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East San Rafael Parking Update 5/30/24

Posted on May 31, 2024

The City of San Rafael continues its efforts to alleviate the ongoing parking issues in East San Rafael. Most notably, the City has hired Dixon Resources Unlimited (Dixon), a consulting firm with extensive experience in nationwide parking program development, to develop a residential permit parking program and parking action plan. The City and Dixon are approaching this project in a way that acknowledges and builds upon the years of extensive outreach and feedback the City has gleaned from the broader East San Rafael Community. Below you will find several updates regarding the City’s ongoing efforts to alleviate parking issues in East San Rafael, as well as updates from the Dixon team on their work to date.

City Initiatives:

  • City-Owned Land and Parking Configurations:
    • The “Spinnaker Point Parking Modifications” initiative has been completed, adding approximately 20 new on-street and off-street parking spaces. The project involved realigning the sidewalk and installing angled parking for nearby residents.
  • Modification of Time Limit Restrictions:
    • The four-hour parking limit on weekends in the commercial zone has been removed. Allowing long-term parking for community members during many businesses’ closed hours has enhanced parking accessibility and convenience.
  • On-Street Parking Markings (“T’s” and “L’s”):
    • The City continues to add “T’s” and “L’s” on multiple streets throughout East San Rafael. For a full list of streets receiving this treatment, view pages 114 – 133 of the project specifications for the T’s and L’s map. The City will finish the street marking project by the end of 2024.
  • Expanded Parking Enforcement:
    • The City has expanded targeted parking enforcement hours, deploying additional parking officers periodically throughout the day and evening hours to mitigate illegal parking that poses accessibility and safety concerns.
  • Walkability and Transportation Improvements:
    • The Department of Public Works has received an Active Transportation Program grant which will be used for the Canal transportation experience project (CTEP) which includes lighting, pedestrian and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements, striping upgrades, transit stop improvements, and bicycle improvements. We anticipate this grant to be funded in the fall of 2024 and work to begin in the beginning of 2025.
  • Windward Way Pilot Project:
    • The proposal to gate Windward Way, increase security and lighting, and explore overnight parking fees has been discontinued after a review by City of San Rafael staff determined it would not enhance parking capacity.
  • Collaboration and Parking Agreements:
    • The City will explore a potential collaboration with the County Health and Human Services for after-hours parking as a component of the work of Dixon.
    • Efforts to negotiate shared parking agreements with owners of suitable off-street parking lots (e.g., Cardenas, local clinics) identified during the task force meetings are still being considered and have been mentioned to DIXON for review as they analyze in developing the residential parking permit program.
  • Public Education:
    • Parking Services staff, in their public interactions often inform single family home residents about their ability to park parallel on city streets in front of their driveway to mitigate parking shortages. In addition, parking staff have worked with the Homeowner Association’s (HOA’s) in East San Rafael and encouraged those groups to inform their members about the ability to park parallel in front of their driveways.

Dixon Progress Update:

The City shared years of background documentation, including previous studies, meeting minutes, and policies, and provided context on how residential parking needs have evolved over time. To date, Dixon has completed the background documentation review, conducted two days of parking data collection, and held regular project meetings with City staff to plan an upcoming stakeholder and community outreach process. Below is an overview of the parking occupancy data collection process and a summary of their initial considerations based on their background documentation review.

Data Collection:

Dixon field staff collected data using license plate recognition (LPR) technology to record parking utilization at on-street locations throughout East San Rafael and Bret Harte neighborhoods on two days in April 2024 (see Table 1). The purpose of this data collection process is to capture current occupancy levels and parking turnover information to support the analysis of parking supply and demand in the neighborhoods included in the map in Figure 1.  The results of this survey will be posted on the City’s project website in early June.

Table 1. Data Collection Schedule

Date Run 1 Run 2 Run 3 Run 4
Thursday, April 18th 9:00 AM 12:00 PM 6:00 PM 12:00 AM
Saturday, April 20th 9:00 AM 12:00 PM 6:00 PM 12:00 AM


Figure 1. Study Areas

map of streets in the canal

Initial Considerations:

Based on the background documentation review and preliminary conversations with City staff, Dixon has identified the following initial actions and considerations for the development of the parking plan:

  • Parking enforcement
    • Continue to evaluate and adjust enforcement operating hours.
    • Continue parking enforcement seven days per week while reviewing how the City can leverage technology to optimize efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Parking inventory
    • Continue progress in adding on-street markings to define parking spaces.
    • Evaluate locations for shared parking agreements with private property owners to increase both daytime and overnight parking supply for permit holders.
    • Consider potential remote parking locations, such as leveraging commercial on-street parking after hours for permit parking.
  • Program development.
    • Identify the average number of vehicles per household for each zone.
    • Design permit types, permit eligibility, and a pricing solution that is equitable and inclusive (considering single-family homes and multi-unit dwellings), mindful of different vehicle types (e.g., personal vehicles and work trucks), and cognizant of ongoing administrative costs.
  • Program implementation.
    • Review and modify parking permit language in the Municipal Code according to the final recommendations.
    • Pursue a phased, incremental approach in the introduction of the Residential Parking Permit (RPP) program.
    • Conduct outreach to inform the public of available, safe parking locations.

These items represent initial actions and considerations. Dixon will be working over the summer months to develop additional recommendations and further analysis on:

  • a pilot program partnering with businesses and buildings with parking along Kerner Blvd. on nights and weekends,
  • traffic flow and striping improvements,
  • ways to promote alternative transportation, and
  • technology improvements to optimize permit processing and parking enforcement operations.

DIXON continues to engage with City staff in the RPP development process and looks forward to solution-design conversations with the Task Force and public later this year.

Contact Bernadette Sullivan at if you have any questions or additional comments on East San Rafael parking updates.

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