DTA Board Issues Comprehensive Recommendation on Downtown Parking

In advance of the February 19, 2019 meeting at which Council will consider the City’s proposed Paid On-Street Parking Implementation Plan [update: Council has delayed consideration of this item, but still expects to have it on an upcoming agenda], the Downtown Association Board has issued a letter to the Mayor and Council with its comprehensive recommendation regarding the management of on-street downtown parking. It is posted in full below and may be downloaded here.

The Downtown Association has also partnered with City of San Marcos for an information session on both the City and DTA Board parking recommendations Monday, February 11 6PM at Splash Coworking (326 N LBJ Drive).

City Publishes Paid Parking Reco; Schedules Outreach Sessions

The City of San Marcos has published a final draft of its staff and consultant (Kimley-Horn and Associates) recommendations on the implementation of paid on-street parking in downtown San Marcos. The executive summary and the full document may be downloaded using the following links or at the City’s Parking Management webpage. The executive summary is also included for view at the bottom of this post.

CoSM On-Street Paid Parking Program Implementation Plan
Executive Summary
Full Document

The matter is expected to come before City Council on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 and City Staff has scheduled several public outreach sessions over the new few weeks.

In conjunction with the Main Street Program, City staff will hold a series of ‘coffee talks’ on the plan at the San Marcos Main Street office (317 N LBJ Dr) at the following times:

  • Tuesday, February 5: 10:00 am

  • Tuesday, February 5: 2:00 pm

  • Wednesday, February 6: 10:00 am

  • Wednesday, February 6: 5:30 pm

[Update: The Downtown Association Board of Directors issued its own recommendation on downtown parking (posted here) and has worked with City staff to schedule a full presentation, open to all interested parties, regarding the topic on Monday, February 11 at 6:00PM at Splash Coworking (326 N LBJ Dr).

Stay tuned to the Downtown Association website for more information.

Apply for CoSM Parking Advisory Board by Jan 17

The City Clerk’s office is accepting applications for the newly formed Parking Advisory Board until Thursday, January 17. All interested Downtown Association Members are encouraged to apply.

The new seven person* Parking Advisory Board was formed by Council ordinance (click here to view) on December 12, 2018 with the support of the Downtown Association. The Parking Advisory Board will serve an advisory function to the City manager and council regarding parking and mobility, including parking benefit districts, on-street parking regulations, and codes and ordinances relating to parking facilities, mobility solutions, and transportation demand management. Council also approved a budget amendment to immediately hire a Parking and Mobility Manager who is anticipated to actively work with the Parking Advisory Board on parking and mobility solutions in the Downtown.

A “Downtown Association Recommended Member” and a “Main Street Recommended Member” for the Parking Advisory Board will each be submitted directly to the City by those respective organizations’ Boards; however, all other members of the Parking Advisory Board will be selected exclusively by Council and include seats for a Downtown Business Owner, Downtown Property Owner, Downtown Resident, and two at-large members. With the exception of the Downtown Resident member seat, there are no residency requirements stated in the ordinance.

More information on Boards and Commissions can be found here.

A direct link to the Application can be found here.

To catch up on the latest Parking news, click here to view all the DTA News posts related to Parking.

*Two Council Members are also included in the Parking Advisory Board as non-voting members.

City to hire Mobility & Parking Manager; Form Advisory Board

At its December 4th Regular Meeting, in a series of unanimous 5 to 0 votes, Council approved the hiring of a Mobility & Parking (MaP) Manager, the formation of a MaP Fund, and the creation of a MaP Advisory Board.

Council voted to keep 100% of any future parking revenues in the new MaP Fund, overriding the initial staff recommendation which had 30% of revenues going back into the General Fund. Council also elected to add two at-large positions to the Advisory Board making it a 7-person board. Additionally, two council members will join the Advisory board, though in a non-voting capacity. The full composition of the voting individuals on the Advisory Board will be: one recommendation from the Main Street Board, one recommendation from the DTA Board, one downtown resident, one downtown property owner, one downtown property owner, and two at large members.

Both Staff and Council prominently referenced the DTA Board and Parking Subcommittee recommendations in drafting and amending the ordinances prior to adoption, including: the expansion of the MaP Manager and Advisory Board duties and responsibility to include broader mobility and transportation demand management objectives, the assurance that all parking revenues would stay in MaP Fund, and the composition of the MaP Advisory Board.

Council has previously directed staff to place the issue of paid on-street parking on its January 29, 2019 agenda. The DTA Board continues to look for member feedback on this issue and encourages members to email with any input. The DTA Board, in consultation with the DTA Parking Subcommittee, expects to issue recommendations to Council related to paid on-street parking in mid-January.

Need to catch up on the latest parking news? Click Parking News Posts under the Parking dropdown at the top of this page for a full list of all this year’s Parking posts.

DTA Provides Recos on Parking Advisory Board

At the November DTA Member Meeting, Assistant Director of Community Services Kevin Burke provided an overview of a presentation given to City Council on the formation of a parking management organization, parking benefit districts, and the possible introduction on paid on-street parking in the downtown area. The presentation document is available for download and viewing here.

At the conclusion of the November Council Workshop, Council directed staff to place the hiring of a full-time Parking Manager, the formation of a Parking Management Fund, and the creation of a citizen Parking Advisory Board on its December 4, 2018 agenda, but to postpone any discussion or possible action on the implementation of paid on-street parking until the January 29, 2019 Council meeting. The delayed discussion of on-street paid parking is to allow for a full Council to be seated following this month’s two run-off elections and to allow more time for community outreach by staff.

The DTA Board has sent a letter (copied below) to the City Council supporting the parking organization items on the December 4 agenda while offering some recommendations for the ordinance to acknowledge broader mobility objectives for the downtown and to ensure any net revenues from ticketing or future paid on-street parking stay within the downtown area. Staff has already taken many of the DTA Parking Subcommittee’s recommendations on these items in the draft ordinance, including a seat on the proposed five person Advisory Board to be recommended by the DTA Board.

The DTA Board has not yet issued a recommendation to Council regarding paid on-street parking, but expects to do so prior to the January 2019 Council meeting after consultation with the Parking Subcommittee and reviewing member feedback. DTA members are encouraged to contact the Board via with any comments or other feedback on paid on-street parking.

For more information about the Parking Management Plan, including the Parking Subcommittee’s prior recommendations, please see the previous News post on downtown parking here.

Paid On-Street Parking Benefit District Talks Scheduled

Council workshop set for nov. 20

After adopting a Parking Management Framework plan in June, the San Marcos City Council will hear a presentation on downtown parking from City staff and the City’s parking consultant, Kimley-Horn, in the City Hall Conference Room on Tuesday, November 20th at 3PM.

The presentation will focus on the implementation of the first three action items from the Framework Plan, which would introduce paid on-street parking to a portion of downtown and create a benefit district to reinvest excess revenues from paid parking back into the downtown.

Presentation available for REVIEW ONLINE

The City has already posted the presentation and additional information to be shared with Council as part of the Council’s workshop agenda packet which may be viewed here.

The presentation shows that data assessed by Kimley-Horn demonstrated peak demand in the downtown area occurring at 1PM where 19 blocks within the area proposed for paid on-street parking had occupancy exceeding the targeted 85% occupancy rate. Data generated by SMPD’s use of the NuPark License Plate Recognition (LPR) enforcement system launched this year showed a violation rate (e.g., vehicles exceeding the 2-hour time limit) of 10%. According to the presentation, a target violation rate is typically 3 to 5%.

The draft phase 1 recommendations include: $1 per hour paid on-street parking Monday through Friday, 9AM to 6PM, from parts of San Antonio Street up to the Texas State University Campus, creation of off-street and on-street 10-hour zones to help accommodate employee parking until additional off-street parking resources are added, and use of Pay-by License Kiosks (in lieu of individual meters) with a Pay-by Cell mobile phone parking app for added convenience.

Kimley-Horn estimates the approximately investment in the meters to be paid back in about one year. Thereafter, the District is estimated to generate $350,000 - $400,000 each year in net revenue with a recommended 70% of the net revenue being invested back into the District. [Updated 12/2 to reflected revised information from the City.]

For governance, the draft presentation recommends a hybrid structure wherein the City will hire a Parking Manager, contract with a private parking management firm to run day-to-day operations, and form a five to seven person advisory board to manage parking district policy and have the authority to set paid hours, time limits, and rates — within a limited range — as well as make changes to ensure the District is meeting its objectives.

DTA parking subcomittee issued recommendations to staff

After reviewing the draft presentation and referencing the DTAs Parking Survey conducted this spring, the Downtown Association’s Parking Subcommittee met with and issued a letter to staff this past week supporting the creation of on-street paid parking subject to a number of recommendations, including:

  1. 100% of all excess net parking revenues generated in the District be spent solely within the District

  2. Downtown employees be supported during the transition with improvements to the free remote parking lot at the former Armory across from City Hall, free or reduced fare transit passes for downtown employees, and at least 50 on or off-street parking spaces being made available through the City at a reasonable monthly rate for downtown employers to purchase for use by their employees

  3. Flexibility in parking time limits be implemented by allowing up to three hours of parking (up from the current two hour maximum) with the last hour being available at an increased rate of $2 to encourage turnover

  4. Use of modern meter technology allowing for multiple payment options and efficient operations and maintenance

  5. A number of specifics regarding the District and Board structure including that the Downtown Association have a seat on the Board and that the District be charged with more holistic objectives around mobility and enhancement of the Downtown, such as:

    • Improve the availability of on-street parking for downtown customers and guests;

    • Expand off-street parking access for employees and downtown residents; and,

    • Fund infrastructure and programs that:

      • Promote walking, cycling, shared-use vehicles, and transit as the preferred forms of transportation within the District, and,

      • Enhance public spaces and rights-of-way in support of economic development for downtown businesses and improved quality of life for downtown residents

The Parking Subcommittee is made up of Suzanne Riley, Shea Enderle, Jean Baggett, Melissa Hodgkins, and John David Carson with additional guidance from other DTA members that have attended subcommittee meetings or provided input via email. The subcommittee’s full letter to staff can be found here.

Staff to present to DTA membership at Nov 26 member meeting

Staff will present the information directly to Downtown Association members at our upcoming Member meeting to be held Monday, November 26th at 6PM at Shine On Yoga.

The Council workshop on November 20th will not have a public hearing component, but will solely be for the presentation of the draft recommendations to Council for their initial questions.

Discussion and possible action on the formation of a Parking Management Fund, the hiring of a Parking Manager, and the creation of a Parking Advisory Board is currently scheduled for the December 4th council meeting. Consideration of the implementation of paid on-street parking was directed by Council to be postponed until the January 29, 2019 meeting. [Update 12/2 to reflect Council direction after the Nov. 20 workshop.]

Member input can always be sent to

DTA Helps Launch Parking Marketplace

With increased demand for parking in Downtown San Marcos and the launch of enhanced enforcement of time-limits via License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology, the Downtown Association (DTA) recognizes an opportunity to unlock private OFF-street parking spaces that are vacant or underutilized to provide a solution for those in need of parking.

The DTA has partnered with PARQEX to create a local, online marketplace where private, OFF-street parking spaces can be listed and rented in a matter of minutes via the web or an Android or iPhone app. 

While the online marketplace allows for daily, weekly, or even hourly parking, the current focus of the marketplace is to provide parking on a monthly basis for known users in need such as downtown employers and individuals requiring longer than the allowable two-hour time limit for ON-street parking downtown.

Early this month, the Downtown Association sent out nearly 300 direct mailers to all property owners within the downtown encouraging them to list any vacant or underutilized spaces on the marketplace. With PARQEX, owners can make spaces available at all hours or just during certain hours of each day or certain days of the week.

For owners or renters that prefer not to use an online tool, the DTA is also maintaining a separate list of owners with parking available and renters looking for parking. If a match appears, the DTA will put the parties in touch.  To add your availability or need, email us at

Ready to sign-up and list or rent a space? Click the logo below to sign-up and receive a free $15 credit.

Still have questions? Head over to the DTA’s Parking Marketplace FAQ by clicking below for a lot more info.

License Plate Recognition (LPR) Parking Enforcement Begins

The License Plate Recognition (LPR) system for parking enforcement is now live and has been in use in the downtown area for about three weeks. Warning tickets were issued for the first two weeks, but actual tickets are now being given and numerous tickets have been issued.

The City currently has one full-time and three part-time parking technicians rotating and working together to make sure there is full-time coverage in the downtown area between the hours of 8AM to 5PM.  They are tasked with covering the areas of Downtown bounded by University Drive, C. M. Allen Parkway, MLK Drive and Moore Street.

Issued tickets are placed on the driver’s side windshield of the vehicle. If the ticket is not paid within 10 days, a follow-up collection letter will be sent directly to the vehicle owner as part of the collection process.

It is still early in the system roll-out and the Downtown Association will continue to provide updates as they become available.

City to Use License Plate Recognition for Parking Enforcement


The City of San Marcos will begin using license plate recognition technology to help parking enforcement officers manage downtown parking.  Preparations for the automated system are underway with full implementation scheduled prior to March 1. 

The City contracted with NuPark, a firm based in Cedar Park, TX, to provide the automated technology. The company will provide the City a comprehensive cloud-based parking management system fully integrated with enforcement, citation and permit functionalities. The mobile license plate recognition (LPR) enforcement allows the City to automate the process with more accuracy and efficiency.

How LPR works:

  • The LPR system captures two photos of observed vehicles: (1) a context photo of the vehicle and its immediate surroundings and (2) a photo of the license plate. The photos are not of a resolution that allows identification of vehicle occupants if they are present.
  • Along with the photographic data, the system also records the global positioning system (GPS) coordinates and date/time information of the observation.
  • Parking enforcement will regularly monitor all areas with time-limited parking restrictions, which are primarily downtown.
  • If a vehicle remains parked in the same location in excess of the posted time limit, the LPR system will notify the officer and a citation may be issued.

What LPR does not do:

  • The system does not store owner or driver information directly with the LPR record.
  • The system is designed only for parking enforcement purposes and does not scan for warrants.
  • The system does not keep data indefinitely - data collected that does not result in parking enforcement action or is not part of an ongoing law enforcement investigation or prosecution is retained for 180 days.

“The City of San Marcos was interested in a technology-driven solution for parking enforcement that could interface with our existing systems and have the capacity to expand and adapt as our approach to parking management becomes more sophisticated,” said Kevin Burke, the City’s Economic Development & Downtown Administrator.

Parking enforcement officers are responsible for enforcement of a wide range of parking-related offenses. In 2016, the City’s parking enforcement team issued 6,742 warnings and citations for infractions such as parking in front of a mailbox, parking in a handicap space without a permit, and parking in excess of posted time limits downtown. On-street parking throughout downtown San Marcos is limited to two hours, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“In San Marcos, what we heard from our community outreach was a desire for enhanced enforcement of our existing on-street time restrictions to provide more available parking by encouraging turnover. We determined that LPR parking enforcement could be a good first step, allowing us to increase enforcement while facilitating data collection that will guide our implementation of other parking management strategies in the future.”

For more information about the program, contact Kevin Burke at 512.393.8108 or