CONCORD -- In a bid to help restaurants attract customers, valet parking could be coming to downtown Concord.
Valet parking is another "tool in the toolbox" to enhance economic vitality and quality of life in Concord, according to Ray Kuzbari, transportation manager for the city.
"Business-operated valet parking has the potential to benefit the financial well-being of businesses in the city of Concord by offering parking convenience to patrons," he said at the July 8 City Council meeting.
Under the proposed policy, businesses seeking a valet parking permit must submit the name of valet parking company and copies of valid California drivers licenses for all the attendants; proof of general liability and auto insurance listing the city as an additional insured; the proposed location for the valet parking zone and the lot where the vehicles will be parked; and a circulation map showing the routes from the valet drop-off spot to the parking lot.
The business would need an encroachment permit and must reimburse the city for the cost of producing and installing signs listing its name and the days and hours valet service is available.
City staffers would use a range of criteria to evaluate valet parking requests, including the effect on pedestrian, bike and vehicle traffic flow and safety; the proposed circulation route; how it would affect neighboring businesses; and the proximity of designated off-street parking.
Reyes Ramos, owner of Agave Grill, recently asked the city to set up a valet parking zone on the west side of Galindo Street near the intersection with Willow Pass Road. His customers, especially those who are seniors, complain that the walk from the parking lot to the restaurant is too long, he said.
"On the weekend, with the movie theater, particularly if there is a new release, there's no parking for any of our customers," Ramos added. "That is really hurting our business."
He pointed out that the two restaurants that previously occupied the building at the corner of Galindo and Willow Pass Road were only open for a couple of years.
"By being there I know that the only problem here is parking and valet parking will help a lot," Ramos said.
Ramos said he has permission to park about 30 vehicles in the uncovered parking lot on Willow Pass Road next to the Brenden movie theater parking garage.
If the council approves the policy Tuesday , Agave Grill will have valet parking for a six-month trial period during which city staffers will seek feedback from the public and evaluate the benefits and drawbacks.
Councilwoman Laura Hoffmeister suggested the city also require applicants to submit written approval from the owner of the off-site parking to ensure there won't be conflicts with other businesses that have existing agreements to use the lot.
"I think it will be well received. I know that there's probably some other businesses that would like to take advantage of this too because we are an aging population," said Hoffmeister, noting that she often hears the lament that downtown Concord doesn't have enough parking spots for the disabled.
"I think this is going to be great. I'm excited to see it start."
Lisa P. White covers Concord and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.