SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – The free ride is coming to an end for shoppers at the South Bay's biggest mall, as Westfield Valley Fair is set to charge for parking.
The mall recently began installing what appear to be pay stations at garage entrances. Currently, the devices are under black tarps.
Valley Fair management has been tight-lipped about details about paid parking, but said in a statement, "We are in the early stages of planning a secured parking program for Westfield Valley Fair that will not roll out until 2020. While we do not have additional details to share currently, we expect to make an announcement later this year."
Shoppers who spoke to KPIX 5 voiced displeasure at the plan. "I don't want to come if they make us pay for the parking," said Madhu Rao.
"Definitely makes me not want to shop here," said Gino Ross. "I enjoy free parking, that's why I live in the South Bay."
Westfield has already implemented paid parking at their mall in San Diego, which offers free parking for the first two hours and $2 an hour thereafter. Mall employees also pay for parking at $5 a day or $75 a month.
As for Valley Fair, planning commissioner Pierluigi Oliverio said charging for parking has been in the works for years as a way to help the environment.
Oliverio said the plan "involves many aspects such as increased bicycle parking, bus passes for employees, pedestrian safety improvements, improving bus stop areas, and in the long term charging for parking to dissuade vehicle trips by one automobile occupant and to instead encourage carpooling and alternative transportation."
The long-term plans also called for neighboring Santana Row to charge for parking, but they said it's too early to make any kind of statement at this point.
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