Sacramento ponders after-hours parking and higher rates for arena events

The city is debating higher prices for street parking near Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento once the arena opens in the fall.
The city is debating higher prices for street parking near Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento once the arena opens in the fall. rpench@sacbee.com

When Golden 1 Center opens in downtown Sacramento this fall, the city plans to have parking meters on nearby blocks run past the current 6 p.m. cutoff time. Some of those meters likely will be charging higher rates during events at the new arena.

What rates? Which blocks? Which events? Those questions remain up in the air, and that has caused consternation downtown lately. Business owners are worried their patrons will be scared away or boxed out by arena parkers. Some midtown residents worry about their neighborhoods becoming arena overflow parking.

Several Sacramento City Council members said they don’t want to make downtown less friendly by creating a larger zone than they need to.

For now, the council has given its parking staff the OK to establish a 12-block radius around the arena as a potential “special event parking zone.” That would take the zone as far east as 19th Street.

But the entire 12 blocks might not have higher parking rates during all events.

Some council members suggest having three tiers. The first tier might be a three-block radius around the arena. The second tier could be a six-block radius, and the third, 12 blocks. Small arena events might not trigger higher rates, some suggested. Medium-sized events might trigger higher rates in just tier one or tier two.

Parking manager Matt Eierman, who has been talking with business groups and residents, says he’ll bring a plan to the council in two or three months. It will include suggested event parking rates and parking protections for nearby residents, he said.

The plan needs to be smart from the start, Councilman Jeff Harris said: “You get one chance to make a first impression.”

The famous California Stop

Blowing through a red light is a very dangerous act. The fine in California is $500.

Making a rolling stop at a red light before turning right is, by most accounts, considerably less dangerous. But the fine is the same $500, thanks to a quirk in the way the law was written.

Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, has tried several times in recent years to get that changed. The Legislature said “yes” a few years ago, but then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it. Hill’s latest effort, SB 986, which would lower the fine to a still-hefty $290, is on a roll. The Senate voted 39-0 for it. It’s now in the state Assembly.

Hill says he hopes Gov. Jerry Brown will view the proposal more favorably than his predecessor. Hill’s argument is that the punishment should fit the crime. Plus, he said, “$500 is a lot of money for most families. It can be a third of their monthly take-home pay.”

Uncool name for cool bridge

The city of Sacramento opened a cool-looking pedestrian and bike bridge last month spanning the Curtis Park train tracks. The bridge connects that community with Sacramento City College, a light-rail station and the Land Park neighborhood. It allows walkers and bicyclists to avoid speeding cars on the busy Sutterville Road bridge.

All good, except the bridge’s planning document title: “The Sacramento City College Pedestrian Bicycle Crossing.”

That’s just ... pedestrian.

We’re sure the city can find an interesting way to come up with a better name. Here’s one possibility, as an example: Michelle Murigi, a 16-year-old West Campus High School student, was killed while walking across a south Sacramento street a few years ago. Memorializing her would also send a safety message.