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Letter: City parking program needs more money and personnel 

city parking program
To the editor,

This item is on the City Council agenda, Tuesday night 10-1-19.

The Police Department is requesting an additional Community Services Officer position under the Downtown Parking Fund, approve an inter-fund loan for the start-up cost of the Downtown Parking Program, and approve appropriations from the Downtown Parking Fund; adding another Community Services Officer (i.e. Parking Ambassador) position (Technician II classification).

I have never been in favor of this program. I don’t like the concept. I don’t like registering my vehicle license number every time I want to do something as quick & simple as pick-up a to-go order. I don’t like that out of 34 kiosks, only 3 accept cash. That means, to be really safe from a citation, I have to download the app to my phone and enter my credit card information. Or I have to hike back to one of those cash-accepting kiosks on Park. I’m told that there is no plan to have any more than those 3, be cash-accepting.

At the September 17th City Council meeting, Mayor Martin referenced an informal “survey” taken regarding the satisfaction, or not, with the new parking kiosks/procedures.

He said that overall there were more people liking as opposed to disliking the program.

And then, Councilman Steve Gregory commented….”the most difficulty seems to be with the senior citizens”.

Don’t you think that’s something for the city to address rather than just mention in a passing comment?

There are lots of people, in lots of age brackets, that are reluctant to enter their credit card into a machine/kiosk, when by today’s standards, they are unsafe.
My senior neighbors are ok with entering their vehicle license number because thieves can’t do much with that. But not their credit card. Please don’t tell me about the security software these kiosks are using. Think Equifax!

When a substantial number of your constituents fall into the senior category, don’t you all think there is some bias here to be addressed?

These seniors spend a substantial amount of their income here in this town, and taking the action to discourage them from enjoying their own downtown seems somewhat short-sighted.

If we don’t go downtown to shop or eat because you’ve made it too difficult, then why would we bring our visiting friends and relatives?

Our mobility issues are not always handicap-placard worthy. Our pace has often been slowed and made more difficult simply by the ravages of time. Not because we have a medical disability.

We don’t want to use our phones (if we have them) to conduct business. For the most part, we are a pay-with-cash generation.

My question is: Why can’t they put a couple of cash kiosks on Pine? Maybe one in front of the theater and another at the corner of Pine & 12th street. How much easier it would be for our senior citizens who go to the show, or to any restaurant on Pine Street. Placing the cash-accepting kiosks on Park Street only, is unacceptable.

But I digress. Let’s go back to this never-ending need for more money and more personnel to ensure the success of this program. Are we so financially committed, that we can’t back out? This was not a cheap spend, to begin with. But when will it end? When is enough, enough?

You can let the City Council know how you feel by emailing them at

Concerned citizen,
Jan Albin
Paso Robles

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