I was surprised a couple of months ago to learn from City Council members that the plans for our new downtown hotel have changed so that there will now be no on-site parking, except for a few handicap parking spaces. This is because the planned underground parking of about 100 spaces for patrons and employees is now deemed “too expensive” for a for-profit hotel. The hotel parking is now going to be near the corner of Railroad and L Street where the old pool and spa store was. That is across two very busy streets, Livermore Ave. and Railroad Ave., and down a long block. I am curious to know how many people in town are aware of this change. No one that I have talked to has known of it.

This gives hotel patrons three choices that I can see:

“Free” valet parking which really means that when you want to go somewhere you have to wait, possibly with others leaving at the same time, while a hotel employee runs across those two busy streets, down the long block and then drives clear around back to the hotel. Then you will need to tip the valet. If you need anything from your car, you won’t have access to it without running that gauntlet.

Park your car there yourself and walk back and forth across those two busy streets and down that long block, again without easy access to anything in your car. That is a very limited option for many people who have physical issues, as well as being very unpleasant in hot summer or cold wet winter conditions.

Park in one of the public parking lots or garages close to the hotel. This means that as many as 80 or so cars belonging to patrons and employees of the hotel might be taking up much needed new parking spaces around Livermore Ave. The only way to avoid that is to have either metered parking that limits time parked or to put up signs limiting parking time. Either of those options would require the city to hire more police or traffic officers to enforce the parking limits by marking all those cars regularly and ticketing those that stay too long. I am wondering if the city budget has that additional cost factored in. It is an additional cost that would be solely due to permitting a hotel to be built without on-site parking.

This doesn’t make sense to me.