Santa Cruz, Calif., Votes to Install Variable-Pricing Smart Parking Meters Downtown

The Santa Cruz, Calif., City Council opted to spend $98,500 on a new smart meter parking system, while also deciding to shelve plans on setting height restrictions for vehicles parked downtown, for now.

by Jessica A. York, Santa Cruz Sentinel / April 26, 2018

(TNS) — SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. — Backing away from a both legally and politically murky proposal, the Santa Cruz, Calif., City Council opted Tuesday to shelve plans to set height restrictions on vehicles parked downtown, for now.

Instead, the council moved forward with the first of two approvals needed to enact “performance priced” parking meter rates and install a new $98,500 smart meter parking system on Pacific Ave. Rates could fluctuate from the existing $1-an-hour rate to as much as $5-an-hour, according to the ordinance’s language.

Parking Program Manager Marlin Granlund told the council rates could also dip, likely in the 8-11 a.m. slot, to 75 cents for an hour, and generally increase up to $1.50.

The ordinance’s initially proposed height restriction would have kept vehicles taller than 6 feet in height, except emergency, commercial/mail delivery and construction vehicles, off Pacific Ave. and its side streets. Councilmembers Chris Krohn and Sandy Brown said they were interested in data on how many vehicles this would affect, while Councilwomen Cynthia Mathews and Cynthia Chase agreed there was less clarity with the height restrictions than the metering change provisions. In the audience, Downtown Association Director Chip told the council that businesses can be greatly affected by tall vehicles parked in front of them, blocking sight lines for prospective customers.

Follow Your Heart Action Network founder Curtis Reliford, a downtown regular, often solicits donations for his charitable work in front of a large truck. Reliford spoke out against the proposed changes, saying they would affect his efforts.

The item may return during an undetermined future council meeting.

The proposed ordinance originated from concerns aired in November during a meeting with the Downtown Association and the Downtown Management Corp., and was endorsed last month by the city Downtown Commission. Tuesday’s hearing on the ordinance was the first of two council approvals needed before a law can go on the books.

©2018 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.