New Map Shows Metro’s 20,000+ Parking Spaces, Mostly Free

Metro Rail and BRT parking map - by Mehmet Berker
Metro Rail and BRT parking map created by Mehmet Berker. Click for higher resolution PDF

Earlier this year, a Seattle transit parking infographic map made the rounds. Created by Zach Shaner at Seattle Transit Blog, the map is helpful for visualizing the urban to suburban mix of station uses, and understanding the investments that Seattle’s transit agency is planning.

Inspired by Shaner’s Seattle example, friend of the blog Mehmet Berker created an analogous map for L.A. County. The map above includes, as of this month, all of Metro’s current rail and BRT station parking, plus Crenshaw/LAX rail line parking currently under construction. Mercifully, neither of the under-construction subways – the Regional Connector and the Purple Line – include parking. The parking data is from Metro’s Park and Ride web page.

Similar to the Seattle map, the core of the Metro system (where most boarding occurs) has very little parking. The rest of the system, though, has lots and lots of parking (pun intended.) Including a couple hundred Crenshaw/LAX line spaces, Metro has 24,121 parking spaces. Only 1,596 of them (6.6 percent) are paid for by drivers. The remaining 22,267 (92.3 percent) are free, which is to say that they are paid for by taxpayers and transit riders, whether they drive or not. 

Streetsblog L.A. and American Public Transit Association experts have been critical of the costs of Metro’s predominantly free parking holdings. Agency investments in Park and Ride subsidize higher income riders, decrease transit’s air quality benefits, and hurt Metro’s fiscal bottom line. Building and maintaining free parking is not free. In an elevated structure, parking spaces typically cost Metro $25,000+ a piece. Underground parking is $35,000+ per space. That is a huge subsidy – one that a lot of car-free bus riders would love for Metro to give them.

The good news is that Metro is taking positive steps to manage its parking more fairly and equitably. The agency implemented an all-paid parking pilot for phase 2 of the Expo Line. The pilot will be expanded to nine stations fairly soon. At Expo and Crenshaw, Metro has gone to bat to favor transit-oriented development over what had been approved as future parking. Metro’s new parking policy proactively manages parking pricing at busy lots.

  • Metro should sell off its tiny parking lot at MacArthur Park and get something built there. It’s ridiculous how useless that parking lot is. It must provide around 0.001% of that station’s ridership. That parcel could support a building with hundreds of apartments and ground-floor shops, which would do much more for the neighborhood and for Metro’s bottom line.

    It’s also interesting to compare parking and ridership on the Blue and Green Lines. The Green Line has much more parking and less than half of the weekday ridership[1] compared to the Blue Line. This is true despite the fact that the Green Line is 100% grade-separated, unlike the Blue Line. It just goes to show you the importance of running transit where there are concentrations of people and jobs, particularly lower-income people who are more likely to rely on transit.

    —–
    [1] https://www.metro.net/news/ridership-statistics/

  • B2H

    The Sepulveda parking lot is more like 200 with the rest fenced off rented to all people a car dealership.

  • effron

    Crikey, you’d think Streetsblog would have been all over the Martin Tower developement for offering all that “needless” Expo Parking. I guess some days parking is a feature and some days it’s a bug.

    http://la.streetsblog.org/2016/09/21/city-council-approves-controversial-westside-transit-oriented-development/#disqus_thread

  • Joe Linton

    Mercifully, the MacArthur Park lot site is part of the joint development going in there (it is moving forward, as it recently received funding from state AHSC program.) http://media.metro.net/board/Items/2015/01_january/20150129rbmitem22.pdf Phase 1 was already built, with 100 Metro parking spaces – and in late 2015 Metro found “Commuter parking occupancy has remained at zero percent at the Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro station development since it opened in summer of 2013.” so Metro leases that parking to non-transit riders now. Those 100 underground spaces cost about $3,500,000 and now generate $100,000 per year in lease revenue. Sad. https://metro.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2477365&GUID=2AD7C3B3-0F5B-4F52-BDAD-B1CCD8E27D51&Options=&Search=&FullText=1

  • Alex Brideau III

    Shouldn’t Union Station be marked as a paid-parking station instead of as a no-parking station?

  • Joe Linton

    yes… but the quantity of spaces isn’t listed on Metro’s park and ride page, so we left it off.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Ahhhhh. A good point! Perhaps “200+” would be a safe figure?

    Oh, and FWIW, the “Transit Mall” station name needs an update to “Downtown Long Beach”. :-)

  • Juan Matute

    Expo/Bundy is paid parking and way underutilized at $2/day

  • Jason

    Do we have any way of knowing whether this is because there’s just not demand for park-and-ride there, or if it’s because too many LA drivers will refuse to pay anything for parking?

  • Jason

    Based on the information at your link, for starters, it sounds like the Expo-dedicated parking will be privately owned, not owned by Metro. Adding a bunch of parking next to a transit stop isn’t good but it’s less bad than Metro paying to build and maintain it. Compare to some Metro stations which are pretty much literally train (or BRT) stations plopped in the middle of Metro-owned parking lots.

  • neroden

    I have nothing against the existence of parking, but having grown up in an Eastern city with parking meters everywhere… meter it.

  • Roger

    I believe the Memorial Park Station has about 12 parking spots. Some are temporary, while others are all day.

  • calwatch

    The Westlake Macarthur parking lot is clearly a Kiss and Ride, not a park and ride, and vehicles must be attended while parking there. This is why usage is close to zero. https://www.google.com/maps/@34.0566587,-118.2751654,3a,15y,293.83h,81.68t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1soQgAkmDkosM82nZjW3pM6g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

  • ExpoRider

    Does it really matter? If the demand for parking at a reasonable price isn’t there, Metro shouldn’t subsidize it.
    Transit fare provide 25-30 percent of the revenue required to operate and maintain the transit system. Parking fees should pay for at least that share of the cost of providing parking. More when you consider that people who use drive access are generally more affluent than people who don’t have cars available.

  • Jason

    It does matter because what I’m trying to ascertain is this: if the issue is that LA drivers are averse to paying anything for parking, then Metro should just be completely out of the parking business. But if the issue is that that particular station just doesn’t have demand for park-and-ride, then maybe what makes sense is to not have parking anywhere remotely near the core of the system but to have some parking in places like the far ends of the Gold Line while charging a lot more than $2/day for it.

  • Bob Campbell

    Would love to see a map like this but for bike parking inc. paid lockers and free racks!

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