Hitting the beach this summer may more costly than years past.
San Diego may charge for parking at beaches, regional parks and bays as part of a deficit reducing measure.
An Independent Budget Analyst (IBA) report cited beach parking revenue as the top recommendation to increase revenue in its budget. Members of the council contributed to the report.
So far, the details of who will be charged – residents, nonresidents or both – are undefined, said Stephen Hill, senior policy advisor for Councilman Todd Gloria. Councilmembers expect to discuss the idea at a budget committee hearing next week. The Council voted down a similar idea in 2005.
Councilmembers Gloria and Kevin Faulconer are opposed to the suggested measure.
Many San Diego residents believe that asking for payment at beaches is discriminatory and that beachgoers seek parking elsewhere, disturbing nearby neighborhoods.
“California already charges enough for parking. There isn’t going to be anything left for free,” said Emelee Baldwin, a San Diego resident.
Even charging a few dollars for parking would deter people from coming to the beach, said Lee Hutchison from San Diego.
However many are still willing to pay a small fee to enjoy the beaches – especially those from out of town who are accustomed to paying for parking, said Emmanuelle Gabay, a visitor from Canada.
“We pay for parking everywhere we go. It’s annoying, but I don’t even think about it anymore,” Gabay said.
Business owners agree that paid parking would be a small price to pay, and that people would still come to the beach and spend money at the boardwalk even if they had to pay, said Erez Atava, owner of Zo-zo’s Pizza in Belmont Park.
In the failed 2005 measure, the city would have only charged non-residents. This, in addition to the available resources for the parking plan, will be discussed next week.
A separate IBA report notes that for the 2011 fiscal year, the police department projects a $1.6 million shortfall in Parking Citation revenues. The police department attributed this shortfall to a lack of parking enforcement officers on duty.
A spokesperson from Councilmember Faulconer’s office said that the city does not have enough money to police resident and non-resident parking.