Local News

Downtown Paid Parking Shows Lower Than Expected Returns

According to recently-released data, Fullerton’s 6-month downtown paid parking pilot program, which began on July 18, and will continue until the end of the year, has not brought in projected revenues.

The program requires a flat fee of $5 to park in eleven public lots and structures throughout downtown on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays after 9pm. Payments may be made at kiosks at each lot or though a mobile app. SP+ (the company the city has contracted to run the program) projected that revenues collected from the program would be around $7,000 per week.

However, data collected thus far shows actual revenue collection to be about $4,500 per week.

From a city staff report.

According to a city staff report, this discrepancy could be attributed to a number of factors, including: an increase of shared-ride vehicle trips, an increase in customers coming to the downtown before 9:00pm, and/or the dates or time of the year when SP+ took its preliminary counts were not representative of actual parking behavior over a longer period.

It appears that the main contributing factor is the large number of cars parking in paid lots prior to 9pm—a combination of downtown employees and patrons.

Chart from city staff report shows discrepancy between projected and actual values from the paid parking pilot program.

However, the city has been able to recover more costs through issuing parking citations. Through week fourteen, 1,397 citations were issued. The City receives $40.86 of each paid citation.

The total cost of the pilot program is $156,400.

City staff will provide recommendations and more data at the December 17 council meeting.

At their November 12 meeting, city council voted 4-1 (Whitaker “no”) to get a proposal from SP+ for the development and implementation of a parking program for daytime long-term parkers to replace the existing employee permit parking program.

Council member Bruce Whitaker, who originally opposed the program, said that he remains opposed. He sad that the program subjects downtown customers to citations and fines and “could likely lead to a reduction in business, depressed revenues, increased complication and hassle for no real benefit.”

Councilmember Zahra voted to support the program, but expressed concerns about lower income people not being able to afford parking.

“For residents in my district who are lower income, we are now asking them to pay a premium price just to come downtown that is already expensive. Five dollars may not be a big deal for some folks, but it is a big deal for some who don’t have as much,” Zahra said.

Councilmember Flory, Mayor Protem Fitzgerald, and Mayor Silva expressed support for the program.

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