Reader questions Santa Cruz’s color-coded parking meters

Dear Street Smarts, Q: When I am in downtown Santa Cruz, I always look for the 'blue' meters where for a quarter you get one hour of parking. Is the city getting rid of these affordable parking places? Lori Gaudin via email A: For years, parking meter time limits were designated by a colored pole or sticker, brown for one hour, orange for two hours and blue for 12 hours, said Marlin Granlund, parking program manager. "In 2011, the city council approved the removal of time limits on meters and the conversion to a variable rate where the longer you parked, the more expensive the hourly rate became," he explained. "This made the time limit coloring scheme obsolete. At that time, the colored designation became Brown – cheap parking, Orange – cheaper parking and Blue – cheaper parking." However, outreach and education efforts discovered awareness and confusion issues. "People just wanted to have a place to park and the time limit/rate designation did not matter to the majority of parkers," said Granlund. Considering the city also has resident and employee parking permits, the program needed simplification, said Granlund. So, the city is painting all of the poles grey with a colored band atop each pole corresponding to the color of the parking permits. Downtown meters with 12 hour time limits and designated for employee parking will have a yellow band with a red 'P.' Meanwhile, the existing colored stickers on the parking tip will remain, as will the old long term cheapest meters. Road, sewer work begins July 14 in Santa Cruz Several projects to repair roads and sewers in the city of Santa Cruz begin today, Monday, July 14. On Western Drive, from Mission to Meder streets, sidewalk improvements will run through August, causing occasional sidewalk closures. In August, a road rehabilitation and resurfacing project will begin and close in September. Also in August, road rehab is planned for La Fonda Avenue from Soquel Avenue to Highway 1. That work ends before classes begin at Harbor High School. These weekday projects mean intermittent lane closures and limited on-street parking. Traffic and parking will not be impacted weekends. For project updates visit Direct questions and concerns Hoi Yu, assistant engineer, at 831-420-5179. Meanwhile, on Fair Avenue and Oxford Way, before repairing an existing sewer pipe, a contractor will install a temporary, above ground pipe in the center of these roads, preventing cross traffic from Ingalls Street to Bethany Curve through Wednesday, July 30. Left turns will be prohibited on Fair between Ingalls and Oxford through July 23 and on Oxford July 21-30. Street parking prohibitions coincide with the left turn ban. Meanwhile, the intersection at Fair and Delaware avenues will remain open while Almar Avenue will be closed at Oxford Way July 23-24. Residents will have access at Delaware. Some weekend work will occur to speed the project's completion.
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