Street parking in Avila Beach remains free, at least for now

clambert@thetribunenews.comFebruary 28, 2014 

Parking can be hard to find in downtown Avila Beach, even on a Monday afternoon in late February.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Street parking in downtown Avila Beach will remain free for now.

The Port San Luis Harbor Commission this week decided to focus on developing a parking plan for its harbor lot at Port San Luis, and to wait and see if San Luis Obispo County officials want to pursue paid parking in downtown Avila.

“Should the county choose to … develop a program, at some point in the future, we would be happy to be part of that conversation,” Port San Luis Harbor Manager Steve McGrath said.

For now, the harbor district will continue to manage a paid parking lot off First Street in Avila Beach, which costs $5 for all-day parking. But even on busy days, some beachgoers choose to circle the small town in search of a free spot.

“We’re not going to be doing anything in the current or near-term… because it’s not necessarily called for yet,” county Supervisor Adam Hill said.

McGrath said in a previous interview that installing parking meters on downtown streets, including Front Street, could lead to more turnover of prime parking spots. Doing so could benefit businesses in those areas and bring additional money to the district.

There are 1,771 parking spots in Avila Beach and Port San Luis, including along Avila Beach Drive, according to a study completed last year for the harbor district. Of those, 525 are in the town of Avila Beach, and 246 have three-hour parking limits.

The harbor commission will continue to discuss parking needs in its harbor lot and on Harford Pier, which have 287 spaces total.

It’s a unique area, the study noted, because the lot is used in early morning hours by those involved in the fishing industry and late in the evening by restaurant patrons.

The study recommended some metered parking on the pier and in the harbor parking lot to encourage turnover near the busy commercial areas. It also suggested offering an all-day parking pass for sale as well as monthly passes for employees. Those who lease moorings might have a monthly pass included in their mooring fee.

The study can be found on the Harbor District’s website.

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