Nevada City City Council considers tripling meter fees, adding more spaces downtown |

Nevada City City Council considers tripling meter fees, adding more spaces downtown

A map of downtown Nevada City shows the proposed location for parking meter pay stations and additional metered parking.
Courtesy Nevada City

Finding parking in downtown Nevada City is not always easy, but those who do also find a meter rate of 25 cents.

Nevada City’s council members aim to change both ends of the equation, however, increasing the amount charged per hour and adding more metered parking spaces.

Superintendent of Public Works Bubba Highsmith presented a plan at Wednesday’s council meeting to double the rates and expand locations for the city’s 237 parking meters. But, by the meeting’s end, Highsmith was directed to come back with a revised plan that would triple the rate, to 75 cents an hour.

Highsmith’s staff report noted that Truckee currently charges $1 to $1.50 per hour at its metered parking spaces.

“I don’t go anywhere in the world that has the price that we have, with parking that cheap.”— Reinette SenumNevada City council member

Nevada City’s meters currently generate a monthly average income of $9,986, Highsmith said. The proposed plan would increase the hourly rate for all meters. The city would install two solar-powered pay stations that could take credit cards, at the currently metered Commercial Street lot and at the upper/lower Spring Street lot, which would add 36 additional metered parking spots.

The pay stations would cost $8,000 each and require the city pay a $55 monthly fee per station to be able to accept credit cards.

With the addition of the pay station in the Spring Street lot, the city would discontinue its parking permit program, Highsmith said. Both the Commercial Street lot and the Spring Street lot would be available for long-term paid parking and the Nevada Street lot would stay free parking with a four-hour limit.

Highsmith estimated that if the parking rates were doubled, the city would generate an average of $23,000 per month or $276,000 per year.

A second phase of the project would add additional paid parking — nine spots on Broad Street in front of Lefty’s and across the street; five spots on Main and Church streets to Washington Street; six spots on Church Street in front of the courthouse; nine spots on York Street; seven spots on Commercial Street from the parking lot to Broad Street; and one spot on Spring Street in front of KVMR and four spots on Spring Street in front of the old KVMR building.

If the meters were set to 50 cents an hour, that would increase the city’s monthly average income to $26,500 or $318,000 a year, Highsmith said in his staff report.

According to the staff report, another possibility would be to add 32 paid parking places on Coyote and Union streets to Washington Street and 20 spots on Church and Coyote streets to Main Street.

Council Member Erin Minett told Highsmith 50 cents was too small of an increase.

“I don’t disagree,” said Council Member Reinette Senum. “I don’t go anywhere in the world that has the price that we have, with parking that cheap.”

With members David Parker and Duane Strawser absent, the council opted to provide direction to staff to bring a final proposal back that would increase the rate to 75 cents, and would take additional meters on upper Commercial Street off the table.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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