A Peek Into the Future of Metro Transit Station Parking

Multi-story free parking structure at Metro Gold Line Atlantic Station may not remain free for long. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Multi-story free parking structure at Metro Gold Line Atlantic Station may not remain free for long. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

At today’s Metro board of directors Planning and Programming Committee the board and the public got its first look into Metro’s in-process plans for managing parking at transit stations. Metro has a couple of parking initiatives underway. The agency is creating its Supportive Transit Parking Program Master Plan (STPP) and a Parking Guidance System (PGS) and evaluating its current Parking Management Pilot Program and Monthly Parking Permit Program. All these are explained below.

Details on the parking initiatives were included in a staff report, which includes only a preliminary outline still subject to changes before it guides Metro parking practices. The item was planned as a consent calendar receive-and-file, but boardmembers Paul Krekorian and Hilda Solis voices questions and concerns about rail terminus parking in each of their districts: North Hollywood Red Line Station and Atlantic Gold Line Station respectively.

Details on specific Metro parking initiatives after the jump. 

Supportive Transit Parking Master Plan

The STPP calls for managing parking differently based on three tiers of occupancy:

  1. Highest occupancy stations – 90 percent and higher. At these stations Metro will implement paid parking, and would monitor and adjust prices periodically based on occupancy. Metro restrict non-riders from parking by making sure drivers have TAP cards that are being used frequently.
  2. High occupancy stations – 70 to 89 percent: At these stations Metro will implement paid parking, but would allow non-transit riders to also pay to park.
  3. Lowest occupancy stations – 0 to 69 percent: At these stations Metro will continue to offer free parking. Some of these facilities “may have higher and better uses and may be considered for reduction and reuse.”

In all cases, Metro will work with local jurisdictions to control spillover parking.

The STPP is also planning to improve the way Metro enforces parking regulations at stations. Sheriffs currently issue tickets, but “citation issuance at Metro parking facilities was significantly low” in comparison to other transit agencies. The plan recommends Metro to use non-sworn officers for parking enforcement.

Parking Management Pilot

Metro’s initial phase of all paid parking began at three stations on the Metro Expo Line phase 2 which opened in May. Expo 2 parking charges $2 per day, and verifies that people who park have a TAP card that is being used frequently. Frank Ching, Metro’s director of parking management Frank Chin reported that the pricing and TAP verification have been put in place, Expo 2 parking demand is “under control.”

Metro is planning to expand the all-paid parking pilot to ten additional stations.

Monthly Parking Permits

In May 2016 Metro added a “transit ridership requirement” for its paid monthly station parking permits. Permit holders are required to tie permits to TAP cards and that TAP card must be used ten times per month.

Ching reported that since the agency implemented the ridership requirement for monthly parking permit holders, around 500 permittees “dropped out” and Metro was able to empty its permit wait lists.

Parking Guidance System

Metro is developing a system to push out real-time parking occupancy information. The systems is anticipated to feed station signage, mobile apps, websites, and emails. The initial system will be installed this fall at three stations for an initial 90-day trial.

What’s next?

The staff report will be on the Metro board agenda next week, where it is slated to be received and filed. Metro will continue to refine its parking plans, which will likely go before the board for approval next year.

  • M

    What does “using a TAP card frequently” mean? Does this mean you would have to “prove” yourself even if just got a new job and decided to dust off the TAP card you only have used a couple times before to begin your “riding public transportation to work” life? What about when TAP cards expire or if start using a free TAP card you got for donating to CicLAvia or something? Do you no longer get to park until you’ve used your TAP card 10 times???

    I don’t own a car so this is kinda irrelevant to me, but many people look to me for info on Metro and right now if they asked me if they could park I would say “I can show you these rules, but I don’t really know.”

  • Metro’s proposed approach to charging for parking seems reasonable. It’s also important to vary the price by time of day and day of the week.

    To use the Atlantic garage as an example, it’s pretty full on weekdays during the day, but not even half full much of the rest of the time. Metro should keep the parking there free when it’s hardly utilized at all, but charge enough during other times so that the lot is almost full.

  • Hans

    Couldn’t you just give your TAP card to anyone to use and continue to park and not ride? Or just walk to the platform and TAP 10 times a month and continue to use station parking as a cheaper alternative?

  • Joe Linton

    You could – you still would need to have that TAP card whenever you enter the parking garage.

  • Joe Linton

    For the new job scenario, you can start using the parking lot before you’ve ridden at all – then, on the back end you just need to connect your TAP card with your parking retroactively: http://la.streetsblog.org/2016/03/17/metro-committee-approves-all-paid-parking-for-3-new-expo-stations/

  • Joe Linton

    Yep – the time of day availability remains in effect – all the parking is free after 9am. (I saw a post on Reddit though, where people going to Rams games couldn’t get free parking at Expo Bundy on a weekend… so there are some operational issues perhaps to making this happen smoothly.)

  • calwatch

    Actually, the Expo Line stations charge for parking at all times and on weekends, based on signage and on Metro’s posting on The Source. Only the prepaid reserved spaces at stations that ordinarily have free parking every day are free after 9 or 10 am.

  • cflpeace

    Being as the addiction of millions to oil is killing life on our planet, a government of, by, and for the people and the planet would have free parking and greatly subsidized public transportation all over the country. Think socialistically.

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