Port of San Diego Mulls Changes to Parking Rates, Spaces

The goal is to manage port parking slightly below market average, according to the proposal presented to the Port of San Diego on Tuesday.

parking meter bayfront
Steven Luke

The Port of San Diego will consider changes to public parking along the waterfront that could result in millions of dollars in increased revenue over five years, according to a preliminary report presented to board members this week.

Just 34 percent of parking spaces supervised by the port is free. If the Port of San Diego were to approve a change in how rates were assigned to current metered spaces or paid lots, revenue could grow from $14 million in 2016 to $20 million in 2020, according to a business plan presented to the board Wednesday.

“We want to get more intelligent about what the profitability is for each individual space,” said port consultant Ken Wallis.

The Navy Pier, the most lucrative parking area for the Port, currently charges $10 for 12 hours of parking. At $.83 per hour, those spaces charge less than half of what it costs to park on the street, according to Wallis.

By setting parking rates slightly below market average, he suggested the Port could offer reasonably priced public parking that would be competitive with other lots and garages.

An Environmental Health Coalition representative asked the board to carefully consider whether to add pay meters to Cesar Chavez Park in Barrio Logan.

“The Barrio Logan community has very limited access to the waterfront,” said Joy Williams who added that for decades, people have parked for free on surface streets in that community.

She suggested the public be allowed input into any change to parking rates in the area.

There was also discussion of improving notification of empty spaces.

“With the use of technology, we could help reduce drive times for people looking for available parking spaces,” Wallis suggested.

The investment needed for renovations would range from $112,000 to $1.3 million, according to the discussion on Wednesday.

No decision was made at Tuesday's meeting.  Results from a North Embarcadero Parking Study will be presented to board members in March.  Also, a real time traffic counter will provide data on the parking problems in the area.

Once those are presented, the board will discuss if they want to go forward with public outreach of the proposal.

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