What would you think of a city program that costs the city $300,000 in annual revenue and increases v.m.t. and congestion? I’m betting you would think that program should be gotten rid of. Yesterday, the City Council Transportation Committee voted to do just that by voting to end the city’s free-parking-for-hybrids program. A full vote by the City Council is needed before the program will be officially killed.
Nine months after the City Council asked for a review of the city’s free parking program for hybrid vechicles, the city now seems amenable to ending the program. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who stood alone asking the rest of the council for the study after an extension passed by unanimous consent, was beaming as he outlined why this program, which is viewed by many as a sensible program that encourages purchasing clean air and hybrid vehicles.
I think we’ve given them enough of a grace period, and there’s plenty of other great benefits to having a clean-fuel car. With the city budget in the shape it’s in, we can’t afford to leave any ‘gold in the gutter.’
While the free-parking program has been opposed by environmental and reform groups such as the Sierra Club, Transit Coalition and LA Walks, there still could be some blowback when the full City-Council votes on whether to end the program early next month. With the firestorm over the increased parking rates in some parts of the city, I don’t expect a free-parking program, even one that doesn’t really serve a purpose anymore other than selectively giving a benefit to people who can afford high-tech cars, to be ended without a fight.
One thing the city needs to figure out is how to end the program without unfairly ticketing people that have grown used to the program and won’t be told that it has ended. The City is looking into getting a list of vehicles that have the "Access-OK" stickers from the state and talked about flyering hybrids who park without feeding the meter for their first offense.
Photo: Paul Schreiber/Flickr