San Bruno parking

Parking in San Bruno can be difficult and a new city permit program seeks to ease it.

San Bruno officials advanced their interest in allowing neighborhoods experiencing parking problems to voluntarily establish a street permit program designed to clear the congestion.

During a study session Tuesday, July 16, the San Bruno City Council pushed forward the proposal to float a pilot parking permit program requested by neighbors frustrated with a dearth of available street spaces.

Mayor Rico Medina said councilmembers largely support the initiative, and will return at a meeting next month to hammer out final details around operating costs.

“The council has said yes,” said Medina, regarding direction in allowing the permit program in neighborhoods where a majority of residents support the proposal.

Under terms of the proposal, a majority of residents in a specified neighborhood must support establishing a program requiring a permit to park on the street.

Should a survey prove requisite support exists, the program proposal would work its way through an examination at City Hall before eventually making it to the City Council. If ultimately approved, it is expected that no more than two permits would be offered per dwelling.

With purchasing a two-year permit proposed to cost $35, residents would be allowed to park on the street and those without a permit would face the threat of receiving a ticket after a period of time.

Medina noted various specifics associated with the program, including the exact cost to purchase a permit, the amount of permits allowed per home and the cost of a parking ticket will be determined at a later meeting. He balanced that perspective though by suggesting the program is designed not to be cost neutral, and that the price of permits or tickets will not be determined by a motivation to recover costs.

The proposed initiative has long been weighed by San Bruno officials looking for ways to meet the needs of residents frustrated by the growing parking congestion throughout certain neighborhoods.

Officials have said it will likely be most successful in regulating travelers who park in neighborhoods and take rides to San Francisco International Airport as part of an effort to avoid the high cost of long-term airport parking.

It may be less successful in solving all the city’s parking woes, noted Medina, as the primary source of congestion is linked to limited infrastructure incapable of accommodating the large cars of today, and the amount of cars owned by residents.

Medina said the limited street parking is fueled partially by a socioeconomic shift in San Bruno, as the high cost of living in the Bay Area is forcing younger and older generations together under the same roof for extended periods.

One byproduct of that arrangement is more cars linked to each home, overwhelming the capacity of properties and forcing residents to park on the street. Medina suggested it is not uncommon for four or five cars to be associated with a single San Bruno home.

While officials are simultaneously considering loosening property parking restrictions in an effort to encourage residents to keep their cars off the street, Medina suggested a collaborative approach is required to make a dent in the issue.

“If we all do that together, we will make it better,” said Medina, regarding the need for compromise.

To that end, he suggested action beyond the permit program will likely be necessary as there is no guarantee with the policy that residents will be able to find a spot in front of their home, or even their street. But ultimately, he expressed optimism the permit program will be a step in the right direction and the policy can be amended down the road, if needed.

“We will live and learn along the way,” he said.

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