October 2018


City center car parks will now be billed 24/7

New “pay on foot” machines have been added to the three parking lots in downtown San Luis Obispo.

The system will now operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which will no longer be free for customers who leave after parking officers leave for the evening.

Parking booths will continue to be manned by attendants who will accept cash or credit, but hours will vary depending on the facility. If the booth is empty, bettors can pay by credit card on exit or before leaving at one of the new “pay on foot” machines.

Street parking meter prices will continue to be free after 6 p.m.

“The new system will reduce the time it takes to get in and out of each facility, provide additional payment options, and allow the city to dynamically link parking availability per location to the city’s website and possibly a platform. mobile. according to a press release from the city of San Luis Obispo.

The new system is expected to be rolled out in both Palm Street parking lots in the coming days. Carolyne Sysmans | Mustang News

The system is now in effect at the Marsh structure. The two Palm Street structures will follow in the coming days.

Two new payment terminals will be set up in each of the three structures in the city center, where users can pay for their parking in cash or by credit card before returning to their car and then inserting the validated exit ticket.

“It might be a learning curve for people at first, but once people get used to the system they will know it will get them in and out much faster,” said Scott Lee, parking manager. of San Luis Obispo.

The hourly parking rate will not change. Rates will continue to be free the first hour and $ 1.25 per hour thereafter. The daily maximum will remain at $ 12.50.

According to Lee, the reason for the change was that the old system had been in place for 15 years and the new system will allow them to enter occupancy data in order to make the system more efficient. Lee said they were looking for ways for customers to check parking lot fill levels with the system.

No parking agent will lose their job. They will continue to be there, but not necessarily inside the outgoing booth. Lee said allowing them to be on foot would help speed up the exit process by providing assistance with payments and keeping an eye on the garage.

“They’ll be able to walk around the garage, help orient themselves and almost act like security guards,” Lee said. “It should improve the customer experience. “

Carolyne Sysmans | Mustang News

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Parking spaces

Houston is growing, but its parking spots may not be – Houston Public Media

Parking meters in downtown Houston on September 20, 2018.

According to one estimate, Greater Houston will exceed 10 million people by 2040. That would mean about three million more people would be added to the region. But so many additional cars may not require additional parking spaces.

“The buildings are not built for today. If you do your job right, you are trying to ask yourself: how is this going to be a good investment over 25 to 50 years? »Declared David Mincberg, general manager, officer of Flagship Properties Company, a company that invests in commercial real estate. He is also president of Houston first, which operates the City of Houston’s underground parking lot, including the George R. Brown Convention Center and Jones Hall.

Mincberg said parking needs are changing because the way people move is changing.

“As rail grows in Houston, Texas, you have more people, and more people, and more people using Uber and Lyft, and maybe autonomous vehicles in the near future; the near future being a decade. A decade for a building is not very long, ”said Mincberg. “And what is the ideal point between” what should an investor-developer do “and” a municipality should she demand? ” “”

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How the city is responding to changing developments

City officials are already considering how to deal with Houston’s growing population.

“We have to find ways to get cars off the streets,” said Houston Pro-Tem Mayor Ellen Cohen. She is also a member of the District C council, which includes updated parking systems for busy areas like Washington Avenue and Montrose. “We have to be able to get people to Houston by bus, light rail, integrated transit. And how can we do that so that people aren’t driving cars with one person behind the wheel?”

Mayor Pro-Tem Ellen Cohen in her office on September 20, 2018.

Cohen said parking regulations have changed and the city has tested less in the city center.

“Instead of having regulations requiring restaurants, for example, to have an ‘X’ number of places available, we are testing the idea – which is currently underway downtown – but in the city center where you don’t need to have “X” number of parking spaces. You come to the restaurant, you can park in the adjacent streets. That sort of thing. So that it just leaves more space for people park where they can. “

“A third of its residents in this new apartment did not have a car at all”

Market needs have led downtown Houston to be exempt from parking restrictions for years, said Andy Icken, city of Houston development manager. He said the changes in development have also resulted in changes in the parking needs in the city center.

“Someone built a new multi-family project in the city center, which has a lot of people renting out apartments. And they instituted a one-car-to-apartment unit process, and they actually agreed. to buy it back to the individual, “said Icken.” So what this owner told me was: he discovered that about a third of his residents in this new apartment did not have a car at all. others who have it would make good economic sense. “

Andy Icken, Director of Development for the City of Houston, reviews the documents in his office on October 1, 2018.

Not having a car can be a growing trend in Houston. Icken said many places in the city have evolved into mixed-use development, such as the Galleria district.

“If we look at the total square footage of the Galleria area, which is over 35 million square feet, one-third is commercial office, one-third is residential and one-third is actually retail space,” said Icken. . “It requires fewer cars if people are to go to this area.”

Icken added that they have more projects coming up in the city looking to have mixed use because it’s convenient for people. He said they are considering more rules and regulations to help improve pedestrian communities, like Rice Village. Another factor to consider, Icken said, is the technology.

“Autonomous vehicles are going to play a role, longer term,” said Icken.

the Harris County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) has already set up a prototype plan for its first autonomous vehicle, in University of South Texas. And Icken said the city supports this plan and is thinking of others.

This is a shuttle currently in use in the Las Vegas Innovation District. METRO says it is potentially considering a similar project for the Texas Southern University campus.

“We actually believe that the rapid bus line in the middle of the Galleria can be converted into a self-driving vehicle. We are planning experimental work on an autonomous vehicle going from the convention center to airports. The technology needs to be improved, but it evolves every day and I think it’s up to us to see how we’re going to adapt to it.

In the years to come, that could mean big changes in a city where, right now, so many people are driving themselves.

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