Proposal surfaces to charge for beach parking

City News Service

Charging for parking near beaches in San Diego is back on the table, according to a report released Wednesday by the city's independent budget analyst.

The IBA released a list of spending cuts and revenue increases suggested by members of the City Council, and the first item was to "charge for parking at our beaches, bays and regional parks.'' No details were attached to the report, which is just a list of ideas without specific locations attached to it.

City officials have brought up the concept of charging for parking in the past. In 2005, a proposal to levy parking fees on non-residents failed 7-1.

Opponents said the plan was discriminatory and that drivers seeking free parking would disrupt nearby residential neighborhoods. They also disputed estimates that charging for parking would raise more than $1 million annually.

Erin Demorest, an aide to First District Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, said in an e-mail Wednesday evenintn, "As a longtime opponent of paid public parking, Sherri is strongly opposed to this suggestion to charge for parking at beaches, bays and regional parks."

In an e-mail to City News Service from a spokesman, Councilman Kevin Faulconer said he opposed the idea. Faulconer's district includes southern La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Mission Bay.

Other proposals from City Council members include taking hotel room tax money used to promote San Diego and putting it in the general fund, eliminating as many take-home vehicles for employees as possible, making library branch hours more flexible, and consolidating public information and management analyst positions.

The suggestions are scheduled to be discussed at the City Council's Budget Committee hearing next week.



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