image-parking on main street
City officials looked into the availability of parking downtown in advance of work on Carter Park. By and large, they found sufficient parking. Kyle Ludowitz / Review

As the city of Half Moon Bay moves forward with plans to upgrade John L. Carter Memorial Park, a preliminary study looked at parking needs for the downtown area. And officials found plenty of places to park.

“It’s important to understand how parking is being utilized for different times during the week, especially in downtown, where it can fluctuate,” said the city’s Public Works intern Ryan Anderson. 

He explained that city staff wanted to better analyze how downtown is affected during peak times and if there is enough parking for future projects. 

Data was collected during different times and days in the summer, and officials looked at the use of parking spaces in the downtown area, including the parking lots at Stone Pine Office Park, the post office, Shoreline Station, Cunha Intermediate School, the Ted Adcock Community Center and the library. 

The findings show parking occupancy was highest along Main Street and its adjacent blocks near Highway 92.

“Parking was always available in close proximity to any location downtown, even at peak times,” Anderson said. 

During a typical lunch rush at noon on Monday, street parking was 65 percent occupied and available parking lots were 37 percent used. 

“Parking availability was evenly dispersed, meaning that any location downtown has street parking that is less than 70 percent occupied within one block,” stated the report. 

The study did note that Saturday afternoon reported the highest occupancy for downtown and noon is “particularly problematic.” When multiple events are occurring at the same time, the study found a strain on parking. However, there is “plentiful parking within a quarter-mile of any location downtown,” Anderson said. 

Community Development Director Jill Ekas said the last such study on parking was in 2011, before the new library was constructed. 

“We have not had the chance to compare (those studies) yet,” Ekas said. She did say that overall parking is available and is not an issue. 

“This is showing that the two-hour parking limit is affecting turnover,” said Ekas. “The occupancy goal for a healthy Main Street is 85 to 90 percent, and you want your visitor to be able to have one out of 10 spots open. So this is showing very good data.”  

Ekas explained that the study would continue to look at other peak periods. 

“It’s just one point of time. I think you have to look at all the different peak periods together,” Ekas said. “It showed some use patterns and I’d like to do some more follow-up. For instance, we noted where accessible parking is and EV-charge parking is, but we did not count the occupancy of those.” 

Exceptions to the study’s results also included special event days, such as the city’s annual Art and Pumpkin Festival. 

“You do not plan your whole parking plan on the days of the festivals,” she said. 

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