Transportation

City makes it easier for downtown residents to throw a dinner party

Sacramento city officials are not yet citing drivers who fail to pay meters after 6 p.m. downtown - but say they begin will soon.
Sacramento city officials are not yet citing drivers who fail to pay meters after 6 p.m. downtown - but say they begin will soon.

Sacramento this week made it easier for central city residents to invite friends over at the last minute for evening events in neighborhoods with restricted parking – and not have the night end unpleasantly with citations on visitors’ windshields.

Responding to requests and complaints from downtown residents, the city this week began allowing residents to download up to 10 last-minute temporary residential permit parking passes for guests.

The city had recently extended residential permit parking restrictions to 10 p.m. in the central city to keep Golden 1 Center arena-goers from flooding nearby residential areas, but some residents of those areas said the city’s system for visitor parking was cumbersome and limited.

The expanded online permit system is accessible on the city public works department website.

City officials said they have not yet begun ticketing vehicles that park longer than the one or two-hour limits in residential zones. Parking officials say they will begin ticketing in residential zones on Nov. 1.

The city also has not yet begun ticketing motorists who fail to pay the late-hour parking meters in nonresidential areas of downtown.

The city extended downtown parking meter hours to 10 p.m. in September in anticipation of thousands of evening visitors to the Golden 1 Center arena this month. City officials had planned to begin issuing parking tickets on Oct. 1 for failure to pay after 6 p.m., but instead have extended the “grace period” a few weeks longer, likely past the Sacramento Kings season-opening game Oct. 27 and into November.

Drivers who do not pay the meter after 6 p.m. so far have been issued warning notices instead of citations.

“We want to make sure that residents and visitors are given enough time to become educated about the new parking operating hours, including the metered and non-metered areas,” city parking spokeswoman Marycon Razo said. “The city will be evaluating the overall program, and determine if there needs to be any adjustments prior to full implementation.”

The city is, however, ticketing people who park downtown in no-parking zones at night, and officials say they will use license plate recognition technology to ticket cars that repeatedly park at meters after 6 p.m. without paying.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

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