disappear due to development, more money is needed to pay for new parking meters and better security and signs, a new garage and maintenance of old ones, the report states.
The report is based on input from downtown residents, businesses and a consultant.
Riverside owns about 4,300 parking spaces downtown in four public garages, 15 lots and spots on streets. Parking prices haven’t gone up since 2010.
The report suggests that costs increase over two years, starting in April. The suggestions include:
• Reducing free parking in garages from 90 minutes to 60 minutes.
• Increasing the daily maximum charge in garages from $8 to $10.
• Charging until 6 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. near the justice center, and raising rates by 50 cents an hour at meters in other areas.
• Charging a $5 flat rate in the evening Thursday through Saturday, when parking is now free.
• Setting Festival of Lights parking at $10, up from the current $5.
• Offering discounted permits for part-time, minimum wage earners who work downtown.
Costlier parking may not be the most important issue for some.
“Our clients get upset that there’s no parking,” Riverside Art Museum Executive Director Drew Oberjuerge said. As long as people can park near the museum, “I don’t necessarily foresee a huge challenge with a price increase.”
She was glad to hear the report mentions the area near the museum as one of two places suggested for a new parking garage. The other was the justice center.
Councilman Mike Gardner, who represents downtown, said he’s interested in talking about how the price of street parking relates to the charge for garage spots. If street spaces cost a little more, it may help keep them free for people stopping to shop or eat lunch, while those planning to stay longer will use the garages, he said.
Downtown Riverside parking fees may rise to help pay for more security, better signs and new garages.
Suggestions: Charging a flat $5 for evening parking Thursdays through Saturdays, reducing free garage parking from 90 minutes to 60 minutes, raising the charge at most meters from $1 to $1.50 an hour.
Why: Parking fees and fines won’t cover new parking, up-to-date meters and better signs that are planned.
What’s next: The council’s land use committee will discuss parking costs at 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12, at 3900 Main St., Riverside.