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Indybay Feature
Postponement of Signature Gathering for Voter Right to Decide on Downtown Parking Garage
by Campaign for Sustainable Transportation
Friday Mar 13th, 2020 9:31 PM
[March 13, 2020] To help reduce the serious risk of COVID-19 spreading in our community, the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation is postponing petition signature gathering to place on the ballot Santa Cruz city voters’ right to decide on future construction of a parking garage downtown. CFST wants our community to thrive, and there is no more fundamental basis for the common good than public health. Each of us individually and all of us collectively must work to create a sustainable community and a sustainable planet. We will reevaluate how to proceed in light of developments as they unfold.
The overwhelmingly positive response since the petition drive March 7th Kickoff clearly demonstrates wide support for the ballot initiative. Voters understand that investment in single-auto infrastructure is not needed downtown and no longer makes sense in light of the climate crisis. Now, the likely adverse economic effects of the pandemic underscore the folly of embarking on an $87 million dollar garage project. Experts in transportation and parking demand regard building a parking garage as a “last resort.” It should not be pursued so long as less expensive and environmentally sustainable approaches to parking management are available.

In 2016 the City contracted with Nelson\Nygaard transportation consultants to create a strategic plan for parking Downtown. Their study asserts, “The most fiscally prudent approach to accommodating additional demand: Modernize parking management and better align parking prices to the cost of building and maintaining the system.”

The Santa Cruz City Council has yet to discuss the Nelson\Nygaard downtown parking study (available here). In this moment of a compounded global public-health and economic crisis, CFST calls upon the City Council to immediately and fully review the study before spending any more money on planning a garage-library.

The last thing we need to do under present economic circumstances is to embark on a financially risky project that could fail to generate the revenue necessary to meet the debt obligations it incurs. The City of Santa Cruz already has far more pressing needs that require its attention and financial resources.

Press release, March 13, 2020
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