BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Business owners are complaining about parking problems downtown. But this time city officials are working to address the complaints.
The biggest thing business owners say they're seeing is if parking isn't easy for their customers, their customers would rather go home than spend the time looking for a parking spot.
Don Martin, who owns Metro Galleries, said "They're used to coming downtown like it was 15 years ago or 10 years ago, or maybe even 5 years ago where you could park right in front of the post office or you could park right in front of the destination center."
In March a parking study showed downtown Bakersfield parking problems. And available parking spaces wasn't the main problem.
Bakersfield City Councilman, Andrae Gonzales, said, "We actually have plenty of parking in the downtown area, it's just not used as efficiently as it can be."
The city is working on short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions for the problems.
In the short-term they will limit timed restricted parking of 1 hour, 90 minutes and 2 hour parking between F Street, 21st Street, L Street and Truxtun Avenue.
In the medium-term they will change on-street parking to diagnal parking to add more spaces on G Street from 18th to 20th Streets.
And in the long-term officials want to establish a shuttle program to run in the downtown area.
Councilman Gonzales said the city will increase signage to educate downtown drivers about the seven-story parking garage on Eye Street and 18th Street to help the business owners.
"So this will help us be more effective. Eventually parking enforcement will be a regular occurrence in the downtown core," said Councilman Gonzales.
Martin said he always tried to remind his customers who complain about parking. He said, "I always say, well what's the problem with parking a few blocks and walking? Or using the seven-story parking structure which is free the first two hours and an hour after that to park in."
Another problem from the study was people staying in parking spots longer than the allotted time. Councilman Gonzales says to address that the city will have more parking enforcement officers patrolling downtown.