New Gaslamp Quarter Parking Plan

Aimed at Unsnarling 5th Ave. Traffic

There's a new parking scheme coming to San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter -- targeting Friday and Saturday nights along 5th Avenue.

Anybody’s who’s been down there then, you know what a madhouse traffic can be.

The remedial plan is called an "active loading zone." 

On those party nights between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m., parking will be restricted to three minutes for dropping off and picking up passengers.

Any longer stop invites a ticket. 

And from 7 p.m. on, tow trucks could arrive on the scene. 

”You know, all this parking on either side of the street is not moving after 8 p.m.,” says Michael Trimble, executive director of the Gaslamp Quarter Assn. which spearheaded the measure. 

“Now (once the plan takes effect) it frees up all that parking so people can drop off,” Trimble told NBC 7 in an interview Tuesday. “We're talking about Uber and Lyft and limos and party buses that can get to right in front of all these establishments without any problems whatsoever." 

Gaslamp Quarter executives, hospitality and business establishments have been working on the weekend parking plan for more than a year. 

And Tuesday afternoon, it was approved by the City Council, to roll out in early summer with a grace period for a public information campaign and installation of signs. 

First responders are said to welcome the idea because their vehicles so often have been delayed in getting to emergencies. 

Will the scheme scare people away? 

Not if they're serious Gaslamp-goers, the thinking goes. 

There’s a feeling that a lot of folks will carpool with a designated driver-slash-parker who'll drop the others off and find free space or paid parking a few blocks away. 

“I'm okay with that,” says Scott Fisk, sales director for Pacific Magazine. “Sometimes my wife isn't, because she'd rather we walk as a family or together. But I don't see an issue. I know the Gaslamp well, I know where to go and where to park. And I'd rather her not walk -- especially with heels." 

In passing the "active loading zone" setup, the Council for good measure also extended the hours of several other tow-away zones -- also, mostly downtown, to the 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. time frame.

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