New “pay on foot” machines have been added to San Luis Obispo’s three downtown parking structures.
The system will now operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making it no longer free for customers leaving after parking attendants have left for the evening.
Parking booths will continue to be staffed by attendants who will accept cash or credit, but hours will vary by structure. If the booth is empty, parkers can pay by credit card at the exit or prior to leaving at one of the new “pay on foot” machines.
Street parking meter rates will continue to be free after 6 p.m.
“The new system will shorten the time to enter and exit each structure, provide additional payment options and will allow the city to dynamically link the parking availability by location to the city website and eventually to a mobile platform,” according to a City of San Luis Obispo press release.
The system is now in effect at the Marsh structure. The two structures on Palm Street will follow in the coming days.
Two new payment machines will be located at each of the three structures downtown, where users can pay for parking by cash or credit card before returning to their car and then inserting the validated ticket to exit.
“It could be a learning curve for people initially, but once people get used to the system, they will know that it’s going to get them in and out a lot faster,” San Luis Obispo parking manager Scott Lee said.
There will be no changes to the hourly cost of parking. Rates will continue to be free the first hour and $1.25 per hour thereafter. The daily maximum will remain $12.50.
According to Lee, the reason for this change was because the old system had been in place for 15 years and the new system will allow them to capture occupancy data in order to make the system more efficient. Lee said they are looking into ways for customers to check how full the parking garages are with the system.
No parking attendants will lose their jobs. They will continue to be on site, but not necessarily inside the exiting booth. Lee said that by allowing them to be on foot, it will help expedite the exiting process by providing assistance with payments and monitoring the garage.
“They will be able to walk around the garage, help out with directions and almost act as security guards,” Lee said. “It should enhance the customer’s experience.”