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Council Wants More Study of Longer Parking Meter Hours

West Hollywood's 6 p.m. cut-off time for parking meters could increase next year to 8 p.m. or later in certain areas.

After hearing concerns from residents and business owners, the West Hollywood City Council on Monday asked for a new proposal to increase parking meter hours past the current 6 p.m. enforcement deadline.

About a dozen people spoke in opposition to ending free parking on Sundays and raising the enforcement cut-off time to 8 p.m. or as late midnight on western parts of Santa Monica Boulevard, council members called for additional public outreach and directed staff to return with a revised proposal as early as February.

Council members and city staff said creating more parking meter availability after 6 p.m. would be a boon to businesses, which presumably lose customers due to a lack of street parking. They claimed the shortage of nighttime street parking was due largely to employees who work at the city's restaurants and bars on Santa Monica Boulevard who park at metered spaces for most of the night starting at 5 or 6 p.m.

"The current status quo is not working," Councilman John Duran said. "If it seems really inconvenient to ask people to think about parking in the library structure to walk all the way over to the Yogurt Stop to get a yogurt, well maybe this idea about turning over parking spaces would let us use those spaces that should be meant for short-term parking."

City staff proposed a $30 monthly parking permit for commercial employees who work on the city's west side that would be valid at metered spaces primarily located south of Melrose Avenue between Doheny Drive and La Cienega Boulevard.

Another idea was to create a $40 monthly permit to park at the city's Kings Road Parking Structure and a $30 monthly permit for night parking at its Orange Grove Parking Lot.

Council members stated concerns about possible security risks to local workers, many of whom would have to walk a considerable distance from their Santa Monica Boulevard workplace to their cars in the proposed employee permit zones.

Councilman John Heilman, who didn't support employee permits, said providing parking for commercial workers was fundamentally the responsibility of employers, not the city.

"But we want to help out," Heilman said. "The way to do that is ... use Pavilions, use the [Pacific Design Center], use other places for employee parking that will be displaced if we change the meter rules."

The council's action came after residents and business owners expressed their views on the proposed changes to the parking meter enforcement hours.

"What will happen after this parking increase is ... the customer will move into valet parking," said Larry Block, who owns Block Party clothing store on Santa Monica Boulevard. "Valet parking rates will go up from $6 to $10 to $20, and the whole concept of keeping prices at market level shift once you raise the cheapest parking in the area."

Pat Nixon said "8 is too late, 6 is fine. ... Let's make it as convenient as possible for residents."

The council budgeted $1 million from projected revenues for fiscal years 2012-13 and 2013-14 that will result from the extended parking meter hours to pay for more patrols by the Sheriff's Department and private security personnel.

If the council doesn't increase parking meter enforcement time, it will have to reconsider the public safety funding during the mid-year budget process, according to a staff report.

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Sheila Lightfoot December 05, 2012 at 05:35 AM
Tabling it isn’t the same as saying, “no.” Don’t be surprised if it comes back with a few minor tweaks. This plan was a “hot mess.” It’s just like so many other plans that have already been foisted upon us by the long-term contingent at City Hall. They’re half-baked, piecemeal plans based on personal agendas or the idea that WeHo residents and businesses should be paying through the nose for the privilege to live or do business in the City these folks seem to think they generously created for us. Somehow, putting together good comprehensive plans that spend our revenue to actually improve our lives and livelihoods never seems to occur to them. The businesses provide most of the revenue this City runs on and, instead of investing in infrastructure that supports our businesses and makes life better for residents, there is a constant effort to extract more and more from us. The examples are too numerous to detail, but if we need to extract more funds from parking to pay for needed Sheriffs and private security, where is our $68 million in current revenue going? Shouldn’t our basic protection be the first spending priority from general funds instead of something we need to pay extra for?
Sheila Lightfoot December 05, 2012 at 05:36 AM
I’d like to remind City Hall of something else. We are the ones who make this City what it is, not you. I would challenge anyone at City Hall to go to another city and turn it into a West Hollywood. Good luck with that. It’s long past time for residents and businesses to come together and put people in office who will run our City “for” us, not for the purpose of changing us or taking advantage of us.
Chuck Tatum December 06, 2012 at 08:39 PM
I find it very interesting that he council budgeted $1 million from projected revenues for fiscal years 2012-13 and 2013-14 that will result from the extended parking meter hours when that very body hasn't approved such a revenue source yet? Kind of puts the pressure on to actually implement or have to reconsider the public safety funding during the mid-year budget process, per the staff report "quasi-fiscal cliff threat." Additionally, the story author left out a critical piece of the story that I would have included--not the motivational spewing that was quoted--but the revenue from the outrageous priced parking tickets. That's where the million dollars comes from--not $30 or $40 "employee permits" or quarters.
Cheng Qian December 06, 2012 at 09:04 PM
John Duran has the typical mind of an attorney. When he's in power, he makes the law.
joninla December 09, 2012 at 10:24 AM
@ Chuck Tatum - You hit the nail on the head. The City reallyintends to make serious money from the parking tickets and not the relatively paultry revenue the meters generate. Same with residential parking. All the costs to enforce the residential parking permits is paid by the residents from the permit fees, so that all the revenue genreated from all the tickets given in residental areas are pure profit (rather than first using the revenue from residental parking tickets to pay for the signage/permits/patrols and enforcement, then using the remaining reveue for other city purposes). Likewise, the parking signs themselves are very complicated and difficult to understand, and laid out in such a way that every other block switches the rules for each side of the street. All for more parking ticket revenue and certainly not to manage the serious need for adequate resident parking throughout the city.

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