Free Parking Sundays May Soon Expire

By Rory Devine
|  Monday, Mar 30, 2009  |  Updated 1:23 PM PDT
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Free Parking Sundays May Soon Expire

Motorists might have to feed the meters for a longer time until 2 a.m. instead of just 6 p.m.

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Free Parking Sundays May Soon Expire

A proposal will cost motorists more by making them feed the meters longer.
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A proposal to change how much and how often to feed parking meters in the city of San Diego has residents talking and asking why.

Under the proposal, which goes before the City Council Monday,  the days of free parking on Sundays could expire. Motorists  might have to feed the meters for a longer time, until 2 a.m. instead of 6 p.m.  Plus, instead of the flat $1.25 an hour, the hourly rate could range from fifty cents to three dollars, depending upon the location.

The city could increase its revenue from parking from 7.6 million dollars a year to 16 million a year.

Some residents in the Gaslamp Quarter said they understood the need for the city to increase revenue. 

"We're in a recession, I mean,  almost a depression, the city has to get money somehow," said Jeff Vautour from Mission Valley.

But others say they are "going to nickel and dime us to death." Tourist Damien Smith fears "restaurants will suffer, the sales taxes will be affected and the amount of money they collect in parking on Sunday,  they'll lose in sales taxes."  Smith says, "it's a bad trade off, and they should re-think it."

Others, like Scott Schwartz, who lives downtown, says he parks on the street after six at night.  He fears he would have to get up in the middle of the night to feed the meter.

Mike Vogl, who has been involved with the plan for the city, says " the point is to make parking more available, and less costly in some areas."  He also said, a yes vote tomorrow does not mean all meters in every location would be bound by the changes.  It would depend upon the usage. Time limits would vary. The meters would be replaced with those having the option to take credit cards and reduce the need to look for change.   

A decision is not expected. Monday's council meeting is just the beginning of the process. Also on the agenda is a proposed 25 percent pay increase for council members.

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