The Coast News Group

Beach, harbor parking rates go up

OCEANSIDE — If you visit Oceanside on a regular basis you may want to purchase a parking pass. Hourly rates of city parking lots and meters have just gone up.

City Council voted to increase parking lot rates from $2 an hour, to $3 to $4 an hour, and all day rates from $8, to $10 to $15. The higher rates would be charged during the peak season of mid-May to mid-September.

Meter rates were also increased from $1 an hour to $1.50 during the April 5 meeting.

The city will see a revenue increase of about $898,000 from the new fees.

Monies will be used for beach restroom maintenance, pier improvements, meter upgrades and future downtown parking.

City staff said Oceanside looked at other coastal cities, and made increases in the ballpark of going rates.

Comparisons were made with Del Mar, which charges $2 to $3 an hour for lots, and $1.50 to $3 an hour for meters, Carlsbad state beaches, which charge $2 to $4 an hour for lots, and other San Diego and Orange County cities.

The only adjustment to suggested rate increases was to cap the hourly parking lot rate at $4 an hour, rather than the initially proposed $5, per state Coastal Commission recommendations.

Parking lot rates were last increased in 2011. Street meter rates were previously raised in 2010.

A couple of residents expressed concern that low-wage earners would not be able to afford fees. City staff gave assurance that free lots east of the railroad tracks will remain open.

“The highest rates will be at the beach, lesser rates will be further from the beach,” Kiel Koger, city public works director, said.

Another option for drivers is to purchase an annual parking pass, which can be used in all city lots. The cost remains $100 for residents and $200 for non-residents.

“It’s a pretty good bargain,” Koger said.

No overnight parking of recreational vehicles in lot 1 on Riverside Drive was included in the approved resolution.

The allowance for long-term parking has caused lot 1 to serve as a storage area for recreational vehicles.

Other city lots do not allow overnight parking, or limited parking to 72 hours.

The resolution also included the temporary closure of lot 23 on North Cleveland Street for construction of the North Beach Promenade mixed-use and parking structure project, and lot 24 on North Myers Street to stage equipment and materials for another construction project.

The city will see more parking spaces when all downtown Nine Block Master Plan development is completed. Currently three blocks are built, three are under construction, and three have entitlements. Final projects are expected to break ground in 2018.

An additional request from residents was for a parking study. The city plans to begin one as early as the end of the month.