• East San Rafael Parking: Chamber offers solutions, warns against permit system

    September 18, 2017
    On September 18, 2017, the San Rafael Chamber issued the following letter to Mayor Phillips and the San Rafael City Council:

    Dear Mayor Phillips and City Council Members:
    On behalf of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, which represents 625 Marin County businesses with over 26,000 employees, I write to express our opinion, thoughts and ideas relative to the East San Rafael (ESR) Parking Study prepared for the City by W-Trans back in May.
    The Chamber met with consultants from W-trans earlier in the year and offered “boots on the ground” insight into the impact that low turnover and high demand for parking is causing in the commercial area of East San Rafael. We appreciated this opportunity and were very pleased that W-trans opted to include a week day in their survey counts, per our recommendations.  According to the survey results, the commercial subarea is at near 100% capacity during the weekdays and over 100% occupancy on weeknights and Saturdays.  This high demand for parking and low turnover in the Canal Neighborhood is causing massive spill over into the commercial area and having a negative impact on businesses’ operations. We appreciate the city’s understanding of this impact and interest in providing some relief.
    After reviewing the parking study and meeting with City staff at several Chamber meetings, we agree with the following strategies:

    Short-term strategies:
    1.Time limited parking- including 4-8 hour limits in the commercial zones.
    2.Public-private partnerships. We believe this to be crucial in providing short term relief.
    3.Transit opportunities- access to transit can be very difficult in ESR. Providing direct incentives to residents and students may increase the number of public transit riders per household.

    Mid-term strategies
    1.We agree that city-owned off street parking facilities are necessary to maintain vibrancy in ESR and there are site opportunities at Windward Way and the Albert J Boro community Center. This could perhaps be operated and maintained by a private firm.

    Long-term strategies:
    1.Use the General Plan 2040 process to explore site and funding opportunities for a new parking structure in ESR.

    However, the Chamber does not believe that a permitting system would be equitable. Nor would it prohibit spillover from one parking area to another if spaces are not added. We ask that you please consider adopting the short-term strategies above, assess their success while exploring other options, before you enter into a permit system.

    Joanne Webster
    President and CEO

    Emily Maloney, Marketing and Program Manager
    (415) 454-4163