From personal experience and people I’ve talked to, parking is a huge excuse preventing people from coming to downtown Fresno. But the City of Fresno is on it. It’s a good news bad news situation, depending on how you look at it.

The good news- The council on Thursday will vote to give you an hour free in three downtown garages. The bad news- parking meter rates would go up.

The idea is to double the current fee from 75 cents an hour to $1.50 during heavy-use time periods. The hope is that it will drive more people to park in the garages, especially workers who feel street parking is a better deal than garages. The plan also calls for installing smart meters.

Monthly permits to park at the meter would go up from $120 to $150.

Councilman Oliver Baines disagrees that parking meter prices detracts people from coming to downtown. “Parking isn’t what really drives people downtown or not downtown. What we need in order to bring people downtown is a thriving downtown. When that happens, we will have people downtown, no matter what.”

During a staff presentation on December 1, 2016, councilmen Clint Olivier and Steve Brandau indicated trepidation to raising meter prices. Paul Caprioglio, whose law firm is located in downtown, expressed to GV Wire issues spaces remaining full in front of his business.

Right now, the city charges $75 per month for an uncovered space in a lot or top floor of a garage and $90 for a covered garage spot. There is a discount for a yearlong purchase, with the price for 10 months ($750/$900 respectively) pays for the whole year.

Current garage and lot permit rates

Type Monthly rate Yearly discount Yearly Total
Covered $90 ~17% $900
Uncovered $75 ~17% $750

 

On top of that, buying in bulk leads to additional savings: 10% off for 20-49 spaces; 15% off for 50-99; and 20% for 100 or more. A company that buys 99 spaces would pay about $76,000. Adding one more for 100 gets you the deeper discount, or a total of $72,000.

Bulk rate purchases for covered lots

Spaces Yearly rate (see above) Bulk Discount Price range New bulk rate per space New rate total range
20-49 $900 10% $16,200-$39,690 $60 $14,400-$35,280
50-99 $900 15% $38,250-$75,735 $60 $36,000-$71,280
100+ $900 20% $72,000 and up $60 $72,000 and up

 

Bulk rate purchases for uncovered lots

Spaces Yearly rate (see above) Bulk Discount Price range New bulk rate per space New rate total range
20-49 $750 10% $13,500-$33,075 $60 $14,400-$35,280
50-99 $750 15% $33,750-63,112.50 $60 $36,000-$71,280
100+ $750 20% $60,000 and up $60 $72,000 and up

 

The city had a number of deals with downtown businesses that even undercut the listed rate. For example, Fresno County has a deal for only $25 a space (a month) at the Boxcar lot at H & Tuolumne. Other government agencies have a deal for $30 a space.

While the base rate for monthly permits at garages and lots won’t change, the city plans to change the pricing plan for bulk buys and end the other deep discounts. In its place, the city will charge a flat rate of $60 a stall for bulk buys, with a minimum at 50 (up from 20).

Plugging in those numbers, not counting for the special pricing some agencies have, those bulk spaces in covered lots (normally at $90 a month) would actually come down for those purchasing 50-99 spaces (the $76,000 for 99 spaces would be reduced to under $72,000). A bulk purchase of 100 or more would be the same under the old and new plan.

The city says raising fees will add $300,000 per year to city coffers. Changes in other rates to bulk permits and monthly permits could bring in an additional $566,000. The city’s plan is to use that money to help pay for parking facilities.

Aaron Blair of the Downtown Partnership tells GV Wire he enthusiastically supports the free hour in the garages.

E-mail David Taub

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About The Author

Senior Reporter

David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science.

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