Santa Ana City Manager Proposes Increase in Downtown Parking Rates

Santa Ana City Manager David Cavazos is proposing to increase parking rates at metered spaces and city-owned garages downtown, arguing that the city is currently charging below market rates, according to several sources.

Cavazos’ proposal comes as downtown business owners and residents express growing frustration about the parking situation. They aired their complaints Wednesday at a town hall hosted by Councilwoman Michele Martinez at the Frida Cinema and circulated a petition signed by at least 31 business owners or representatives.

Several who attended the town hall meeting complained about rude  enforcers, newly installed digital meters that run out before they should, poor lighting at the garages, and an unfair burden on daytime businesses because the meters stop charging at 8 p.m.

“It’s like downtown Santa Ana is closed for business,” Claudia Arellanes, owner of Mega Furniture on Fourth street, said about the parking enforcers’ affect on potential customers view of the downtown. “They need to be business friendly. That’s [the] number one priority.”

A document obtained by Voice of OC shows the city had been planning to increase rates from $1 per hour to $2 per hour, and from $7 daily to $12. The monthly rate would increase from $40 to $60.

The proposed rates are expected to generate $5.6 million in revenue in the next fiscal year, a $2.6 million increase over the previous year, according to the document.

The document also reveals a number of expenses city leaders are planning for the downtown.

They include: $5.1 million in parking garage improvements; several millions dollars more for marketing; a police substation; additional police officers; security cameras at the garages and around downtown; more wayfinding signage; alleyway improvements; a bike share program and pedestrian safety enhancements, among other costs.

Meanwhile, the petition signed by businesses pays particular attention to wayfinding signs on Fourth street. It essentially says the current signs directs drivers to a parking garage entrance that is blocked at night, and that an “immediate, simple resolution” is needed.

Martinez said she would be meeting with Cavazos about the parking issues on Monday.

Complaints about parking issues are bubbling up because of a spike in the number of downtown visitors, according to the petition and business representatives who attended the town hall.

Downtown Santa Ana has witnessed a food renaissance as new restaurants flood the area. But some longtime Latino residents and businesses view the changes as a gentrification wave that will eventually force them out.

That tension, which has been simmering at different levels of intensity for years, again spilled over at the town hall, with residents debating whether a proposed resolution to create a wellness district in the area amounts to making it exclusively Latino.

The City Council is expected to vote on the wellness district next week.

  • Yiannis51

    That’s how this guy operates. He is No Whiz Boy, he just finds sneaky ways to take taxpayer money just like in Phoenix. Like the saying goes, “it’s dejavu all over again!”

  • SantaAna Resident

    Out of one side of his mouth, the city manager says parking revenues are
    already up significantly, and from the other he now says he wants to
    raise fees on parking meters by 100% and parking garages by 33% and
    more! This makes no sense!
    Where is the new “downtown economic
    development” staff that was supposedly hired? do they understand that
    costing more is not conducive to what others are trying to do growing
    the downtown?
    Under this city manager’s short tenure, we have seen
    the city reach into taxpayer pockets with an increase in user’s utility
    taxes and sewer and water fee increases, not to cover costs, but to pay
    for infrastructure the city has neglected and should be paying for out
    of general funds. Now we see the city manager wants to ding outsiders
    and residents alike with new fees going to pay for improvements and
    repairs that should also be funded under existing revenues. None of
    this is logical if the city is on strong financial footing like the city
    manager claims.
    The prices in this city just go up and up. Is Santa Ana really the golden city, or just another city that just wants your gold?