The City Council of Ventura, population 107,000, voted Jan.25 to charge for parking on the busiest downtown streets, with revenue returned to the downtown for improvements and construction of additional parking facilities if necessitated. The aim is to keep 85% vacancy by varying the rates. Residential Parking Permit districts will also be enacted.
"People would be required to pay $1 for the first hour and $1.50 for every additional hour on both sides of Main Street. Initially, all city lots and its parking structure would remain free.
The goal would be 85 percent occupancy, (city Transportation Manager Tom) Mericle said, meaning there should always be one or two spaces available for visitors. If the number of people parking downtown drops precipitously, the parking fees could be lowered. If the fees have little effect, they could be raised.
The hours for paid parking would be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays."
From Mayor Fulton's blog: Managing Parking Downtown:
"By creating a system of paid parking, time limits, and residential permit parking, we can free up spaces along Main Street and elsewhere for people who are only going to be there a short time (or are willing to pay money to park there), while encouraging other folks to park in the lots and garages, which are free.
One of the big fears is that people won't want to pay the parking fee, so they won't park in the spaces, and businesses downtown will suffer. But the paid parking system we're buying allows us to adjust the parking fee to meet the market demand. Our goal is to have, on average, 85% of the parking spaces used, with 15% vacant.
Once in place, we should be able to manage parking much better than now; and you'll have the choice of paying to park in an extremely convenient location or walking a little bit to park for free."
[Note reader comments at end of blog. Mayor Fulton responds to some of them].