Feeding meters along waterfront may soon cost more - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Feeding meters along waterfront may soon cost more

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The Port of San Diego wants to free up parking space by increasing meter rates along the North Embarcadero.

In a community forum Thursday night, leaders from the Port reached out to the community and tenants on the Embarcadero about raising meter rates and shifting enforcement hours.

“We are trying to encourage turnover so people are not staying in a parking space for long-term parking,” said Port of San Diego spokesperson Tanya Castaneda.

In May, the pilot parking meter program started at Tuna Harbor that raised hourly meter rates from $1.25 to $1.75 and shifted enforcement hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

CBS News 8 spoke to visitors at Tuna Harbor who had trouble paying the higher rates, “It's horrible. I had to open the trunk and dig in my suitcase and get my quarters out,” said Georgia visitor Dean Pace.

Parking fines for out-of-stall or overtime at a meter is $35 and the fine for an expired meter is $25.

Many visitors were upset the Port doesn’t take credit card.

“That one doesn't take? Oh wow that's a problem,” said Texas visitor Christine Willis.

The Port is considering smart meters that will take credit cards but that is a long-term goal.

Currently, leaders are reaching out to the community and tenants on the proposal to raise rates at the 177 meters on North Embarcadero from Grape Street to B Street on North Harbor Drive and Ruocco Park with 107 meters.

The Port is considering raising the $1.25 hourly rates to $1.75, shifting hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday enforcement and extending the two hour limit to three hours.

Castaneda says the opening of the San Diego County Waterfront Park, the popularity of The Headquarters retail and restaurant center, the development of a new hotel at Lane Field, and the construction of public improvements along the North Embarcadero have resulted in reduced parking availability.

Maritime Museum President and CEO says since the park opened there are limited parking spots during peak hours, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We have seen a significant and unsustainable loss at our museum,” said Ray Ashley. He says parkgoers are taking spots where potential visitors passing by can’t stop to park. He hopes with better management and ticket validation parking will leave a better mark on San Diego visitors.

“There would be an encouragement to visit the museum and understand San Diego history,” said Ashley.

The Port district staff will be presenting this recommendation and feedback from the community to the board of Port Commissioners for approval at its August 12 meeting. The pilot meter program could last from six month to a year or longer.

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