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<br />Purrington, Teresa <br />From:Davis <> <br />Sent:Sunday, <br />To:Lee, Scott <br />Cc:E-mail Council Website <br />Subject:Rethink the Palm Nipomo Parking Structure <br />Hello Mr. Lee and City Council, <br /> <br />I was excited to hear that the city is considering replacing the surface parking lot on Palm and Nipomo with a multi-use <br />development. That excitement has turned to concern the more I have read about the proposed project. <br /> <br />My concerns with this project are that the City of SLO is failing its goals by prioritizing parking over housing, even at a <br />time when the 445 parking spaces are unnecessary and the city cannot afford the project. Additionally, the project is at <br />odds with the land use ideals set forth in the city's climate action plan and the completed project will undermine the <br />city's transportation goals. <br /> <br />The Palm Nipomo Parking Structure, as proposed, would demolish or move (but not replace) five downtown residences. <br />This area of downtown has very few housing options already, and whittling down residents' choices even further will <br />only hurt the neighborhood. The loss of these units comes at a time as housing costs near historic highs and flies in the <br />face of the direction that our current pro-housing city council wants to go. <br /> <br />City council and staff must look skeptically at the need for this amount of parking. A 2014 report prepared for the City of <br />San Luis Obispo by Walker Parking Consultants recommends that the city reevaluate "if or when the \[Palm Nipomo\] <br />parking structure should be built" given that existing parking structures are underutilized. In fact, Walker points out that <br />only 61 out of every 100 parking structure spaces saw use during peak hours. The Walker report advises meeting parking <br />needs by using demand-based pricing, making staff changes, and extending on-street enforcement until 9 PM. Nowhere <br />does Walker recommend building additional parking. <br /> <br />Meanwhile, staff and public alike are aware of the budget issues the city is facing: a shortfall of $8.9 million over the <br />next three years. In this context, the idea of spending an additional $23.6 million to add to an already abundant supply <br />of parking adds insult to injury. <br /> <br />The SLO Climate Action Plan "addresses the largest contributor to community emissions: vehicles." It also notes that <br />"land use patterns influence the transportation choices we make in our community on a daily basis. Compact mixed-use <br />neighborhoods that locate housing, jobs, recreation, and other daily needs within close proximity give us more choices <br />in what mode of transportation to use." The city needs more residents living, not just parking, downtown so that they <br />can walk and bike to work, entertainment, and local businesses. <br /> <br />Despite a stated commitment to multi-modal transportation by the City of SLO, business as usual will not get us there; <br />instead, city leaders need to take ambitious steps to accomplish that feat. A good start would be to redesign or reject <br />the current proposal. For example, why not wrap the garage with the proposed 5,000 sq ft of commercial space on the <br />ground floor, plus 50 housing units and the SLO Little Theater, and then use the remaining space for parking? You <br />wouldn't have 445 new parking spaces, but you would meet the needs of the community by checking off items on <br />everybody's wishlist (climate, commerce, culture, housing, and parking). <br /> <br />In conclusion, the Palm Nipomo parking structure project as proposed would fail the City of SLO in each of its four major <br />goals: <br />1 <br /> <br />