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Parking Reforms Advanced By L.A. City Council Transportation Committee

Parking reform will likely including citywide expansion of L.A. Express Park
Parking reform will likely including citywide expansion of L.A. Express Park
Parking reform will likely including citywide expansion of L.A. Express Park

As expected, a suite of far-ranging parking reforms was heard by the Los Angeles City Council's Transportation Committee yesterday. The committee was broadly receptive to the reforms, directing the city's Transportation Department (LADOT) and other departments to further investigate a number of key reforms. What was perhaps most revealing was individual city councilmember attention to specific parking issues.

As previewed earlier this week, the reforms were proposed by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Los Angeles Parking Reform Working Group in a report [PDF] entitled “Proposals for Parking Reform in the City of Los Angeles.” They include:

    1. Dedicate all parking revenue for mobility and parking purposes only
    2. Change zoning code to address problems created by minimum parking requirements
    3. End handicap placard abuse
    4. Expand use of performance-based pricing
    5. Charge drivers for only the amount of time parked
    6. Charge tiered fines for parking tickets
    7. Adopt a freight parking program
    8. Re-evaluate street cleaning parking restrictions
    9. Re-evaluate Preferential Parking Districts (PPDs)
    10. Use technology to improve parking

None of the proposals were at a point where the committee could just vote to put them into effect immediately. Instead, largely at the direction of Transportation Committee chair Mike Bonin, numerous items are moving forward with departments evaluating them and reporting back to future Transportation Committee meetings.

The committee moved forward with the following reforms, numbered as they are above:

1. Dedicate all parking revenue for mobility and parking purposes only

In city parlance, a dedicated fund is called an "Enterprise Fund" (as opposed to the General Fund.) Bonin and the committee directed LADOT and the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to report on the benefits and costs of establishing a Parking Enterprise Fund, including a proposal for a pilot that would return a portion of local meter revenue to the locations where it was generated for transportation improvements.

Additionally on a separate but related item, the committee laid the groundwork for using city parking revenue to finance expansion of Express Park, a “Code the Curb” inventory (see 10 below), and a pilot enterprise fund.

Councilmember Jose Huizar asked a couple of questions on how a Parking Enterprise Fund could be targeted toward improvements specifically in the areas that generate the revenues.

4. Expand use of performance-based pricing

L.A. already does variable or performanced-based pricing as part of L.A. Express Park, which has been in effect for most of downtown Los Angeles for a few years, and is expanding to Westwood later this year. Bonin and the committee directed LADOT to report back on what is needed to accelerate Express Park implementation for Venice, Expo/USC, Hollywood, and to expand it to all parking metered streets "citywide."

7. Adopt a freight parking program

Bonin and the committee directed LADOT to identify L.A.'s top twenty streets in terms of parking citations issued delivery vehicles. The report back also examines: existing curbside availability, commercial loading zones, freight and delivery stakeholder input, best practices from other cities, and methodology for assessing a pilot freight parking program.

8. Re-evaluate street cleaning parking restrictions

Bonin and the committee directed city departments to report on what it would take to technologically track street sweeping vehicles to create a street cleaning notification system. Additionally, departments were directed to evaluate sweeping schedules with regard to peak parking demand.

9. Re-evaluate Preferential Parking Districts (PPDs)

Evaluation of the city's PPD program was already underway, as part of Council file 15-0600-S62. For this item an LADOT report, with recommendations, is expected to be heard in Transportation Committee later this year.

PPDs were the most talked-about item at yesterday's hearing. Councilmember Bonin stated that, while he supported all the other Working Group recommendations, he was skeptical about including business representatives along with residents in PPDs. He stated that PPDs solve residents' parking problems caused by "underparked businesses," asking "why widen the circle to those causing the problems?" Councilmember Paul Koretz had very detailed concerns over PPD administration, from the design of the permits, to the ineffectiveness of district boundaries and guest permits.

10. Use technology to improve parking

Bonin and the committee directed LADOT to determine a cost for a "Code the Curb" inventory of all assets in the public right of way. This should set the stage for city or third-party apps to convey parking information to smart phone users.

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