The owner of River Plaza (formerly the Golden Eagle) on East Washington Street wants to limit parking at the shopping center to a maximum of two hours, saying that the lot is frequently full at peak hours, which hurts businesses.
“There seem to be a significant number of people who park there all day,” said Paul Andronico, vice president of Basin Street Properties, which owns the shopping center. “We don’t know who they are, but we’ve had complaints from businesses.”
Bernadette Burrell, who owns Dempsey’s, says she is one of those businesses, having received complaints from customers who can’t find a spot near the popular bar and restaurant.
“The lot is used more like public parking rather than a shopping center lot,” Burrell said. “A lot of people who work downtown seem to park here and then go work all day.”
Burrell says she is in favor of creating a section in the lot designated specifically for downtown employees, whose only current options are to park in the Keller Street or Theater Square garage.
But many residents are outraged at the proposal, saying there simply isn’t enough parking downtown that’s not subject to the two-hour time restriction.
“The apartment building across the street doesn't have sufficient parking for all of its residents and no parking for guests,” said Rebecca Lack, commenting on Petaluma Patch’s Facebook Page. “Most of those overnight parkers near the bank are residents. On the weekends a lot of bar hoppers park there and safely leave their cars overnight so they don't drink and drive.”
Others worried about who would pay for enforcing the two-hour restriction, with the Petaluma police department already stretched thin.
“Usually, patrolling and enforcing parking limitations on a private parking lot is the financial responsibility of the owner, not the city,” said David Keller via Patch’s Facebook page. “Police patrolling would cost the city the time of having a parking control officer on the property, while they were not patrolling on city streets. Would each car have to be marked to determine time limits for it? This could easily become a job subsidized by city funds, which would not be acceptable to me.”
Andronico said he thought that fines collected would be used to offset the costs, but didn’t have further details. The issue will be discussed again at the May 20 council meeting.
What do you think of the proposal to put in time restrictions on parking at the River Plaza Shopping Center? Will it help businesses? Hurt residents? Or is the answer a new parking lot downtown? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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