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Santa Rosa downtown meter changes start to take effect

Santa Rosa parking officials have started to implement the City Council’s November directive that all downtown meters stop charging after 6 p.m., fulfilling a top request of the business and property owners.

Council members approved the change to the city’s 408 “premium” meters and 177 lot spaces near Old Courthouse Square and Railroad Square two weeks ago. City staff had to go to each of the relevant parking signs and meters to update them with the new downtown parking hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., effective as of Tuesday.

Downtown business community members had bemoaned the city’s decision to charge for parking on certain blocks until 8 p.m. Their contention was that charging that late was bad for business - an argument not borne out by city data showing consistent demand under the new downtown parking system, which began in January 2018.

There is no change to the location of “premium” and “value” spots, nor to their existing hourly rates, only the meters’ hours of operation. The city has yet to update the “value” zone areas, which represent about two-thirds of its downtown parking spaces, but it plans to do so soon.

You can reach Staff Writer Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or will.schmitt@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @wsreports.

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