Swearengin announces downtown parking changes

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin announces changes to downtown parking outside the newly-opened 80/20 Nutrition Bar.Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin announces changes to downtown parking outside the newly-opened 80/20 Nutrition Bar.Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin announced a few changes in the downtown parking situation, but none bigger than the announcement the city is accepting bids for new management of downtown parking.

San Diego-based Ace Parking Management currently manages the city-owned parking garages and lots in downtown Fresno.

Swearengin said downtown business owners have indicated they have not been satisfied with the current management.

“They’re just looking for more service from the people who staff the garages,” Swearengin said. “They’re looking for people who know the downtown area and can be ambassadors for the downtown area and recommend places to eat and things to do.”

Fresno-based developer Cliff Tutelian voice his support of the mayor’s new proposals.

“I would urge investors and tenants alike to strongly consider downtown to compliment and be supportive of the mayor’s efforts,” Tutelian said.

Ace will be allowed to make a bid to keep its long-held contract, but the city will open it up to other vendors.

The mayor also announced new parking passes for the downtown area.

Swearengin proposes a parking pass for downtown residents for $80 per year that allows them to park in the corridor of new housing developments in downtown Fresno.

A premium parking pass would also be available for $120 per month for unlimited parking in city-owned lots in downtown Fresno.

The new passes require approval from the Fresno City Council.

“This in response to people who frequent downtown—lawyers and other service providers—who need to be in downtown for eight hours or more and they can’t keep running out and plugging their meters,” Swearengin said.

The mayor also said the city’s parking department is now financially stable and reducing the deficits it ran for years.

“That downward slide is halting, it is coming a stop and we’re beginning to climb out of that hole,” Swearengin said.

Swearengin said in the next three to four years the department’s negative fund balance, which reached as high as $15 million at one point, will be paid off.