PITTSBURG -- It's a problem this city has been waiting for since it started revitalizing downtown.
As parking in Pittsburg's Old Town has slowly become harder to come by, the city is adding two-hour restrictions for spots on Railroad Avenue between Third and Eighth streets.
The new rules will be in place Monday through Saturday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
City officials said the main impetus for the new restrictions is that residents and employees of downtown business have been parking for long stretches on Railroad, preventing the spaces from turning over. Large commercial trucks par
"Hopefully this will get them to park elsewhere and allow those spaces specifically for customers," Mayor Sal Evola said. Evola said he's heard of some commercial customers having to circle around the block several times trying to find parking.
"What I think it's going to happen is (the commercial vehicles) are just going to get moved to a different street or a public parking lot. And that's OK," City Manager Joe Sbranti told Pittsburg's land use committee Monday. "We just don't want them in front of the restaurants, that's not fair."
Though some Old Town property owners have balked at the idea, the majority are agreeable, Sbranti said.
Pittsburg is just a decade removed from many people trying to avoid the beleaguered, crime-ridden downtown area. Since then, the city has pumped over $100 million in redevelopment funds into renovating historic buildings into restaurants and niche shops, reopening the California Theatre and adding new buildings.
"It's been growing very slowly, but there's been more reason to come down here," said Sbranti, noting how a photography shop and bar and grill are opening on the ground floor of Vidrio. Also, a park will soon be under construction on an empty Old Town block and several spaces are still vacant.
"We know that more is in the pipeline," he said.
City leaders said Pittsburg doesn't have parking issues to the extent of downtowns in Concord and Walnut Creek, where meters or a garage is warranted.
"We're nowhere near where parking is a huge issue, but this is a little bit of a corrective action to make it easier for patrons," he said.
Pittsburg's non-sworn officers will be out in the next few weeks in force, marking tires and making sure vehicles are promptly moved, Sbranti said.
The city will revisit the effectiveness of the new parking rules in six months.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.