Back-Seat Driver

City tightening parking restrictions in residential zones surrounding Sacramento’s new arena

The Golden 1 Center, photographed from the Kimpton Hotel, under construction, adjacent to the center on Thursday afternoon, Aug 25, 2016.
The Golden 1 Center, photographed from the Kimpton Hotel, under construction, adjacent to the center on Thursday afternoon, Aug 25, 2016.

When the Golden 1 Center arena opens in three weeks, will thousands of drivers swarm into nearby residential areas to avoid paying at parking meters and garages?

City officials say they think not, thanks to a new evening parking enforcement rule this month in the residential permit parking zones surrounding downtown.

These zones basically prevent downtown workers from parking for free in front of houses and apartments for more than two hours daily before 6 p.m. in the central city and some other neighborhoods.

But Kings games start at 7:30 p.m. So the city extended the two-hour parking limit enforcement time period to 10 p.m. in downtown and midtown. Basketball games and concerts last three hours or more. Arena goers will have to pay for garage parking or on-street meters, which were recently extended until 10 p.m. downtown. Or they can take light rail, bike, rideshare or walk.

City officials say they think the new rules will protect residents, but plan to monitor to make sure. “The balance may not be quite right yet,” said downtown resident and City Councilman Steve Hansen. “We will be attentive to feedback.”

The trickiest problem may be what happens if a downtown resident wants to invite a bunch of friends over for, say, a dinner party. Where do the visitors park? The city is putting together a web-based request system for temporary parking passes that can be printed and put in visitors’ parked cars. The city says it will limit residents to 10 temporary passes a month.

The city has a phone line, 916-264-5011, that people can call if they plan a larger gathering. They can also email a request to The system will be ready by Oct. 1, the day the city will begin issuing post-6 p.m. citations at meters and in residential parking zones.

The city residential permit parking website is

The new Golden 1 Center is part of a larger development that the Kings owners have dubbed Downtown Commons, or DoCo. One of the first structures is a 16-story hotel going up next to the arena.

Dixon’s no-stop train station

The long-running fight over Dixon’s train-less train station may finally be headed to a temporary solution. Or not. The next few months will tell.

The Solano County city won state and federal grants a decade ago to build a little depot downtown. But they have not yet been able to persuade Amtrak or Capitol Corridor trains to stop there. So the city has been allowing the local chamber of commerce to use it as an office, for $1 a month rent, and upkeep costs.

Local taxpayer activists complained. That prompted the state and feds to question Dixon’s use of the funds. Now, Dixon officials say they will search for a tenant willing to pay market-rate rent for the building’s two offices. If they manage to make money, they’ll spend it on some city transportation needs.

The problem is that downtown Dixon is economically stagnant and the little depot building is already obsolete, according to a property evaluation the city conducted. It may be difficult to find someone interested in renting it.

Dixon could try to sell the site and use the proceeds for transportation uses. But city official Joe Leach told the state in a letter last month that the city still considers the site a valuable asset, and wants to hold onto it in hopes that the train, some day, will stop there.