If you’ve ever grumbled about parking in Balboa Park, experts say you should consider paying up to fix the problem.
Frustrated motorists often circle lots at the center of the park in search of free parking on busy days, encountering pedestrians and other crawling cars along the way. Leaders of some park institutions have long claimed a dearth of parking is one of Balboa Park’s most pressing problems and public garages have been repeatedly discussed as potential solutions.
A handful of outside parking and planning experts – all of whom have visited Balboa Park – told Voice of San Diego a comprehensive pricing plan for current parking in Balboa Park could offer immediate relief for parking headaches while the city continues deliberating long-stalled plans to build those parking garages.
The latest of those plans – initially approved by the City Council four years ago, but back on the table after a court delay – calls for a paid, 800-car underground garage as part of a broader project to get cars out of the park’s central mesa. Only one 650-spot garage, mostly used by San Diego Zoo employees, has materialized in the last decade despite city-sanctioned studies and plans calling for more parking.
But experts say Balboa Park might be able to do a lot with what it’s already got.
“If you started charging for it, you might find miraculously that there’s suddenly more parking,” said Donald Shoup, a professor emeritus at UCLA who’s literally famous for his parking research.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
My thought would be, the owners of the business's would pay for the placard, windshield sticker, bumper sticker, id. As far as not parking in a parking lot (oxymoron). Your proposal has some merit..
Lisa - you might find it informative to search the SD UT archives for articles about when Mayor Susan Golding proposed paid parking in Balboa Park and Mission Beach. The "fire storm" was impressive. I've no doubt it would be equally or more impressive today. Sorry I can't easily give you dates but it was between 1991-1995 or thereabout.
What parking woes? Balboa Park has hundreds of acres of free parking. The city has to do a better job of signage to let people know where the parking is, not begin charging people to park in their own public park, which likely would violate the city charter. The fact that some walking adverse drivers cruise the close in parking lots instead of parking in outlying lots just says volumes about why America is in the throes of an obesity epidemic. Walking is good for people; perhaps they will discovers new areas of the park they've never visited. Balboa Park is for all San Diegans, not just rich limousine liberals and wealthy tourists. Come to the park, park your car in one of the empty spaces and enjoy the park. No need to create new money making schemes for the city by charging people to park their cars in the park. Get SANDAG and MTS to extend the trolley from downtown up Park Boulevard and much of this perceived "problem" will go away.
Of course charging for parking would create more spaces.... because nobody would go to the park if you have to pay additional fees just to park your car. Which would also ruin the attendance at the beautiful museums. Why don't we just build more parking? Simple solution
So why not issue a vehicle placard and id to the employees and have them park in the tram parking lots. Any employee found parking in the open lots would be fined the five dollars for parking in the open lot.
@Timbell So, who would pay for the registration and placards and enforcement? What guarantee is there that an employee would choose to not use the placard?
An alternative thought is to not allow parking in the Organ Pavilion lot, the Palisades lot or the Alcazar lot before 9:00 am or even 9:30 (exceptions would be vehicles with ADA placards).
Some years back, the City imposed time-limited parking in the Plaza de Panama and maybe not before a certain hour though I don't recall if it did or not. This is as an example and by no means a suggestion that the 3 lots I name have time delimited parking (30 minutes; 3 hours... etc.)
It's already too expensive to visit just one museum, adding on an additional X for parking is obscene. The people with the money to pay for both admission and parking are probably working during the day, anyway. What about retirees on fixed incomes, already stretched to the max by housing costs? Ever thought of opening the museums past 4:30? Night hours for people who aren't the 'dancing and cocktails crowd....?
I was there for the first time last week. There was plenty of parking near the electric car recharge stands (!) and the handicapped parking next to the Air and Space Museum. And this was after 10 o'clock AM. No bike stands in evidence that I remember, either, which might help. This tells me you don't have seniors/handicapped visiting, and while electric car recharging stands are a wonderful addition, they're not being used to capacity and resulted in unused up close parking spaces.
How about charging for parking in close, free parking on the outskirts with shuttle service, and add in bike stands for those who can arrive that way? And yes, employees and volunteers of which there are hundreds should have a 'park and ride' feature with quick access to a shuttle. They're parking close in because they're on their feet all day, understandably. You also need to ENLARGE the signage all over the park. It's hard to read until you're up too close, what with paying attention to all the pedestrians and crazy traffic, even with it in slow motion. As in - THIS WAY TO FREE PARKING SHUTTLE, RUNS EVERY FIVE MINUTES' so people don't think they'll be waiting forever in the sun. Make the shuttle a cute tram and it'll be part of the appeal.
Now what did you pay for that idiotic 'parking study'? Because it was all obvious.
Thank you for bringing this issue up. I strongly support the idea of charging for parking in and near Balboa Park. I have often witnessed cars cruising through the center part of the park looking for a spot, especially on free Tuesdays. Although people don't like paying for parking, it is a good way of rationing a scarce resource.
I have taken the El Cajon Boulevard bus from Talmadge to Balboa Park several times and found it convenient to the museums on the Park Boulevard side of the park. I wonder if MTS and the park could do a promotion to encourage people to take the bus rather than drive.
"Paid Parking at Balboa Park Could End Parking Woes"... As long as you don't count paying for parking as a "Woe."
“Before you build a garage, try charging for parking,” Shoup said. “You may not need a garage.”
How about the employers tell employees to park further away (like Horton Plaza does during Christmas season, and you may not need to charge for parking.
Consumer oriented businesses everywhere do not allow employees to park in prime spots. I own some of that type of business and my employees know that they can't park in the nearby spots. Amazing that the tenants in the park refuse to take action, as it directly effects their business. I chalk that up to incompetent management. And really wrong that the city won't do anything about it but will put taxpayers on the hook for the parking garage. Yes, I also chalk that up to poor management.
I have mixed feeling about charging for parking, but you don't have to charge much to affect behavior. One concern is that those who are in poor health or have difficulty walking for other reasons may also not have the money to pay for parking. Possibly, the park could charge for parking only during peak hours. This would spread demand more evenly over more of the day. I'm sure the city and park could provide other creative solutions to parking issues if they cared to but using other people's money is always more attractive, isn't it?
It's also much easier to sell more parking as the solution to socal people. It's what we're used to. Using taxpayer dollars has a much more indirect and deferred cost attached to it than charging for parking. It's unfortunate that the public isn't more willing to sacrifice something for the betterment of the community as a whole when it comes to driving vs alternative modes of transportation.