This is great.  The State of California is going to force the city of Santa Barbara to do the right thing—sell its parking lots.

“In a move that could dramatically change the future of downtown parking and the rates charged to visitors, the city might have to sell all of its downtown parking lots, the latest fallout from the loss of its redevelopment agency.

A trailer bill released as part of the governor’s May revise states that parking garages or lots owned by RDAs must be disposed of, as part of the dissolution of statewide redevelopment agencies.

As a practical matter, the move could mean the loss of free 75-minute parking downtown and the private market controlling parking rates.”

Wow, getting government out of the parking lot business may create a free market for parking—what would happen to socialism of the parking structures?

Wrong reason, right policy.  The role of government is not to provide parking lots—it is to protect.

CA News & Views

 

SANTA BARBARA’S BIG PARKING PROBLEM: State may force city to sell all of its downtown parking lots, killing free 75-minute

By JOSHUA MOLINA Daily Sound, 5/29/12

In a move that could dramatically change the future of downtown parking and the rates charged to visitors, the city might have to sell all of its downtown parking lots, the latest fallout from the loss of its redevelopment agency.

A trailer bill released as part of the governor’s May revise states that parking garages or lots owned by RDAs must be disposed of, as part of the dissolution of statewide redevelopment agencies.

As a practical matter, the move could mean the loss of free 75-minute parking downtown and the private market controlling parking rates.

The state late last year ordered the shutdown of all redevelopment agencies. The state at the time estimated that the shutdown of the RDAs would result in an immediate $1.7 billion and up to $400 million annually after that to help California balance its multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

Santa Barbara takes in about $4.3 million annually in revenue from its downtown parking lots.

The city and business leaders began to build the parking lots and develop an overall downtown parking plan as a response to the growth of La Cumbre Plaza on outer State Street in the 1970s.

The removal of angled parking on State Street and the construction of the garages has long been seen as the catalyst for downtown’s rapid growth and revitalization.

“Taking those lots and garages away could be the beginning of the end in terms of any prosperity of retail or theaters or anything downtown,” said Santa Barbara City Councilman Randy Rowse, the owner of the Paradise Cafe and a longtime president of the city’s Downtown Parking Committee.

Paul Casey, the city’s Assistant City Administrator, and Mayor Helene Schneider are sending letters to the state Department of Finance and local lawmakers.

“This is huge for us,” Casey said. “Our parking is the foundation of our downtown. We are hoping that Das Williams and Tony Strickland will assist us in getting this language removed from the trailer bill.”

Read Helene Schneider’s letter to Das Williams here.

In a letter to Assemblyman Das Williams, Schneider said “I cannot express to you in strong enough terms how much we object to this.”

Williams, who served seven years on the Santa Barbara City Council before he was elected to the state Assembly, told The Daily Sound on Tuesday afternoon that he plans to back Casey and the city’s position on the matter.

“To me, the Department of Finance wanting to take the value of parking lots . . . would be over the line,” Williams said. ”I have supported every measure to use RDA funds to help schools, but not with existing, already built assets that are vital to our economy, our city and the region.”

The city maintains nine parking lots and five parking structures with a total of over 3,000 parking stalls that serve more than 5 million vehicles a year. The parking lot at Paseo Nuevo Mall is the largest privately run lot, but the city has an agreement with the owners to keep rates the same as the city’s public lots.

Rowse said there’s no way a private developer could manage those lots as well as the city.

“I don’t know how anyone would be able to run those lots and not have to charge tenfold more than the city charges,” Rowse said.

 

Previous Post

Next Post

Got something to say? Post a comment.

 
By posting you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy