Parking downtown can feel overwhelming; I have heard people share their frustration. This week, I’ll explain the different places for you to park when you’re visiting my neighborhood.
There are types of options: parking lots, garages, and street parking. Your best choice depends on what time of day, what day of the week, and where you’re shopping.
Some Businesses Validate
If you’ve come to visit one of the many businesses that validate, ask the business for a validation coupon for any of the five downtown public garages. Corrick’s and Kindred, two of my favorites mentioned in a previous post, are participants of the “Shop Here–Park Free” program.
If it’s Sunday:
The outdoor city lots and street spaces are free. If you’re whooping it up Saturday night, this makes it easy to leave your car overnight.
If it’s a holiday:
See the parking meter for a listing of nine holidays that are free in the surface lots and street spaces. The holidays included are New Years, Martin Luther King, Presidents, Memorial, Independence, Labor, Veteran’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If it’s between 6pm and 8am:
City lots and street spaces are free.
These covered garages give you the most flexibility if you’re not one for keeping track of time. Take your ticket with you to pay at the machine on your way back. Cost is 75 cents per hour, with an $8 daily maximum. There are no free days or hours in these garages. Garages are a good option if you plan to leave your car overnight and want to save money compared to a $35 expired meter ticket.
Some spaces are reserved for permit holders, so just watch for signs. Also, in the 5th Street/Beaver garage, parking in the morning between 6 and 9am is prohibited on the ground floor and first up ramp. Also note the 72-hour limit.
These surface level, uncovered lots cost $1 per hour.
- A good choice if you’re only going to stay a couple hours or if it’s after 4 (you can fill the meter until 6 and then it’s free).
- Some have metered spaces where you use change or the “Passport Parking” app (see below)
- Some have a kiosk nearby where you pay with cash or credit card and then display your receipt in your windshield
- Most spaces have 2-hour limits
- The lot just north of the post office has some 10-hour spots
- Most of these spaces are metered with 2-hour limits, use coins or the Passport Parking app
- Some neighborhoods surrounding downtown have free 2-hour parking
This “mobile payment application” sounds pretty nifty. It allows you to pay with your phone either through the app or on the web. The application will send you a text when your meter’s almost out of time, and allow you remotely to add funds up to the posted time limit.
If you’d rather not deal with parking at all, hop on a Santa Rosa CityBus or a Sonoma County Transit bus. Sonoma County Transit is free for veterans, and free for college students at least through 2017. Each service has several buses that stop at the transit mall located on Second Street between Santa Rosa Avenue and B Street. Note that 7th and Mendocino is no longer a bus stop, a fact I learned the hard way…
Thanks for stopping by, I hope I’ve demystified downtown parking options for you.
Hope to see you downtown!