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Council to consider downtown parking recommendations

Increased parking enforcement, downtown shuttle service, and redevelopment of city hall are on the table during Special Meeting

City Council will consider how to move forward with managing the supply and demand for downtown parking in Redlands. (Photo: Community Forward Redlands)

REDLANDS, Calif. – The Redlands City Council is holding a special meeting to consider the future of parking in downtown Redlands. The Council will be reviewing key recommendations from the 2023 Downtown Parking Study.

What's at stake: The City Council will determine how to achieve a balance between the city's goal of enhancing a pedestrian-friendly, walkable urban core while providing adequate parking for car-reliant residents, customers, and visitors.

Details: During the Special Meeting on Wednesday, Jan 31, the City Council is expected to consider the following recommendations included in the agenda staff report:

  1. Increase parking enforcement of timed-parking zones;
  2. Security and lighting improvements to Citrus garage and Centennial Plaza underground parking;
  3. Analyze redevelopment opportunities of the existing City Hall site;
  4. Lease the San Bernardino County Transit Authority parking lot at 7th Street and railroad tracks; and
  5. Adding a downtown shuttle service to the 2024-26 budget request.

The City Council is expected to determine which of the items it will direct city staff to pursue.

The background

The 2023 Downtown Parking Study conducted by Walker Consultants aimed to assess parking availability and utilization in downtown Redlands and provide recommendations to address concerns.

The study found that nearly half of the approximately 5,000 parking spaces in the core downtown area were unused during peak times. Meanwhile, parking on and near State Street was often almost fully occupied, posing challenges for visitors seeking convenient access.

Based on these findings and priorities identified through public outreach, Walker Consultants recommended several actions to enhance the downtown parking experience. The recommendations fall into three categories: managing current supply, managing demand, and increasing supply.

You can read details about the consultant's recommendations here.

Downtown Redlands parking study explained
What you need to know about Redlands 2023 Downtwon Parking Study

Response from community stakeholders

The Traffic and Parking Commission (TPC) reviewed the final Walker report on May 25, 2023, and proposed recommendations for the City Council's consideration. The TPC supports increasing enforcement of timed parking areas, developing shared-use agreements with private lots downtown, and improving the safety of existing public parking facilities.

Additionally, the commission suggested improving shading on downtown pedestrian corridors and conducting a study on adding parking spaces on Citrus Avenue.

However, the TPC did not support implementing a paid parking program or establishing a Parking Benefits District reliant on paid parking revenue. They also opposed a feasibility study for a new parking garage on the City Hall site due to cost concerns.

During the Dec. 5 City Council meeting, the Redlands Chamber of Commerce shared recommendations and concerns from its members. The Chamber emphasized local business owners' concerns over current parking supply, particularly during the future Redlands Mall construction.

They support a feasibility study to convert the current city hall complex into a multi-level mixed-use parking facility, creating a Parking Benefit District, phased parking enforcement, and improvements to existing parking structures. The Chamber is also advocating for a plan to manage the impact of special events on downtown parking.

Initially, the Downtown Redlands Parking Study did not consider the parking needs of special events, but city staff compiled a summary of events, including the Redlands Bowl, to assess their impact. This is expected to be discussed at the upcoming meeting.

Moving forward: The Redlands City Council will meet on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 6:30 to discuss the next steps in developing a plan for managing downtown parking.

The meeting can be attended online or in person at the Council Chambers on 35 Cajon Street.

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