There are a number of things the City of Sacramento could be doing to better manage parking: Parking reform for Sacramento. But perhaps the most important is removing parking mandates, those city regulations that require developers to put in parking whether it is needed or will be used, or not.
The city council in January 2021 adopted the Proposed Roadway Changes document that had been recommended by staff working on the 2040 General Plan update. This is a very large document, so the relevant section on parking is excerpted. It states, in unequivocal terms:
10. Eliminate City-mandated parking minimums citywide and introduce parking maximums.City of Sacramento, Council Report 15, 2021-01-19, 2040 General Plan Update – Draft Land Use Map, Proposed Roadway Changes, and other Key Strategies
Here we are, about two years later, and the staff is recommending considerably less in the draft plan, that action ‘could include’. Not will include, not studied on a timeline, not implemented, but maybe we will think about it, if we get around to that. Could that city have come up with any more vague and unserious language?
Parking Management Strategy. The City shall continue to deploy a parking management strategy that optimizes the use of existing supply, minimizes the need for the construction of new parking facilities, and promotes the use of active modes of transportation, public transit, and highoccupancy vehicles. Program components could include the following:
City of Sacramento, draft 2040 General Plan
- Adjusting parking management strategies based on goals and needs;
- Adjusting parking meter hours and pricing for effective management;
- Eliminating City-mandated parking minimums;
- Implementing parking maximums along established transit corridors;
- Allowing unbundled parking in conjunction with strategies to reduce the need for private automobiles;
- Incorporating or facilitating technology such as smart-phone apps and wayfinding signage that direct drivers to open parking spaces in real-time, automated and/ or stacked parking systems, or parking technologies that improve parking efficiency in mixed-use centers and corridors;
- Supporting the use of alternative modes by providing alternative programs in lieu of monthly parking passes and discounts; and
- Improving branding, communications, and wayfinding signage.
It should be noted that the General Plan language implies that the city has a parking management strategy, or a parking management plan. So far as the public knows, it does not. So the city is referencing something that either does not exist or has never been shared with the public. The first thing that the General Plan must include is a commitment to developing a parking management plan, with public engagement, and then sharing the plan with the public. The plan does not even mention this.