Circulate San Diego and the Downtown San Diego Partnership sent a letter to Mayor Gloria and the City Council requesting that the City update its rules on how parking revenues can be spent. The full letter and its attached memorandum are available here. Current rules from the City of San Diego restrict how parking revenues can be spent by Community Parking Districts. The rules largely limit expenditures to projects that create new parking. As a result, the City’s Parking Districts have more than $9 million in unspent revenues.
Circulate San Diego created a memorandum, which was attached to the letter, analyzing the legal landscape regarding parking meter revenues. Recent caselaw, and the adoption by California voters of Proposition 26 in 2010, clarify that parking revenues are not governed by rules that limit the uses of either fees or taxes. The City of San Diego therefore has the ability to update its policies to allow parking revenues to be spent on a wider variety of activities than only parking.
Rules can and should be expanded to allow for these funds to contribute to transportation amenities that do not impact parking demands, including for safer streets, crosswalks, bus shelters, and clean-and-safe programs. Updated rules can help neighborhoods invest in themselves, while also contributing to the City’s Vision Zero and Climate Action Plan goals.