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Parking Meters Meetup Tonight

Healdsburg City Council will discuss at a meeting Thursday, May 10, at 6 p.m.

 

, Healdsburg City Council has called a public meeting at 6 p.m. May 10 at to discuss possible changes to parking in the downtown.

One of the options is to install parking meters in the downtown streets, as exist in other Sonoma County cities such as Santa Rosa.

Currently, parking on Healdsburg's main streets -- such as around the Plaza -- is free, but limited to three hours at a time. Healdsburg officials, faced with a $1 million deficit in the general fund -- which covers police and , among other services -- are looking for ways to generate revenue.

The city is on the November ballot for a half-cent sales tax increase. A special public meeting on that plan is set for 6 p.m. Monday at Healdsburg City Hall.

According to an article in the Press Democrat, two types of parking meter kiosks are under consideration. One would be similar to the Santa Rosa "pay and display" where you put in money for a certain amount of time and post a ticket with your payment in the windshield.

The other would be a "pay in advance" kiosk that is hooked up to parking enforcement, which is notified when the meter is expired. People could sign up for "smart phone" notifications so they could return to their cars to avoid a ticket.

To read the Press Democrat article, click here.

Both Healdsburg merchants and visitors interviewed by the Press Democrat were unhappy about the prospect of parking meters.

What do you think?

Take our poll below or post a comment. See you at the parking workshop on May 10!

Casey Caldwell April 27, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Two words to the city council: Bad dea! How about using some of the parking lots in town which stand empty, because of permit only parking, and putting meters in in those lots. There are several times when I would have gladly paid to park in the lot when the street parking is full. However, as an everyday factor, I would start to change my purchase habits if I had to pay every time I wanted to stop and get a cup of coffee. Bad Idea!
kami April 27, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Paper reciepts can be stolen and replaced on anothers car. The old fashioned type of meters should be placed, as many dont have smart phones either. The amount of tourists we get durinng the summer alone should help with the needed revenue.I dont mind, I can never find spots to park in anyway! Handicapped parking is unheard of...not a very disabled friendly city.What about the giant giant parking area between lower matheson and north street?! Money to be made there! How about when we have the FFA fair? A temp. parking booth can be placed to charge for parking at parking lots for special occasions.When considering these things, remember, that there are people that have needs (handicapped) that also not being addressed. for the amount of spaces avalible, disabled parking is pretty much non-existant! MAYBE...they can issue paper reciepts for payment of spaces, AND on backs there can be coupons for local businesses.That would encourage local sales at same time?!
Karen Nicola April 27, 2012 at 03:40 PM
May I suggest that the city leaders do all they can to protect the residents and merchants of this town. Instead of raising utility costs and charging for parking, look for ways to increase revenue from those who visit, use, abuse (at times) our services and community. Your local residents who provide vital servies are already carrying their load. Please make it your goal to keep your citizens flourishing. Here is my question; can you tell us what went wrong with the budget? How did the expenses exceed the income to this degree without trying to fix it much earlier?
jack twilight April 27, 2012 at 03:50 PM
We support the kiosk/display option. Need revenue for Public Safety!! Although it would be good for capturing visitor dollars, it is inconvenient for residents. Maybe a pre-paid permit option? A resident sticker displayed? Keep thinking...we need the $$.
Debbie Siegel April 27, 2012 at 03:59 PM
No Way! Healdsburg is one of the few towns that offer free parking and this is one of unique small town qualities we all love. I would rather shop in Healdsburg than Santa Rosa for that very reason.
John Hazlett April 27, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Allow documented Healdsburg residents to buy a parking pass for $60 per year for up to two cars in each family. This is done in Laguna Beach and keeps the residents happy, but the parking meters still generate income from tourists and others from out of town.
Lee April 27, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Locals passes seems like a good idea, but also using the money to fund a larger (off square) lot or double decker parking structure so we fix the root problem also seems logical.
JDAngius April 27, 2012 at 07:54 PM
I think the parking meter idea is a lazy way to raise revenue. We need additional parking and the city has several properties which can be developed for downtown, and perhaps paid, parking. Sadly, the Citizens Against Virtually Everything (Cavemen) shriek whenever any changes are proposed and stymie many reasonable solutions. I would like to see continued free timed parking on the square in keeping with the charming ambiance of our little jewell.
Nancy Roberts April 27, 2012 at 08:02 PM
A few years ago, I left Healdsburg to live in Mill Valley for 2 years (I know! But it seemed like a good idea at the time). One of the things I disliked about M.V. was that residents have to pay to park in their own town. It made the place seem so mercenary, for residents and visitors alike. ("Welcome to our charming small town! Now give us your quarters.") I hope a different solution can be found for Healdsburg's budget problems.
Richard Bartlett April 27, 2012 at 08:51 PM
NO more taxes or fees until the council deals with the elephant in the room, the public pension mess. They all talk about it but tend to do nothing.
carol novak April 28, 2012 at 02:06 PM
We need lots of parking and parking lots.....double, triple...on both ends of town; on the city hall property and near the train station.
Bryon Karow April 28, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Parking meters are an embarrassment to a quality downtown and currently you have a top notch downtown, keep it that way
Ken Dalton April 28, 2012 at 04:45 PM
The cities problem has nothing to do with income, better known as more taxes, but excessive expenditures, better known as outlandish pensions. This council, or the next one, will have to face reality and renegotiate the pensions of all city employees. And that includes Police and Fire. They must reduce the pension formula from 3% to 2% and cap medical insurance payments through immediate negotiation or contract the services out.
John Holt April 28, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Receipts go an the dashboard of locked vehicle!!
John Holt April 28, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Reasonable thought but would require policing for violaters!
John Holt April 28, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I think you are right Ken but that may take years to adjust.
John Holt April 28, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Lee has a point! A double decker was proposed twenty years ago also offsite parking with a simple shuttle vehicle to the Plaza.
kami April 28, 2012 at 08:03 PM
those cant be stolen?
Keri Brenner (Editor) April 28, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Wow! If this isn't a hot button issue, I don't know what is (except for maybe Healdsburg Animal Shelter). These are great comments -- also check out the 16 comments on Facebook on this story at http://www.facebook.com/HealdsburgPatch Several FB commenters had some different perspectives on why meters or kiosks might be helpful if handled well...
Vernon Simmons April 29, 2012 at 08:25 PM
I think that the $1.M problem is really caused by excessive retirement funding and unless and until this problem is addressed other items are just band aids on a much larger wound. Keep the downtown free and keep business going. Vernon Simmons
S Anderson April 30, 2012 at 03:04 AM
this would really hurt downtown retail, which is already struggling. I think the city would see an immediate drop in sales tax dollars and increase in vacancies. Has the drop in sales tax dollars been addressed in this $1m number? Everyone has had to cut costs the last few years, our goverments should also have to cut costs, not raise fees on people who live and work here. Parking meters would ruin our town's amibiance and charm for sure.
Lou Grant April 30, 2012 at 06:15 PM
I think Headsburg's unique charm was forfeited about 10 years when it sold its soul for the almighty tourist dollar--the parking meters would have little impact on Healdsburg's charm. If anything, they would encourage turn over, and the tire kickers would eventually feel compelled to move on allowing a fresh flush of tourists ready to spend the almighty dollar. Studies show that the tourist is most likely to spend money during the first two hours of their visit. Therefore, by the time two hours is over, all these Tommy Bahamas and capri pants are doing is taking up space. And sorry, if the merchants are hurting that is on them for selling over priced fru fru junk. The stores which manage to turn a profit in Healdsburg are the ones who lean toward practicality--they have found a need and they filled it. I am not pro parking meter but I am not anti parking meter either as most of us have too much change in our cars which we don't mind sparing. I think this whole silly whinning about the prospect of parking meters is much ado about nothing.
Keri Brenner (Editor) April 30, 2012 at 06:28 PM
@Lou Grant: Please tell us how you really feel. Say hi to Mary for us....
austin May 10, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Any idea what sort of revenue they will produce? Honestly, I doubt there are enough spots around the square to make this a real revenue generator. Sounds like floating the idea of parking meters is more of a ploy to get people to embrace the 1/2% sales tax increase.
Ginger Grant May 10, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Kami, um.....no this is too easy. Yes, they can be stolen but only if someone breaks into the locked car in order to do so. I hardly think someone is going to risk going to jail to save .75 cents.

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