Long Beach proposing parking meters for downtown business district
Hoping to add millions in new revenue, Long Beach city officials are exploring adding parking meters to its main central business district by this summer.
City officials have had two virtual public work sessions to consider adding meters to curbside parking and center parking lots downtown near City Hall. The meters would be added in the central business district, covering parking in three blocks in each direction between Lafayette and Monroe boulevards, officials announced during a work session last month.
The proposal must still go before the city council, where residents would be able to review formal plans and offer input before it is voted on or implemented. The city must approve a vendor and amend city code to add paid parking. Officials had initially hoped to approve parking meters by Memorial Day.
Parking rates have not been set, but models have included potentially $2 to $4 per hour in the summer and $1 in off season, generating from $6 million to $12 million annually for the city.
Residents would qualify for a 50% discount on annual parking permits and designated parking for downtown employees. The meters wound not extend into the eastern side of the city bordering Lido Beach or into the West End business district.
Long Beach officials have considered adding parking meters for more than a decade, but have not moved forward on paid parking. The city added parking meters to the LIRR station in 2004, which were upgraded in 2012.
The State Financial Restructuring Board has recommended the city add parking kiosks to the central business district and provided $500,000 in grants. City leaders said the additional revenue could help offset the city’s fiscal crisis facing nearly $500 million in debt and long-term liabilities and obligations.
"This administration came in two years ago and uncovered dire finances," city spokesman John McNally said during the work session. "We have been looking at alternative revenues other than parking. The charge was that this long-term debt and structural imbalances not overly burden residents and correct the issues of the past in property taxes. We’re looking at what revenues visitors to Long Beach would be able to shoulder."
City officials said the cost of maintaining free parking lots is passed onto residents. The turnover of the available spaces can also equal between $20,000 and $100,000 in annual revenue for downtown businesses, McNally said.
"We hope to turn the expenses for all 35,000 residents in the city to the actual users of the central business district," McNally said. "The economic development to have those parking spots open is immeasurably important … right now people are parking in those spots and they never open up."
The city would have parking kiosks available, but encourage parking apps to register vehicles. Free short-term parking would be available near City Hall, the train station and post office. Paid parking would be in effect daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. with longer time available near restaurants after 5 p.m.
The city’s parking consultant, Gerard Giosa, said he has added similar parking plans to downtowns in Patchogue and Bay Shore, which have increased business and economic activity.
"Employees and customers can find spots, there’s less double parking and healthy parking patterns," Giosa said.
Proposed Parking Meters
Long Beach Central Business District between Lafayette and Magnolia boulevards
Projected to draw between $6 million to $12 million in annual revenue
50% discounts planned for city residents