garage

City Council Study Session on Downtown Parking & Library

Tuesday, June 19th, 7pm    City Hall

Dear pauline,

You can be a friend of the Library and still oppose a 5 level parking structure on top of it. We need to tell our friends the truth, right? The truth, gleaned from our outreach to people in Santa Cruz, as well as business owners downtown (see their testimony below)  is that a large majority oppose building a $37 million, 640 space garage at the site where the Farmers Market meets. We believe those people would vote against a new garage, if we put the referendum on the ballot. So as a friend to the Library, we would caution against hitching their wagon to the garage plan.

With the money saved from not building a new parking structure, the City could fund all the benefits to motivate downtown workers to switch from solo driving, and have plenty left over to spend on homeless programs downtown, etc.  The METRO plan for bus passes for all workers downtown would cost the Parking District an additional 5% of their budget. That’s a bargain compared to the approximately 80% increase due to the debt, maintenance and administration for the new garage.

At the very least, the City should implement the commuter incentives beforedeciding to add parking capacity. That’s the recommendation three consultants gave to the City on Oct 15, 2015. You can watch that presentation here.
In 2011, a retail market analyst Robert Gibbs, didn’t see the need for more parking. His report said, “Parking for the district is relatively easy and convenient.” Should the City disregard the advice of these consultants and decide to build a garage anyway?

The business owners below have articulated a vision for alternatives to a new parking structure. Come and share your vision at the Council. And write CityCouncil@CityofSantaCruz.com 

-Rick Longinotti

After 25 years in business downtown I have heard very few complaints about parking or the library. Santa Cruz needs more homeless services, affordable apartments an event space, and more events. I’m not happy about moving our popular Farmers’ Market to an inferior location.
– Paul Cocking, Gabriella Cafe
I feel putting in a new parking garage on top of a new library is not at all the right move for building a visionary downtown in Santa Cruz.  Our downtown is already quite congested with cars and there are a number of other options to explore regarding transportation and parking.  Speaking with several of our clients and my coworkers, I’m hearing that they had no idea voting to fund renovations to our existing library could result in replacing the open space for the Farmer’s Market with a multi story parking structure.
– Lauren McLaughlin, Salon on the Square
When I think about Santa Cruz building a very large new parking structure downtown, I think about the message; “Driving is the best way to get around and we want to encourage it”. This is not forward thinking. It flies in the face of what we know about our future with climate change and the looming presence of autonomous vehicles.  Rick Longinotti has described how other cities have successfully reduced demand for employee parking. It makes sense to try these methods before committing prime real estate and vast amounts of money to perpetuate and encourage a transportation model that is not sustainable.
– Curt Simmons. O.D.,  Plaza Lane Optometry
It would be such a loss to lose the last open space downtown to have public events like the WednesdayFarmer’s Market, Antique Fair, and Pride. There are so many better solutions to our parking and library space needs.
– Janis Baldwin, Pure Pleasure
I think we need to be smarter about managing our current parking situation before we make a large financial commitment towards a new garage.
– Bubb Berdels, Berdels
We need to restructure the parking permit program so that permit holders pay by the day rather than by the month. When employees pay for a month of parking in advance, you create an incentive to drive and park every day. We can do a better job of using our existing parking resources.
– Ashleigh Keller, Rare Bird Salon
We are at a technological crossroads: electric bikes, car shares, Lyft and Uber — so many new transportation concepts here and on the near horizon. Imagine how absurd it would have been if the City put in a 5-story horse barn with a 30 year mortgage just as the automobile age was beginning.
– Wade Hall, Spokesman Bicycles
With the savings from not building a garage, let’s do something about our homeless problem. The homeless problem affects my business more than parking availability.
– Nicole Ammerman, Go Ask Alice
I would like to see a vibrant downtown with more pedestrians, cyclists and alternative transportation options–not more cars, more traffic and more emissions. Before the city decides to build a $37 million parking garage, it should give the alternatives a chance to solve our parking needs.
– Paul Speraw, Metavinyl
Building a new garage would be a big financiall risk for downtown businesses. If we hit a recession, the debt on the garage would still need to be paid. Before taking on that risk, we need to pursue other alternatives.
– Loretta Sapino, Thrifty Cuts Barber Shop

The proposed garage appears to us a dated and short-sighted concept that will not only create more congestion but will also fragment and diminish the character of our downtown. As many academic studies have noted, social and technological changes are quickly changing the face of transportation and the huge investment needed to fund this project could very well be obsolete in less than a decade. We feel that the City of Santa Cruz should better manage our existing parking and continue to focus on bike-friendly streets, downtown walkability, and public transportation.
Noelle Antolin & Stuyvie Bearns, Lupulo Craft Beer House
Businesses like mine that don’t supply their own parking pay “deficiency fees” in the Parking District. I’m concerned about the impact of an expensive new garage on our fees.
– Leopoldo Santos, Retro Paradisegarage

4/13/18 METRO staff has developed a one-year pilot to issue bus passes to all workers in Downtown Santa Cruz, paid for by parking revenue. The free bus pass would be part of a set of Transportation Demand Management incentives for commuters to travel by means other than single-occupant autos, including reform of garage pricing, credit for taxis/ride services, discount parking for carpools, etc.

Speak in favor of the plan at the City Council Study Session on May 1 at 7pm and sign this new  online petition

More info at Campaign for Sustainable Transportation.

Posted 3/8/18    Podcast  “Planning the Autonomous Future”  26 mins

An excellent 3 min simulation of a transit system in Santa Cruz by Gray Jameson, created created using a 3D sandbox game called Cities: Skylines.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cEwy1KCa7vNoL9ll9FiNTK5NamwpVUaG/view?usp=sharing

Flyer opposing Auxiliary lanes    Aux lanes side 1 v2 (2)   Aux lane side 2 v2 

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Ecology Action has s Transportation Services program which offers programs that encourage member employees to use other ways than driving alone to commute to and from work.

  • Emergency Ride Home: Free cab ride home when you have an emergency during regular work hours, and rode the bus, bicycled, carpooled, vanpooled, or walked to work that day.
  • 0% Interest Bicycle Loan: Borrow up to $750 interest-free for one year to purchase a bicycle and related equipment.

Employers may chose to offer their employees one or all of these services. Please refer to the Member Service & Fees section.

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Local transportation issues are handled by our friends at Campaign for Sustainable Transportation.   Several of our active members belong to both groups.

They also have an active Facebook page   and frequent local meetings.

Since auto traffic produces 60% of local Greenhouse Gases this is a very important issue.

Link to a detailed PDF presented by Stanley Sokolow Nov 2nd, 2-17. Includes various “Rail/Trail” options and other material.

On Future of Transportation in SC County_Nov 2 2017