As part of its ongoing efforts to revitalize downtown, the Pismo Beach City Council took a small step on Tuesday to address one of the area’s largest concerns: parking.
The council unanimously approved a $75,000 contract with Walker Parking Consultants to develop the Downtown Parking Enhancements Plan, which would identify the best options for how the city should address its growing parking needs.
During the discussion, Councilwoman Sheila Blake shared a story about driving downtown last weekend to highlight the area’s parking problem. She described driving down Pomeroy
Avenue, only to be met with a long line of cars stalled along a several-block stretch because one person was waiting to turn in to the single available parallel parking space.
“It was like driving in Beverly Hills,” Blake said. “It was ridiculous. We need a solution for this.”
As the number of tourists flocking to Pismo Beach has grown, the city has faced more complaints about lack of available parking from both visitors and residents, especially throughout the downtown hub, City Manager Jim Lewis said before Tuesday night’s meeting.
And as the city attempts to attract more visitors, those problems are only expected to grow.
The city has explored options for adding parking downtown for several years, Lewis said, including building parking structures or parking lots on several vacant parcels and adding more parking along Price Street, where cars park diagonally in the middle of the road.
Those plans can now progress further following the contract with Walker Parking Consultants, Lewis said.
Two major developments in the works could also substantially affect Pismo Beach’s parking situation, he said.
In September, the City Council approved plans to build a hotel resort at 601 Cypress Street in the heart of downtown Pismo Beach. The development, called the Inn at the Pier, would take the place of a dirt lot that is often used for parking on weekends.
To mitigate the lost parking spaces, the new hotel will feature an underground parking structure that would add about 127 parking spaces. It is expected to break ground in October, Lewis said.
Another hotel featuring an underground parking structure is in the works next door to the Inn at the Pier, at 147 Stimson Ave. The 128-room BeachWalk Resort would add about 166 parking spaces in an underground structure. The 94,000-square-foot hotel is in the permitting process, and no official construction date has been announced.
“These two places are game-changers,” Lewis said, noting the new hotels also fall in line with the city’s revitalization plans for downtown by improving the look and adding to the resort feel of the area.
The city is in the process of updating its citywide circulation element plan, which includes parking, and expects to have an updated plan before the council at the same time the downtown parking plan is completed this fall.
To garner input for the parking plans, the city will hold several public workshops to address parking needs in specific neighborhoods throughout Pismo Beach in the coming weeks.