New Arena Parking Plan Could Affect Old Sacramento Businesses

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Pretty soon, a lot of people will be fantasizing of traveling back in time to the days when parking in Old Sacramento wasn't so darn expensive.

Luckily for street performer Tony Harris, he doesn’t drive, opting to take the light rail to old sac for work. While he's excited about the new Golden One Arena and all it promises, he says the City of Sacramento's proposal to pay for it—partially paid with increased event parking rates in a 12-block radius—might drive some people right out of old town.

“The wealthy people will be able to afford to pay for that, the poor people won’t” Harris said.

With the new special event meter zones in Old Sac, once your two hours expires at the meter at $1.75, you can still add more time. But that will cost you the average price of parking in a city owned garage. Any time after that hour, will be 25% more than that rate.

City of Sacramento parking services says flat fees for major arena events with more than 15,000 people could top $18.75 for a metered street spot near the arena.

"I'm actually happy they're gonna be charging an appropriate rate."

Tim Castleman owns Practical Cycle on J Street, and he says the higher parking rates climb, the more likely people are to take alternative transportation, like a bike, to Old Sac. As for people buying his bikes, he says higher parking rates might affect his sales.

"People have a hard time and they want to park close to the front door,” Castleman said. “Even though we have a garage a few blocks away, and we give them two hours free, they don't always know that, so it's hard."

Then again, more foot traffic is good for guys like Harris, giving him more exposure. So if you come to a big event, and leave with an even bigger ticket, Harris will be here to soften the blow.

"I make [people] feel good—they make me feel good—with beautiful music,” Harris said.

The parking rate proposal will go to a vote at city council on Tuesday. If it’s passed, the rate increases will go into effect in late September.