Starting in May, drivers who park in metered spaces in Hillcrest will notice a significant change: enforcement hours of parking meters will be shifting by two hours.
There are more than 700 meters enforced between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. in Hillcrest right now.
Starting May 1, enforcement times will shift two hours later, moving to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“This should help businesses, this should create parking availability for those coming, hoping to visit Hillcrest, this should also make it easier for residents to find parking,” said Marc Marconi, with the Uptown Community Parking District.
Signs informing drivers of the change are already up, but enforcement will not start until May 1. There will be a 30-day grace period for the month of April. Drivers who fail to feed the meters after 6 p.m. in April will be issued a warning violation.
The move is being made in hopes of increasing traffic for businesses. The concern is that drivers were putting money in the meter at 4 p.m. and then staying four to six hours. The time change is expected to increase turnover, and the bottom line for business owners.
“We’ve got information that about 20 percent of the traffic on streets of Hillcrest are people looking for parking. So if those 20 percent at that hour could find parking, we could see a pretty dramatic increase. 20 percent wouldn’t be unreasonable,” said Benjamin Nicholls, Director of the Hillcrest Business Association.
Right now, money taken from the meters is split between the City of San Diego and Hillcrest community. After administration fees, the City of San Diego gets 55 percent of the money and Hillcrest gets 45 percent.
Marconi says last year, Hillcrest took in approximately $400,000. The money was re-invested into the community.
But some visitors aren’t real happy about the change.
“If you’re going to charge money for people to park while we’re trying to go to dinner, that takes away from what money we could be spending at the restaurants,” said Steve Stockman.
Marconi played down the notion that the plan is an effort to make more money off the parking meters.
“I, frankly, can’t tell you if this is going to raise or lose us money. What this will do, is help with business turnover, help spur the local economy, and help Hillcrest in general, getting more people in here,” said Marconi.