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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.
Metro is planning to convert free parking to paid parking at eight additional rail stations. Gold Line Atlantic Station parking photo by 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 voiced 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.

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