Ryan Chartrand

Say goodbye to free parking in Pismo Beach.

Since March 18, drivers have been required to pay for parking in downtown lots between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Visitors looking to park in the pier lot or lots on the 100 and 200 blocks of Pomeroy and Hinds avenues must now pay $1 an hour. Those who choose to park in the outlying city lots pay 75 cents per hour, while the Addie Street lot remains free.

“The money is going to be used to provide funding for parking projects and maintenance,” said Aveda Stafford, a visitor’s host at the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce. “It’s meant to eliminate the parking problems we currently have, and perhaps go toward building a parking structure in the future.”

It is estimated that the city will collect $564,000 a year after implementing the parking fees, which will apply to drivers seven days a week, including holidays.

Many students on campus were surprised to hear about the new expense, and most thought it was unnecessary.

“I’ll probably try to park somewhere else depending on how long I’m staying,” said journalism junior Karen DeRoss. “If we go to the beach, it’s usually Pismo, so it’ll probably affect me and my friends a lot.”

However, the idea of parking somewhere else presents the possibility of overcrowding and parking problems in residential neighborhoods surrounding the downtown area.

Other students, including electrical engineering freshman Andrew Palchak, said they will now use alternative beaches with free parking.

“I had no idea they were doing this, but I think it’s ridiculous,” Palchak said. “I go surfing there in the morning and I’ll probably start going to Morro Bay more often. It’s better to surf at Morro anyway, but it’s still nice to go to Pismo sometimes, and now I probably won’t.”

Though most feel the new fees are unnecessary, there are other students who believe the change isn’t such a big deal.

“I don’t really go that much in the first place, and when I do go, I don’t think a dollar an hour is that much,” said Amanda Kwiatkowski, a modern languages and literatures senior. “It’s really not that big of an inconvenience.”

Drivers now pay at kiosks located in each of the charging lots, which accept credit and debit cards as well as cash and coins.

Only time will tell what effect parking fees will have on students and the surrounding Pismo Beach community, but according to Stafford, it will likely change very little.

“I don’t think it will affect people coming; it might, but I doubt it,” she said.

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