Published April 21, 2021
The City of San Diego’s Community Parking Districts have more than $9 million in unspent revenues collected from parking meters. Since 2009, the City Attorney has considered parking meter revenues to be “fees,” which places limits on how Parking Districts may spend those revenues. However, in 2010, voters adopted Proposition 26, which amended the California Constitution and clarified that revenues generated from charging for the use of government property, including revenues from parking meters, are not fees or taxes. These parking revenues can therefore legally be spent for any government purpose.
Proposition 26 allows the City of San Diego to revisit its policies and to expand how parking meter revenue can be spent by Community Parking Districts. The City of San Diego can and should update its policy and join many of its peer jurisdictions in California that allow parking revenues to be spent on a wide variety neighborhood amenities for residents, visitors, and businesses.
Parking meter revenues could be spent on amenities that provide transportation access to the neighborhood in a manner that would not burden limited parking resources, including:
- Intersection murals
- Bicycle lanes
- Storage for bicycles, scooters, etc.
- Improvements to transit stops
- Transportation planning and outreach activities
- Education and encouragement programs for active transportation and public transit ridership
- Transit pass subsidy programs
Revenues could also be spent to fund activities that attract more customers and visitors, including:
- Marketing and promotions
- Maintenance and “clean-and-safe” activities