A downtown Los Gatos employee, who only identified himself as Mike, says it can take him between 30 minutes to one hour to find parking to get to work.
The task can become a nightmare particularly during lunch and dinner time, he said. On more than one occasion, he's been late for work because he couldn't find a spot to park his car.
Help is on the way for Mike and hundreds of other workers who labor in the more than 300 businesses that thrive in Los Gatos' core.
The town has been conducting parking surveys among its downtown residents, business owners and the employees who work for them.
The purpose? Gather information about the downtown parking situation and perhaps begin what officials are calling a "Downtown Employee Parking Permit Program."
Currently the downtown has more than 1,140 public parking spaces. There are approximately 598 un-limited parking spaces and 497 timed spaces.
The surveys are due back by the end of the day today, Friday, Aug. 12. Town staff will review responses and feedback from a recent downtown parking focus meeting to formulate program alternatives, according to Los Gatos Economic Vitality Manager Jessica von Borck.
Those alternatives will be presented to the Los Gatos Transportation and Parking Commission in September and the Los Gatos Town Council will review recommendations this fall. The committee also had a meeting Thursday where it reviewed focus group meeting feedback, von Borck said.
"Due to the success and popularity of Downtown Los Gatos as a shopping and dining destination, balancing the need for parking can be a challenge for residents, business and property owners, employees, and customers," von Borck said.
Over the years, Los Gatos has taken a number of actions to add to the parking supply and to help visitors know where parking is available through signage and maps, she explained.
Recently, however, the town received a petition signed by many downtown office users that requested the town address parking concerns and potentially develop an employee parking permit program.
On July 22, the town hosted a focus group to discuss downtown parking concerns as well as to identify elements of a potential employee parking permit program, von Borck said.
Invitations were sent to downtown property owners, business owners and employees. More than 50 people attended the meeting.
In addition, the was present to share information and perspectives on parking downtown that it has heard from visitors, employees, business and property owners over the years.
The surveys have been conducted to gain more information from a wider user group, von Borck added.
If approved by the Town Council, the employee parking permit program would enable employees or business owners to purchase annual permits for use in designated spaces in the downtown.