Managing downtown parking

Do you wrestle over springing for dessert because the risk of an expired meter parking ticket looms? With the city’s new SacPark program, you won’t have to get up and go so hastily!

The goals of SacPark are simple: offer a customer-centric option to downtown visitors who occasionally need to extend their parking time. Designed to provide flexibility for downtown visitors, SacPark will provide drivers the option to extend metered parking remotely using the Parkmobile app, available at SacPark.org. Drivers can choose to extend their parking time according to a 3-tiered premium rate structure:

Tier 1 = Posted time limit at base meter hourly rate of $1.75/hr.
Tier 2 = One additional hour at a premium rate of $3/hr. This is equal to the average City-owned garage hourly rate.
Tier 3 = Any additional time will be a higher premium rate of $3.75/hr for each hour.

SacPark-Pricing structure graphic

The intent of SacPark is NOT to make it easy for long-term parking on the street. SacPark zones are intended to be a “safeguard,” an option to briefly extend parking – at a premium – to avoid a much costlier parking ticket. The tiered rate structure of the SacPark program is designed to incentivize longer-term parkers to park in garages, rather than clog downtown streets hunting for “cheap” coveted on-street metered spots.

nicholas wray_downtown light streamTo efficiently manage the city’s on-street parking supply, last month City Council also approved increasing meter operation hours to 10 p.m. west of 16th Street and in Central City neighborhoods. These increases come after the city determined a lack of adequate on-street parking during peak times was impeding traffic flow by vehicles circling in an attempt to find available parking.  Compounded by an anticipated increase of new development, events and nighttime activity, changes were needed to ensure parking supply would be available to Central City visitors, businesses and residents.

Following feedback from Downtown Sacramento Partnership (DSP), Sacramento officials recently said they will wait to begin extending meter hours in the downtown core to 10 p.m. until August 1. 

SacPark posted street signageWhile the city continues to modernize its parking programs, DSP urges them to continue to study the effectiveness, ease of use, and customer satisfaction of these changes. In particular, the city should utilize new meter technology to evaluate on-street parking vacancy to balance demand and turnover.

Future improvements to the SacPark program include features that allow drivers with a mobile app to find available spots in lots and on on-street metered spaces, the ability to purchase parking spots in advance, and real-time traffic information.

Look for SacPark zones to be phased in across downtown this summer and extended meter operation hours to start August 1.

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