Only One More Month for the Last Free Parking Garage in Downtown Santa Cruz

The River/Front Garage, just behind Wells Fargo, is getting gates, cameras and a parking attendant.

The gates are going up and so are the rates in what is now the last free parking structure in Santa Cruz, the River/Front Garage.

Fees are supposed to start May 1, but construction may be delayed two weeks, says parking director Marlin Granlund. Gates and fee boxes are already taking shape.

The 463-space garage will join ones on Locust and Soquel/Front streets, which charge 50 cents an hour up to three hours and then 75 cents an hour, or $5 a day. You get a ticket when you go in and pay it as you leave.

Expected revenue from the change is more than $150,000 a year for the city. The other two bring in $175,000 a year each.

Granlund says the biggest benefit for parkers is added security. Now, the bottom floor is free during the day and the upper two stories are for permit holders.

"People park their cars at 8 a.m. and the only people who go up there are occasional enforcement officers and bad guys," says Granlund. "Once this goes into effect, people will park on all floors and it will increase foot traffic and eyes and ears. There will also be an attendant and 10 security cameras."

Parking's been very, very good for the city. It raised $1.4 million last year from all paid parking.

By the numbers:

* There are now only 330 free parking spaces downtown (not counting private lots such as CVS).

*There are 817 meters downtown.

*There are 1,917 spaces in garages.

* Since Locust and the Soquel/Front garages went to 24-hour paid parking a year ago, they have brought in an additional $50,000.

*The Santa Cruz Warriors game parking has brought in $32,000 in special paid lots over the course of 19 games. 



Christine Candelaria March 28, 2013 at 02:29 PM
I saw this happening the other day. This is my go-to parking spot. At least I have til May 1 or so.
Carol Skolnick March 28, 2013 at 03:17 PM
$150,000 more dollars out of the pockets of minimum wage earners who work downtown, and another deterrent for shoppers. Great.


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