SALINAS, Calif. - Giving patrons access to businesses -- sounds simple, but some East Salinas business owners say access to their businesses is blocked, because parking rules are too lax.
East Alisal Street is filled with businesses, so street parking there is very valuable. But a lot of people are taking advantage of the lack of restrictions, leaving no open parking spaces for actual customers.
If you walk along the street, all the street parking spaces are all taken. You would think that means these businesses are booming but merchants on the strip say the owners of those care are probably not even in the area.
"It gets congested, people park their cars out here for not just a few hours, they park it out here for several days on end," says Gabriel Calderon, business owner.
So much so that its taking a toll on Calderon's restaurant business.
"I get that almost on a daily basis sometimes. They go, 'Your parking lot is full, we can't park in the street and so they go elsewhere to eat or shop," says Calderon.
Merchants say these cars don't just belong to people who live nearby but harvest workers who leave their cars here all day while at work. They say even local dealerships are using these spaces to showcase cars for sale.
"We have never tried anything here so the business owners want one hour," says Salinas United Business Association executive director Jose Martinez.
Martinez says for the past year they've been working to get the city to add parking restrictions, like time limits.
The city's traffic commission unanimously recommended approval of a one-hour parking limit from Wood Street to Hebbron Street, saying the move would be a big help to local business.
"People can come in do their thing, and leave. Leave it open for business, I think we will generate more business that way, not just for my restaurant but for other businesses here," says Calderon.
The commission estimates the only cost to the city would be about $2,000 to install signs. Salinas City Council is expected to make a decision Tuesday night.