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Posts from the Parking Category

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NIMBYs Against Parking Reforms For Granny Flats

Map of permitted accessory dwelling units in the city of Los Angeles. Image via Department of City Planning [PDF]

Map of permitted accessory dwelling units in the city of Los Angeles. Image via Department of City Planning [PDF]

Streetsblog received a tip that someone is circulating wording to help L.A. Neighborhood Councils oppose reforms that would make it easier to permit new granny flats. The document, below, would be almost humorous if it was not such a NIMBY attack on affordable housing and bicycling.

Fostering granny flats, or in planner-speak “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs) is one way to encourage affordable housing and gradually increasing density while preserving neighborhood character. ADUs help foster inter-generational connections by allowing a grandparent to live close to family or by helping young adults afford to live in neighborhoods they grew up in.

Fortunately, the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council anti-ADU resolution [PDF] was defeated at last night’s meeting. The anti-ADU language was allegedly circulated by someone from the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition, so there will likely be other similar resolutions before other councils. Readers are encouraged to keep an eye on Neighborhood Council agendas and weigh in on them.

Here is the wording of the HHPNC resolution:

Re: Parking space requirements to be enforced for both new construction and remodeling (CF12-1297-S1, ADU proposal CPC-2016-4345-CA et al)

The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, which represents over 60,000 Los Angeles stakeholders who reside, own property, or conduct business in our neighborhood is concerned about the escalation waivers granted developers and others that reduces the number of parking spots that are required for residential units.

Under the proposed Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance currently under discussion (CPC-2016-4345-CA), parking requirements are not applicable when located within half a mile of public transportation or within a block of a car share parking spot or located in a historic district or HPOZ.

Read more…

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Metro Committee Approves Expanded Paid Parking for 13 Park&Ride Stations

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

Under new Metro parking plans approved by committee this week, Metro Gold Line Atlantic Station parking will soon be all paid parking. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Yesterday, the Metro board of directors Planning and Programming Committee approved phase two of the agency’s pilot program to charge for parking at transit stations. The promising new parking programs will maximize parking usage by people who actually ride Metro, while also generating modest revenues instead of ongoing losses.

A 2015 American Public Transit review recommended Metro charge for parking “to avoid giving park-and-ride customers the largest subsidies, to increase agency revenues, and to effectively manage parking supply.” APTA further stated that excessive free parking works against the environment and equity. Metro’s own customer surveys (cited in the staff report) highlight the equity issue starkly: 41 percent of Metro rail riders are in poverty, while only 1 percent of Metro rail park-and-ride users are in poverty.

Phase one of Metro’s all-paid parking pilot was implemented in May at three newly opened Expo Line stations. Contrary to dire predictions, the lack of free parking did not hamper the line from achieving higher-than-predicted ridership on frequently overcrowded trains. According to Metro, Expo II parking lots are experiencing 30 to 60 percent occupancy, which could mean prices would be lowered to achieve Metro’s goal of 85 to 90 percent occupancy.

Metro is planning to extend the paid parking program to a total of 13 heavily-parked rail stations. New paid parking is planned for ten stations:

  • Expo Line: La Cienega/Jefferson (parking is already all-paid at Bundy, Sepulveda, and 17th/Santa Monica College)
  • Gold Line: APU/Citrus, Irwindale, Atlantic
  • Green Line: Norwalk, Lakewood, Aviation
  • Red Line: Universal, North Hollywood
  • Silver Line BRT: El Monte Station

Planned Metro parking pilot station details, via Metro staff report

Planned Metro parking pilot station details, via Metro staff report

One key aspect of how Metro is managing parking is ensuring that people who park actually ride the Metro system. Metro has already done this for monthly permit parking by requiring that permit holders connect their accounts with an active TAP card, i.e. one that is used a minimum of ten times per month. In the course of implementing this requirement, Metro eliminated 500 monthly permit holders that were not riding Metro. This freed up spaces for riders who were on Metro’s wait lists, likely modestly increasing Metro ridership. In the words of the staff report “active parking demand management has allowed staff to shift these spaces from non-transit users and accommodate transit patrons who use transit on a regular basis.”  Read more…

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The Return of the Blob: Parking Requirements Are Engulfing Los Angeles

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The growth of L.A. County parking, currently 14 percent of county land. Image via Access magazine.

The latest issue of Access magazine focuses on parking. The introduction is by parking sage Donald Shoup. There are articles on parking in cities (especially Los Angeles), cruising for parking, market-based pricing, parking for smart growth, parking maximums, and parking benefits districts. From Shoup’s introduction:

When it comes to parking, rational people quickly become emotional, and staunch conservatives turn into ardent communists. Critical and analytic faculties seem to shift to a lower level when people think about parking. Some people strongly support market prices—except for parking. Some vehemently oppose subsidies—except for parking. Some abhor planning regulations—except for parking. Some insist on rigorous data collection and statistical tests—except for parking.

Below are summaries of a couple articles most pertinent to Streetsblog L.A. readership.

Do Cities Have Too Much Parking?

The extent of L.A.’s parking boggles the mind. “As of 2010, Los Angeles County had 18.6 million parking spaces, including 5.5 million residential off-street, 9.6 million non-residential off-street, and 3.6 million on-street spaces.”

Disturbing graphics depicting the extent of L.A. County land mass covered by parking made the rounds about a year ago. The recent Access article summarizes and crystallizes findings published earlier in the Journal of the American Planning Association, reviewed by Streetsblog L.A. here. Parking blob images were featured at Better Institutions and Curbed. Yes, Virginia, parking in L.A. “amounts to more than 200 square miles of parking spaces, equivalent to 14 percent of the county’s incorporated land area.”

What can be done to curb the blob continuing to engulf Los Angeles?  Read more…

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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.  Read more…

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Ideas On How Metro and the Rams Can Expand Fan Transportation Choices

Expo Line platform crowding after Rams game. Photo via Metro

Expo Line platform crowding after this week’s Rams game. Photo via Metro

You may have heard that the National Football League’s Rams are back in Los Angeles. The football is no doubt exciting, but the team’s presence has also elevated Southern California conversations about parking, congestion, transit, and traffic.

Now through 2018, the Rams play home games at the Coliseum in Exposition Park, a stone’s throw from the Metro Expo Line. In the future, the Rams will be playing at a new stadium under construction in Inglewood. The new stadium, expected to be completed by 2019, will be just over a mile from Metro’s under-construction Crenshaw/LAX light rail line.

At the Rams first regular season home game, the Los Angeles Times reported parking prices surging well over $100. Rather than proclaiming parking doom, the paper interviewed parking expert Don Shoup, explained congestion pricing, and declared high prices to be “good news for mass transit backers.” Metro’s The Source reported that 26 percent of Rams attendees, 21,000 of the 80,000, took transit to the game. This is nearly quadruple transit’s 7 percent share of L.A. County commute trips.

Though SBLA will offer some advice after the jump, first a couple of caveats: Read more…

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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.  Read more…

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More Parking, Fewer Units Could Be Mar Vista Council Prescription for Venice Blvd Housing Project

Rendering of the proposed project at 12444 Venice Blvd. via the Mar Vista Community Council website.

Rendering of the proposed project at 12444 Venice Blvd. via the Mar Vista Community Council website.

Tomorrow night, the Mar Vista Community Council will hear from the public about a proposed mixed-use housing project slated for 12444 Venice Boulevard.

The proposed project would replace an existing strip mall. The proposal is for a new 85-foot tall building with 77 units (seven of which would be affordable) and about 2,100 square feet of ground-floor retail. It would include more bike parking (89 spaces) than vehicle parking (75 spaces) both at ground level and below.

At a recent meeting of the Mar Vista Community Council Land Use Committee, many of the usual concerns about new housing projects were raised. According to Argonaut coverage of the meeting last month, the building height was the primary concern.

A letter [PDF] to the City Planning Department from Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin revealed that some residents were also concerned by the lack of parking.

The question that will be answered Tuesday is whether the Mar Vista Community Council will support this project or if they will call for fewer units and more parking.

“The proposed project only provides 75 parking spaces, despite the fact that it has 77 residential units and over 2,000 square feet of ground floor retail,” Bonin wrote in his letter, dated July 12. “The limited parking will place a tremendous strain on the surrounding residential community.”

According to Bonin’s letter, not only is there not enough parking, but parking should not be at grade, lest it interfere with Venice Boulevard’s transformation into a Great Street. It ignores the negative impact on the walkability of Venice that would come with inviting more cars to the area by adding more parking, underground or not.

Bonin also expressed concern about the building’s height.

“The proposed project is seven stories and 85 feet in height, which is significantly taller than any other building on Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista,” Bonin wrote in his letter. “Such a change is material and should be discussed at a public hearing.”

It is unclear if a height reduction would mean a loss of units. The proposed plans for the project include an alternative, shorter building with the same number of units, but with less architectural variety.

Still, the conversation surrounding this project is emblematic of confused priorities. The city of Los Angeles is facing a severe housing shortage that is driving up the cost of housing and forcing moderate and low-income people out of neighborhoods like Mar Vista that only a decade ago were relatively affordable.

An increase in quality jobs in the area combined with stagnation in housing growth has meant that moderate and low-income households are now competing with higher-earning households for the same units.

The state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office issued a report earlier this year that reiterated that if California is serious about curbing displacement, then the state should be building a lot more housing, including market-rate housing.

While 77 units is a drop in the bucket, it is a much-needed one at a time when families are being forced out of the state because they can’t afford the cost of housing.

From a livable streets perspective, even with at-grade parking, the project would be a huge improvement over the strip mall that currently occupies the site. Bonin is right to celebrate the transformation of Venice Boulevard into a new multi-modal thoroughfare. He is also right to assure that when properties are redeveloped along the new Venice Boulevard, they augment and improve the street life for people–not just cars.

Putting parking underground advances walkability goals. Requiring more parking on the property does not. More parking would likely increase vehicle trips in the area. Underground parking is very expensive. Investing in more parking spaces to store more cars means fewer resources available to house people.

There is a delicate balance to be struck here, with various goals sometimes in conflict. Will the community prioritize parking over housing, as L.A. has too often done in the past? Or can a consensus emerge that truly serves L.A.’s multi-modal future? Attend tomorrow night’s meeting and make your voice heard.

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Eyes on the Street: Metro Expo Line 2 Has Parking Available

Plenty of Expo Line parking available at the Bundy station. Photo taken Monday at 8 a.m. by Juan Matute

Plenty of Expo Line parking available at the Bundy station. Photo taken Monday at around 8 a.m. by Juan Matute

Expo

Plenty of Expo Line parking available at the 17th Street station. Photo taken today at around 8 a.m. by Juan Matute

Someone get the word out to all those eager Metro Expo Line riders that the L.A. Times, Los Angeles Magazine and KTLA5 were so concerned about! Get the word out to Pacific Palisades! Lo and behold, it turns out that there is actually plenty of car parking available along the newly-opened Metro Expo Line phase 2.

There are lots of people riding the new train. Sometimes the train cars get crowded. It turns out that, as in the past, apparently Expo is not that different from the rest of Metro’s transit network where more than 80 percent of riders arrive by walking. As SBLA opined earlier, it does appear that:

Metro has done a good job of balancing its investments in access to the Expo Line. By investing in parking, bus service, bike and walk facilities, Metro is giving Angelenos plenty of great choices.

The questions now may be: Why are there so many empty spaces? Why did Metro build so much parking (roughly 5-10 million dollars worth)?  Read more…

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L.A. Moves Toward Returning Parking Meter Revenue To Neighborhoods

Pasadena parking meter revenue returns to neighborhoods where it is collected. Soon L.A. may implement a similar program.

Pasadena parking meter revenue returns to neighborhoods where it is collected. L.A. plans to implement a similar program soon.

Parking expert Donald Shoup has long asserted that one cornerstone of smart parking policy is to return parking meter revenue to the neighborhoods where the revenue is generated. When parking meters feed an anonymous city general fund, as much of the city of L.A.’s meter revenue does, then parking meters are perceived as burden to communities. When local meter revenue goes to fund local improvements, then neighborhoods tend to welcome the meters.

There is a much-repeated Pasadena anecdote showing the power of revenue return. When the city of Pasadena wanted to install parking meters in its Old Pasadena neighborhood, there was resistance from local merchants. When Pasadena proposed using the meter revenue just to improve Old Pasadena, merchants responded: can we run the meters at night and on weekends!?

Revenue return is key to generating the political will to implementing meters and charging appropriate rates for parking.

Under a suite of parking reform motions by L.A. City Councilmember Bonin, the city and its Department of Transportation (LADOT) are moving toward a pilot program where a portion of parking meter revenue will be returned to neighborhoods. Bonin’s very Shoupista motion 15-1450-S4 calls on LADOT to begin a “pilot program that would return a portion of local meter revenue to the locations where it was generated” and for that funding to go to “transportation improvements.” LADOT is interpreting “transportation improvements” very broadly to include sidewalk repair, bike corrals, beautification, parking, etc.

At today’s Transportation Committee meeting, LADOT appeared poised to begin the program in FY2016-17 in three pilot areas, with probable expansion citywide in FY2107-18.  Read more…

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Metro Committee Approves All-Paid Parking For 3 New Expo Stations

Yesterday, Metro’s Planning and Programming Committee approved the initial phase of the agency’s new Parking Management Pilot Program. The program is anticipated to begin with three new Expo station parking lots in May: Sepulveda, Bundy, and 17th Street.

The pilot is anticipated to expand to nine rail station parking lots by Winter 2016.

Here is how it will work:

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Drivers with TAP cards validate when entering the parking lot. Image via Metro

Returning Transit Riders

Returning riders will show their TAP card to a parking attendant, who, like Metro security do, will validate that the TAP card has been used in the past few days. The driver will pay the parking attendant or show their paid monthly permit.

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Drivers without TAP cards are required to validate after riding Metro. Image via Metro

New Transit Riders

New riders would not have a TAP card yet. They will receive an “exception ticket” which is placed on the car dashboard. After the driver parks and rides, they subsequently have to link their TAP payment to their parking, either online or in person with a parking attendant.

Approval Process

The committee discussion was energetic, with boardmembers Sheila Kuehl and Mike Bonin intent on managing the user experience at Expo stations in neighborhoods they represent. Kuehl spoke of the need to utilize Metro parking to get her constituents “who drive all the time” out of their cars.

Bonin anticipated that monthly parking passes will sell out immediately upon being made available, likely in April. Though Bonin suggested a lottery for initial permits, Metro staff responded that the plan is to make Expo Phase 2 parking permits available on a straightforward first-come first-served basis, as has been Metro’s practice in the past. Historically many Metro station monthly permits have long wait lists, arguably because Metro’s below-market pricing has led to permit supply being insufficient to meet demand. The parking pilot is retooling the monthly permits somewhat. Under the pilot, in order to prevent “poaching” (non-transit riders purchasing monthly permits), monthly pass holders will be required to ride Metro at least ten times per month to be eligible to renew monthly parking permits.

Read more…