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City of San Rafael Releases Request for Proposals to Develop Residential Parking Program in East San Rafael

Posted on November 16, 2023


East San Rafael is a vibrant and diverse area that has traditionally been marked by socio-economic disparities compared to the rest of San Rafael. The area has a mix of residential and commercial spaces and has faced an increased demand for parking due to population growth, housing shortages, economic development, and changes in land use. In response to ongoing concerns, over the past 6 years, the City has conducted discussions, studies, regulatory adjustments, and implementation of potential solutions to alleviate the parking problems and optimize existing conditions. 

As a next step to address parking challenges in the community the City is soliciting proposals from qualified mobility, traffic, and parking consulting firms to develop a residential parking permit program that aligns with the unique needs and preferences of the City, while also drawing upon best practices from similar programs implemented in other municipalities. The goal is to design a program to enable residents to park close to their homes during peak hours. The program should consider the historical context of each neighborhood, address visitor needs, and incorporate equity and affordability without imposing financial burdens on low-income residents, while maintaining cost neutrality. 

Background 

This City of San Rafael’s current residential parking permit policy has not been widely utilized for several reasons, including thresholds outlined in the policy to establish a permit program. For example, initiating the residential parking permit program requires a request to the City’s Traffic Coordinating Committee as well as petition of no less than 1,500 residences, with at least 67% of those residences voting in favor to establish the parking permit. Then, an initial city-funded parking study assesses on-street parking utilization, verifying at least 75% occupancy. Upon study validation and approval from the City Council, enforcement measures would be established, and a one-time fee would be charged to the occupants covering the start-up costs. Finally, a majority of the district’s occupants must purchase the permits, which would be reissued annually, with guest permits also available. The City’s full policy is available here. 

What Has Been Done So Far? 

The City Council initiated a comprehensive 6-month study in 2016, focusing on assessing existing parking conditions in East San Rafael and developing sustainable and actionable parking solutions. The insights gained in the East San Rafael Parking Study played a crucial role in shaping regulatory reforms, aimed at both residential and commercial zones. Since 2016, the City conducted additional outreach to the community and launcehd pilot programs including time-limited parking in 2018 (with exceptions granted on weekends), striped angled parking added in 2020 along Kerner Blvd, the addition of the Spinnaker Point parking lot, and the Windward after-hours parking program. 

Parking continues to remain a challenge for the area, and it has become evident that the implementation of a parking permit program may be required to better manage and allocate parking resources in East San Rafael. The City of San Rafael is committed to working with residents and businesses to ease the burden of daily parking and find solutions that work for all of the East San Rafael community. 

 

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