After a lengthy discussion, the West Sacramento City Council unanimously approved three of seven changes proposed by Mayor Christopher Cabaldon in relation to the Bridge District parking rate resolution at its March 15 meeting.
The approved changes included pushing back the start date for the meter parking from May 1 to July 1 to allow more time for the decision-making process and to have city officials work with public transportation and bike share providers to assess transit improvements in areas where parking will be reduced.
Among the four proposed changes that were not adopted, Cabaldon suggested a tiered system where the parking rate for the new parking lot at 5th and Bridge—previously proposed at $60 per month, a fee many residents were concerned about at the March 1 meeting of the council—to begin at $30 for the first six months and then increase to $50 per month for affordable housing residents in the district and to $60 per month for all other residents.
Mayor Pro Tem Mark Johannessen suggested a similar system, but his version would have the fees start at $30 for the first year and increase by $10 each year until they reach $60.
According to the staff report for the March 15 meeting, the lowest amount per parking space needed each month to recoup costs would be $23.
According to the council, the proposed $30 starting rate is high enough above that threshold, but would also help residents ease into the new pay structure.
With the $60 rate, the additional $37 would be to make up for parking vacancies and other costs associated with maintaining the parking lot over time, the report explained.
Residents in the area currently pay $10 a year for parking, but under the new $60 rate, that would increase to $720 each year.
In addition, Cabaldon proposed an increase from 14 private street parking permits recommended for residents of The Habitat apartment complex, an affordable housing unit in the area, to 30 spaces to help ensure more residents would be able to park near their homes.
Those permits would cost $40 for the first year, and $60 thereafter and Cabaldon added that 24 of them would be renewable after the first year once an assessment could be made regarding their necessity.
Another of the mayor’s proposals was to change some language in the resolution for clarity and the final proposal would establish parking meter codes that residents could give guests to allow them to park at a flat rate for up to 10 hours, twice per month.
Cabaldon said his set of proposals won’t make everyone happy, but that it was the best way to try to balance concerns from residents, the needs of the city and the district’s offerings to outside guests.
Concerns raised by residents at the March 1 meeting regarding temporary parking for loading or unloading vehicles were not addressed.
Cabaldon, who lives in the Bridge District, said that the district was planned to be a hybrid residential and commercial area from the start.
“This is an evolving issue,” Cabaldon said. “This is the last [piece]. It’s the adoption of the meter rates, it’s not the overall parking program, which
we have already voted on repeatedly. Many of the policies that we’ve talked about have been adopted over the last year or prior to the construction of the district.”
He clarified that residents should not be surprised by these changes and that they knew what they were signing up for when they moved to the district.
“This is not a unique place in the city, but close, in the sense that it is a new area that the entire city has contributed and envisioned creating for itself and for the community to take back the waterfront to create a lively, mixed-use, downtown-style district with lots of entertainment and food and design in it,” Cabaldon said. “This isn’t a quiet, existing residential neighborhood that’s being disrupted by some external force, which is why we created residential permit parking in the first place.”