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San Mateo seeks fix for traffic jams
June 11, 2013, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal Finding parking in the downtown core of San Mateo can be difficult in the early afternoons. The city is undertaking a long-term plan to improve parking conditions in the area.

Public parking in downtown San Mateo is generally below the practical capacity of 85 percent occupancy, meaning finding a spot should not be too difficult unless you are looking to park in the “downtown core” on B Street and Ellsworth, Third, Fourth and Fifth avenues, according to a staff report the Public Works Commission will hear Wednesday.

A practical capacity of 85 percent is equal to one vacant space for each side of the block for off-street parking.

City officials are undertaking a long-term parking management plan for downtown with the hopes all the data will provide them with the right spot to build the area’s next major parking structure such as the garage at the Transit Center.

The city is looking to revise time limits and how it enforces parking in the area to make it easier for motorists to find a parking space while also generating extra income.

In recent months, the city has even partnered with high-tech companies to help motorists find an available space in the area by using a mobile device app that uses sensors buried in the street.

San Mateo has 135 sensors spread over four blocks downtown that will be in place for a two-year demonstration period as the city embarks on a long-range mission to improve the downtown experience.

Consultant CDM Smith studied parking in downtown on Wednesdays and Saturdays recently to determine when parking demand is at its peak. The demand for parking in all of downtown on Wednesdays is at its highest between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. but just 80 percent of practical capacity.

The demand for parking is at its lowest on Saturdays between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. at just 20 percent of practical capacity, according to the staff report. On both Saturdays and Wednesdays, parking is also at a premium between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

In the downtown core, however, parking demand exceeds the 85 percent practical capacity at the peak times.

Figuring out occupancy levels will help keep motorists from circling or cruising for parking, according to the staff report.

Up to 30 percent of all traffic downtown is related to motorists trying to find parking, Matt Bronson, interim streets and facilities manager for the Public Works Department previously told the Daily Journal.

The city has about 2,800 parking spaces downtown in five parking garages, four parking lots and street parking. It also has 688 parking meters and 65 multi-space pay stations and machines.

Parking downtown nets the city about $2.3 million a year, although it costs the city about the same for parking enforcement and security, maintenance and lot cleaning.

The city’s parking fund currently has about $4.5 million but additional funding options need to be developed to provide for future facilities in the next three to five years, according to the staff report.

The Public Works Commission will consider the parking plan update at its next meeting, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 12, City Hall, 330 W. 20th Ave., San Mateo.

silverfarb@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106

 

 

Tags: parking, downtown, percent, practical, capacity, about, public works commission


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