The city’s determination to “sell” paid parking and residential permit parking to the residents of South Lake Tahoe is being met with strong opposition. The nearly 100 people who attended Monday night’s residential parking permit and kiosks meeting was a demonstration of how passionate this community is about free access to the lake and the continued confusion over residential permit parking.
People should be able to park in their own neighborhoods without exposure to a $50 parking ticket. Listening to the community dialogue, I’d say this is becoming a public relations concern.
It was just three weeks ago at the April 16 City Council meeting that anyone outside city government learned of the “new” expanded parking plan. Something Police Chief Brian Uhler describes as, “A huge program involving lots of parts — it is complex.”
By expanding the seasonal parking plan to 12 months, seven days per week, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with rates starting at $2 per hour, they have effectively eliminated any opportunity for free use of the beaches by the locals who often yield them to tourists until after Labor Day.
I am perplexed by our City Council’s stubborn support of a parking plan that by staff’s own projections will earn just $150,000 per year, with the promise that more can be gained by issuing parking citations. The kiosks alone cost $250,000.
Considering the city’s overall budget of $95 million, this $150,000 is viewed by some as the equivalent of having a bake sale to save the city’s budget. As a community, we should be able to come up with revenue strategies that don’t piss off half the town.
In my view, free lake access is fundamental and should be at the center of any tourism, recreation and community vision plan that we have for ourselves.
South Lake Tahoe