Metro Considers Expanding Paid Park-and-Ride To Eight More Stations

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.
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.

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Next week, the Metro board will be considering a staff recommendation to implement paid park-and-ride at eight additional rail stations. Metro currently has 15 all-paid park-and-ride station lots. Most Metro station parking will remain free to drivers.

Current free parking stations expected to convert to paid parking are:

  • Blue Line: Wardlow, Willow
  • Expo Line: Expo/Crenshaw
  • Gold Line: Arcadia, Indiana, Downtown Azusa, Duarte
  • Green Line: Hawthorne/Lennox

As many Streetsblog readers know, there is generally a high cost for free parking, though it is not paid by the individual driver. For free park-and-ride, costs are born by the transit agency, hence paid by the general public and by fare-paying mostly low-income transit riders. Charging for park-and-ride is good for fairness and for the environment.

Under Metro’s adopted Supportive Transit Parking Program Master Plan, free parking stations that are more than 90 percent occupied are subject to parking management interventions, including TAP validation (making sure people who park actually ride Metro) and all-paid parking. Staff report that all eight of the above stations are consistently over 90 percent occupied.

The staff proposal would increase the existing parking management contract with L&R Auto Parks (dba Joe’s Auto Parks) by $1.6 million. Metro staff anticipate that the additional paid park-and-ride stations will generate $1.9 million over the 28 months remaining on the contract, so overall Metro is projected to receive approximately $300,000 in net revenue.

The parking proposal was scheduled to be heard in committee today, though that meeting was canceled. It will likely be on the July 26 board meeting agenda.

  • calwatch

    The one concern is that the rapid decline in off peak ridership, and lack of sustainability for higher frequency evening service, may be caused by charging for parking 24/7/365, which is not a best practice at most other transit systems, like BART, WMATA, Denver RTD, MBTA, etc. It causes messaging issues with promotions like free rides on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, and leads to street parking issues on weekends and evenings precisely when most city meter readers are not employed for the subset of vehicles who still drive and park at night.

    The parking contractor has started to install the ALPRs (automated license plate readers) at most parking structures so they have the infrastructure to automatically mail tickets, like Frank Ching promised. Like ExpressLanes, those tickets are often hard to challenge when one isn’t there. Some of the stations why parking charges were imposed, like at Crenshaw, seem dubious – to discourage casino bus parking when those trips remove many more VMTs than a local commute trip, and when the chief advocate is a city councilmember who has his own casino contributing to his budget.

    And the ultimate plan is to leave only the following Metro Rail stations with free parking: 103rd St/Watts Towers, Avalon, I-105/I-110, I-105/Vermont, El Segundo, and Redondo Beach – six stations out of the 39 with Metro operated parking. (MacArthur Park is incorrectly listed since that has always been a kiss and ride, and Lake, Del Mar, and South Pasadena station parking are not operated by Metro.) The plan is to leave some Orange and Silver Line stations with free parking, when that is an inferior service to Metro Rail, but even when those are counted the goal is to charge parking at over 3/4 of all Metro Rail and Busway stations. There is no evidence that they are using the funds for things like increased security, or even using the ALPR technology to catch bad guys who break into cars, things that might encourage people to pay $5 for parking, if an on site guard was present. It makes parking at a station like El Monte more palatable when you see a security guard roaming the property.

  • Velodrone

    Pretty surprised Wardlow wasn’t counted among the free parking stations considering driving is the only viable method of accessing the station.

  • ExpoRider

    How can Metro charge for parking at Expo/Crenshaw? Doesn’t the church own that parking lot? Or is Metro planning to build their own parking lot for the Crenshaw Line?

  • calwatch

    The church owns it but Metro pays a flat rent. Rather than having Metro pay for the rent out of its operating budget they’ll use the parking fee to offset it. As an interesting note to how much parking costs, Metro pays the church over $1600 a year per space – so even if $3 was collected every weekday for every space, Metro would still be paying $800+ out of pocket.

  • jcovarru

    I live two miles away from Wardlow station: a five-minute drive. Currently there are only 100 or so parking spots, which fill up quickly every day.

    So my alternatives? The bus on Wardlow only runs every 30 minutes. The bike parking at the station is all leased, I’ve been on the wait list forever. The sidewalks leading to the station are broken and in some cases missing. So how am I supposed to get to the Blue Line? Helicopter?

    I will see this as a $3 fare increase, since I have no viable alternative. If they want people to stop using the station, this is a good way of doing it.

    (Actually, I will continue to drive, but instead of paying, I will circle the nearby neighborhood for parking, wasting my time, creating more pollution and pissing off the neighbors.)


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