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San Mateo holding public forum to discuss proposed changes to downtown parking
October 09, 2013, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal

San Mateo is holding a public forum tonight to discuss proposed changes to parking in downtown. Community feedback will be considered as the Public Works Commission considers new proposals to find the right spot to build the area's next major parking structure.

San Mateo officials and consultants will conduct a public forum tonight on the city’s downtown parking management plan before the Public Works Commission has a chance to review the draft findings later in the night.

The discussion, in small group settings, will center on proposed changes to parking in downtown and community feedback will be considered as the commission considers new proposals to find the right spot to build the area’s next major parking structure or whether time limits should be revised.

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

In February, the city began developing a Downtown Parking Management Plan to improve the use of existing parking spaces, enhance parking services for downtown visitors and employees and identify future parking needs, according to a staff report. The development of the plan will involve substantial community input and the draft plan will be presented to the City Council soon with the final plan presented for adoption in early 2014, according to the staff report.

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.

In addition to improving the use of current parking spaces and enhancing parking services, a third goal of the plan was to identify future parking needs. CDM Smith worked with the city to identify potential scenarios impacting the number of public parking spaces available downtown based on certain assumptions about downtown land use, according to a staff report.

Given the anticipated loss of parking spaces from the sale of properties once owned by the city’s Redevelopment Agency such as the former Kinko’s site, Workers Resource Center and the lot near Talbot’s, and potential development requiring public parking, parking demand is projected to surpass the practical capacity of 85 percent occupancy of available downtown parking supply. As a result, additional spaces would be needed in both the short and long term to reduce downtown parking occupancy to 85 percent based on these assumptions, according to the staff report.

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.

The community forum is 6 p.m., tonight, Conference Room C, City Hall, 330 W. 20th Ave., San Mateo. The commission meets at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106



Tags: parking, downtown, demand, staff, report, according,

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