By Shawn Raymundo
City Council is set to consider a proposal to temporarily increase parking fees at the Franciscan Plaza Parking Structure on Verdugo Street on Tuesday, May 21.
The raised parking rates would coincide with a summer-time pilot program the council recently approved to offer valet parking services to visitors in San Juan Capistrano’s downtown district.
The city has proposed the rate increase in response to parking availability issues downtown business owners have raised. By hiking the price for certain spots and charging for spaces that are currently free, businesses hope to increase turnover.
The “proposed rate increases are intended to deter employee parking and long-term vehicle storage in these highly desired parking spaces while also promoting parking turnover in the structure,” the city stated in its agenda report for the council.
The city notes that the proposed rates are based on the parking meter rates of nearby cities including San Clemente and Laguna Beach.
Under the proposed rate structure for the summer, spaces one through 73, which are designated for Metrolink commuters and currently costs $2 for daily use, will cost $2 from 7 to 10 a.m. on weekdays and then $2 hourly between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. On the weekends, the Metrolink spots would cost $2 an hour with a three-hour limit all day.
“This tiered structure allows commuters to continue to park all day at a one-time fixed rate while providing additional parking spaces for downtown patrons,” the city stated in its report.
The Amtrak overnight parking spots of 74 through 108 would increase from $0.25 an hour or $6 daily to $12 a day. The current limit for those spots is 14 consecutive days, but under the proposed summer rates, the spots would be limited to 72 hours.
The free spots – spaces 109 through 352 – would cost $2 an hour with a three-hour limit from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The trial period for the proposed rates would begin Friday, June 7, and end Monday, Sept. 2, according to the city. The cost to purchase and install a new pay station for the proposed program is estimated to be $13,000.
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow The Dispatch @CapoDispatch.