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City looking for input on parking problem that might not exist

The city of St. Helena, California is looking for public input on their parking problem. Last week the City Council was about to decide how to fix the parking problems in the city. One question raised by council member Peter White was whether or not the city actually has a real parking problem. If you go downtown and you can’t find a parking space right in front of where you are going but instead you have to park your car three blocks away, does this mean there is a parking problem? And do people mind if they have to walk a few blocks?

It’s not just the downtown area that seems to have issues with parking. Also the parking situation in residential areas was discussed in a council meeting. They were discussing various options to relieve the city’s parking problems when Peter White mentioned that he believes there might not even be a parking problem. There are enough parking spaces in the city, only not always right in front of where people have to be but always within a couple of blocks.

So you have to walk a couple of blocks, is that a big deal? Councilmember Sharon Crull says it’s the City’s responsibility to look after the parking situation and since last year there are $500,000 worth of parking impact fees collected, there is a problem. It looks like the people believe that if they can’t find a place to park nearby or even right in front of where they have to be, they believe there is a parking problem. And it’s the City’s responsibility to fix it. It seems like no one wants to have to walk a couple of blocks after parking their car.

It also happens a lot that parking restrictions are not honoured, e.g. people park in a zone where you’re only allowed to park for three hours. Then after three hours they move their car and park it again. This means that the parking space is occupied all day long by the same car while you’re actually only allowed to park for three hours.

Because of the question whether or not there is an actual parking problem, the City Council has decided to wait making a decision I this matter and to postpone it to next month. In the meantime the City is hoping to gather more information about the parking situation both downtown and in residential areas.

City Council staff has already made a list of possible solutions to solve the parking problem which you can review on the website of the St. Helena Star. Here you can also find all the pros and cons of the possible solutions.

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