Downtown Parking Structure
Design of recently approved downtown parking structure.

The Future of Redlands–Parking Downtown

Friends of Redlands has been studying the City of Redlands’ General Plan, Downtown Specific Plan and the Transit Villages Specific Plan Draft (here after designated TVSP). The parking component of the TVSP is insufficient for the success of downtown.

As TVSP states, “Sufficient parking is essential to the success of downtown.” We do not believe TVSP provides for enough parking, not only in the short term but also in the long term. The plan relies heavily on bicycling and therefore less parking will be needed for the automobile. That begs the question, “ How convenient is it for a person to carry a day’s shopping on a bicycle in 100-degree summer heat?”

For decades parking in historical downtown Redlands
has been problematic.

It is our opinion that TVSP will make the situation worse. In the TVSP, the Redlands Mall is to be replaced with apartments and the current 900-plus parking spaces (includes Citrus Ave. lot), near to downtown, will be gone. During the day these spaces are used by shoppers, store owners and employees. On weekends, and in the evening, these spaces are used for entertainment venues like the Bicycle Classic, Redlands Bowl Performances, commencement and Market Night. Where will these people park? The plan suggests that a 200-400 space parking garage be built by the developer of the mall property. This will be totally inadequate for this area.

The parking garage near the Santa Fe Station will have 167 spaces allocated to store owners, employees, and store patrons. This garage will not be convenient to the Redlands Bowl. There are two other parking garages planned: a 160-space garage next to Ed Hales Park and another on Seventh Street near the railroad tracks. Since the City of Redlands does not have the money, construction of these two garages will depend upon public funds in the form of bonding, parking fees, or higher taxes. There is no guarantee either will ever be built.

What will be the fate of current on-street parking
under the TVSP?

The TVSP states that “parking management strategies” will be used. For example, riding the Arrow commuter train will reduce the number of parking spaces needed as well as biking and using Omnitrans. Bus loading zones are to be integrated into existing street parking downtown (each loading zone will consume a minimum of 8 diagonal parking spaces). The TVSP states that “time limits combined with prices will encourage turnover” of parking spaces and “as demand for free parking spaces approaches capacity … it is reasonable to implement paid parking programs.” These programs could be in the form of in lieu fees, paid parking programs, valet parking, and parking permits.

In summary, the loss of the current mall parking cannot be made up by the TVSP parking garages and will not fulfill the TSVP’s stated objective of “sufficient parking for the success of downtown.” The current free parking downtown would end up being some form of paid parking. With the exception of the mall and Arrow parking garages the others may never be built unless the residents of Redlands are willing to support bond measures, higher taxes and a variety of parking fees.

Friends of Redlands urges the City Council and City Planning to revise the parking component of the Transit Villages Specific Plan to meet the real needs of the city.