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A parking meter on Olympic Blvd. displays 27 minutes left on Friday, July 10, 2009 in Walnut Creek, Calif. The city of Walnut Creek has created a parking task force in an effort to create a downtown that doesn't leave residents and visitors frustrated with the city's parking. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Staff)
Parking changes start Monday in Walnut Creek's downtown, and here's a list of what drivers should know when looking for those oh so coveted parking spaces. The bottom line -- it may be better and cheaper for drivers to find a spot in a city garage rather than parking in those increasingly pricey meter spaces. Meter enforcement hours will no longer be the standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., instead switching to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Parking will be enforced seven days a week; Sundays will no longer be the free-for-all it is in most cities. The rate at most meters downtown will double from $1 an hour to $2 an hour. There will be "parking ambassadors" handing out information and answering questions in the evenings and on Sundays for a couple weeks. For two weeks, instead of citations the city will issue warnings in the evenings and on Sundays. The first hour of parking will be free in city-owned garages. Those are located on Broadway at Cypress and the two garages on Locust Street. This does not affect the garage under the downtown library or the privately owned garages -- many of which are already free or have parking meters on the first floor. The Broadway Garage and Lesher Center Garage will continue charging 50 cents an hour, but the rate in the South Locust Street garage will increase to $1 an hour. Monthly passes can be purchased for the city garages for $25 a month. To purchase a monthly pass go to www.lazparking.com.
Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.