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Paso Robles, CA 93446
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Planning Division

DOWNTOWN PARKING AND CIRCULATION ANALYSIS

The Downtown Parking and Circulation Analysis (Full Final Report) is a study of the existing parking and traffic conditions in the Downtown core of Paso Robles.

The study encompasses the area bounded by 17th Street on the north, Riverside Avenue on the east, 6th Street on the south, and Olive Street on the west.

The study identifies the existing and future parking demands in the downtown, identifies areas for new parking lots, identifies ways to divert through traffic from the downtown (in order to eliminate the need to widen Spring Street and 13th Street to 4-lanes), and identifies financing options for implementing the recommended action plan.

The Action Plan lists a series of actions that can be undertaken by the City to address the parking and circulation needs of Downtown Paso Robles, including:

Recommendations that range from instituting parking management techniques (time limits, enforced parking restrictions, installation of parking meters, etc) to building facilities to increase the supply.

Proposals to modify the existing circulation system in order to improve traffic and pedestrian flow in the downtown.

BACKGROUND

Parking demand and supply in downtown Paso Robles has consistently been an issue of ongoing public concern and debate.

In the 1970ís, a Business Improvement District was established, public parking lots were constructed, and parking meters were removed.

In the 1980ís, an assessment district was established to fund construction of additional parking lots; surface parking lots were developed to serve the City Library/City Hall and the North County Transportation Center.

In the 1990ís, the City significantly reduced the amount of required parking for new businesses as part of efforts aimed at revitalizing the downtown.

In the 2000ís, the successful revitalization of the downtown has led to both real and perceived parking problems.

Recent surveys of local business owners and residents suggest that it is becoming more difficult to find convenient parking in the downtown.

In the fall of 2001, the City Council retained the services of Kimley-Horn and Associates to prepare an independent study reviewing parking and circulation in the Downtown.

REVIEW PROCESS

During spring, summer, and fall of 2002, the City:

  • Held a Public Workshop to receive input and suggestions on the study.
  • Circulated the Draft study to the City’s ad-hoc Parking and Circulation Committee for review and comment, as well as development of recommendations regarding establishment of an action plan.
  • Held public hearings and a public workshop to discuss the findings of the study and to develop an action plan.
  • Adopted an action plan for addressing the short, medium, and long-range parking needs of Downtown and identifying ways to respond to increases in the amount of traffic without widening Spring Street or otherwise negatively impacting the Downtown.

OVERVIEW OF CITY'S ACTION PLAN

At its October 29, 2002 meeting, the City Council approved specific components of the recommended Downtown Parking and Circulation Action Plan.

The Action Plan includes angled parking, signage, and public information. Additionally, it includes contacting the construction workers across the street and a request from the City Manager to the City Employees to see if they would opt to park outside of the City downtown core.

With approval of the Action Plan, the City Council further directed staff to prepare a budget proposal for consideration during upcoming budget cycles; proposals may include the following items:

  • Increasing the supply of new parking spaces in the downtown core area;
  • Researching the components of a shuttle service between either the transit center or Robbins field; and
  • Directing the City Manager to contact the Fair to see if the City can use their parking facilities.

At its December 3, 2002 meeting, the City council appointed a two member ad hoc Committee consisting of Council members Finigan and Picanco to develop long term options for further increasing the supply of parking spaces in the Downtown and implementing the balance of the action items contained in the recommended Downtown Parking and Circulation Action Plan.

INDIVIDUAL COMPONENTS OF CITY'S ACTION PLAN

Short-Term (2002-2005) current/projected demand for 100 spaces.

Do one of the following:

  1. Determine to rely on business owners to control the parking of their employees, thereby freeing up additional on and off-street parking spaces for customers, for a three-year period (ending December 31, 2005). Prior to the close of the three year period, review the potential need for time restricted parking; or
  2. Direct staff to prepare a FY 03-04 budget proposal to enforce parking time limits. The time limits would restrict parking between 10 AM and 2 PM weekdays and would apply to areas identified in the Kimley-Horn study:
    1. No time limits in public parking lots at 12th & Railroad, Spring between 12th and 13th, and south of City Hall, and along 11th Street and outside of the core area institute time limits as defined below in ii, iii, iv.
    2. AA time limit of 4 hours on Spring and Pine Streets south of 12th.
    3. A time limit of 2 hours on Park & Pine Streets from 12th to 14th Street and in the parking lot east of Marvís Pizza.
    4. A time limit of 4 hours on 12th, 13th, and 14th Streets.

When development occurs at the NE and SE corners of 4th and Spring Streets, propose a budget for modifying lane configurations to channel a lane of traffic east on 4th Street and north on Pine Street.

Mid-Term (2006-2009); projected demand for 350 additional spaces:

  • Reevaluate the need for time-restricted parking (if not established in the short-term program or if there is a perceived need to consider expansion of either the time limits or geographic area to which they apply).
  • Consider whether or not to further extend the favorable parking ratio for new development in the downtown area.
  • Budget funds for acquisition and design of a facility to expand the number of off-street parking spaces within Area IV (as defined in the Kimley-Horn report). The location of the additional off-street parking would be based on opportunity for purchase of land. Property would be improved for surface level parking as an interim measure, with future structured parking as a long-range plan.
  • Once the 13th Street bridge project is complete, as a trial measure, close off 13th Street for a two-week period in the block between Railroad and Park Streets, installing traffic counting devices elsewhere to determine the patterns of traffic that result from the change. This trial would include installing directional signs at 10th and 16th Streets, designed to channel traffic to Riverside and Creston Roads. Depending upon the outcome of the trial (measured in terms of reasonable success in redirecting traffic), consider the budget for a permanent barrier.
  • Encourage Main Street to work with downtown merchants to formulate and implement programs that provide incentives for employees to park outside of the downtown core area. (To the extent that these programs are successful, it may not be necessary to pursue less attractive and more expensive measures to free up customer parking in the downtown core area.)

Long-Term (2010 and beyond); projected demand for 550 more spaces:

  • Reevaluate the need for time-restricted parking (if not established in the short-term program or if there is a perceived need to consider expansion of either the time limits or geographic area to which they apply).
  • Consider whether or not to further extend the favorable parking ratio for new development in the downtown area.
  • Design and construct one or more multi-level parking lots to service Area IV as defined by the Kimley-Horn Report.
  • Plan for and implement measures to direct Spring Street traffic east to the Riverside Avenue corridor, based on a new rail underpass or overpass being constructed at 4th and Pine / Riverside.

STUDY FINDINGS

Parking

Supply - There are approximately 2,968 public parking spaces in the downtown. The number of parking spaces is sufficient to meet the current customer and employee demand. However, these spaces are located throughout the downtown and not in the areas where demand is the highest.

Location - The study demonstrates that there are enough parking spaces in the downtown to meet demand. However, many of the parking spaces are not located in the areas where people want to park.

In the commercial core, there is an existing deficit of approximately 161 parking spaces. The core is defined is bounded by 13th and 14th Streets on the north, Riverside Street on the east, 10th Street on the south, and Vine Street on the west.

Demand - Parking demand varies significantly by time-of-day and day-of-the-week. The average demand for on-street parking is the highest in the commercial core, most notably in the area around the park. The public parking lots with the highest average demand on weekdays are the Spring Street lot, the Railroad Street lot, and the 12th Street lot. The public lots are typically 60% full on weekdays, with occupancy decreasing on the weekends. Weekday demand tends to decrease after 6 pm, except near restaurants and the movie theatre.

Circulation

Planned Improvements - The Circulation Element of the Paso Robles General Plan identifies the need to widen Spring Street and 13th Street to 4-lanes. The widening is needed to accommodate the traffic projections associated with future development throughout the City.

Alternatives - There are alternatives to the widening of Spring Street and 13th Street. One alternative is to divert the traffic that uses these streets to other roads in the downtown that have excess capacity. A proportion of the traffic (perhaps as much as one-third) using Spring Street and/or 13th Street is passing through the downtown in route to other areas. Diversion of this through traffic out-of-the downtown core will reduce traffic volumes on Spring Street and/or 13th Street and may eliminate the need for widening.

NEXT STEPS

Implementation

The approved Action Plan involves a multi-faceted approach to addressing the parking and circulation needs of the downtown.

A budget for implementation of the Action Plan will be developed and released for public review and comment as part of the next budget cycle (Fiscal Year 2003/2004).

PUBLIC INPUT OR INVOLVEMENT

Opportunities for public input and involvement have been provided throughout the study process and will continue to be provided throughout the budget preparation and project implementation phases.

For further information, please call the Planning Division at (805) 237-3970.


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