Park(ing) Day L.A. Wrap and A Peek Into the Future of Parking In L.A.

Worldwide, last Friday’s Park(ing) Day saw street creativity on six continents. Park(ing) Day L.A. hosted a number of creative efforts that help Angelenos reconsider just what we’re doing with all that street real estate.

Below is a quick run-down of some Southern California Park(ing) Day sites I enjoyed (apologies to the other great Park(ing) sites I haven’t covered), and then a peek at the future of parking in Los Angeles.

Park(ing) Day on La Brea. Photo: @NwUrbanFilmFest Twitter
Park(ing) Day on La Brea. Photo: @NwUrbanFilmFest Twitter

My daughter Maeve and I enjoyed yummy vittles from Sycamore Kitchen (highly recommended: buttercup pastries!) at the parking space out front, hosted by the Mid City West Community Council, the New Urbanism Film Festival, and District La Brea.

Stenciled parking space infographics in DTLA.
Downtown L.A. parking space infographics created by design firm Meléndrez. Photo: @Melendrez_LA Twitter

Downtown L.A. livability leader design firm Meléndrez stenciled infographics about what other opportunities are missed by dedicating so much space to parking.

PDLA
Miguel Contreras High School students (l to r) Bryan Ramos, Caitlin Pascua, Edwin Galeno, Eric Guerrero, and their class’ handmade Park(ing) Day parking meter. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Miguel Contreras Learning Complex students who study media and design created a multi-parking-space parklet in front of their high school on Lucas Street, just west of Downtown Los Angeles. Features included displays on ways to help the environment from combating drought to bicycling (“auto loans are hard to find these days – even if you have good credit. But for the price of a single car payment, you can buy a well-made bicycle that should outlast most cars.”) to solar panels on top of train cars. The space in front of their high school doesn’t have an actual parking meter, so the students hand-crafted their own meter, with a slot for donations to help the environment.

SMPD meets PDSM. Photo by Cynthia Rose
SMPD meets PDSM. Photo by Cynthia Rose/Santa Monica Spoke

Streetsblog L.A., Santa Monica Spoke, and Santa Monica Next hosted a parklet in Santa Monica, which didn’t park so well with local law enforcement. Santa Monica Next’s Jason Islas reports:

Shortly after we interviewed Recreation & Parks Commission Chair Chair Phil Brock, an SMPD patrol car pulled up. The officer asked to see our permits. When we explained what was going on, he said we still needed permits or at least to have gotten temporary “No Parking” signs from the City to hang on the meters. He also explained that we could not be sitting or standing in the parking spaces themselves as they were, according to the California Vehicle Code, part of the roadway. He called someone in from Code Enforcement as well who talked to us and took some notes. While they did not run us off, per se, they waited until our meters expired — they had a posted two-hour limit — and we began packing our stuff up to leave.

What’s next for parking in Los Angeles? 

The report hasn’t been made public yet, but the Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative announced the outlines of a new policy report issued by Mayor Garcetti’s parking task force. There are a lot of potential changes which, if done well, can really bring L.A. parking practices solidly into the 21st century.

Here’s the description from LAPFI’s website:

[T]he Los Angeles Parking Reform Working Group, which was initiated in July by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office together with Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative and stakeholder organizations and representatives from around the city, recently issued its 2 month progress report.  The report stands as a good outline for a total parking system reform plan and it is now being circulated among City officials. The next phase will involve getting City officials, both administrative and elected, on board and integrated into the process of developing, adopting and implementing the plan.  Here’s a bullet point synopsis of the core features:

  • Separation of parking fee and fine revenue into a Fund
  • Fund to be used to create and manage parking supply as well as economic development related to transit, access, and streetscape
  • Fund would develop projects, partner with other entities, and make grants for projects to local entities (such as Business Improvement Districts)
  • A system of local stakeholder input, design and feedback on neighborhood parking environments
  • Expand Express Park and further support market based pricing systems
  • Phased elimination of meter time limits in favor of performance based pricing
  • Phased implementation of a “payment in/payment out” system that allows use of a parking meter much like a parking garage, where payment for time used is charged when exiting the space
  • Tiered fine structure for parking violations
  • Warning notice system

A lot of these features sound positively Shoupian. I am especially excited about city of Los Angeles parking meter revenue being used to support local transit and streetscape improvements, similar to what has been so successful in Old Town Pasadena. Streetsblog L.A. will dig deeper into the report and how these parking reforms will be rolled out.