ADDRESSING PARKING PANDAMONIA-In February, Mayor Eric Garcetti tasked the Los Angeles Parking Reform Working Group with brainstorming a bunch of solutions to improve parking in LA. They came back with a 40-page report filled with recommendations for actions the city should take. This week the public got its first chance to give feedback on the report when it was presented to the Los Angeles City Council Transportation Committee.
According to Streetsblog LA, the committee will now determine which, if any, of the LAPRWG's proposals they will shepherd into law. This includes radically altering LA's street-cleaning program, reforming neighborhood permit parking and giving a break to double-parked UPS trucks.
Here are the six major areas or reforms the LAPRWG report lays out:
Expand performance-based pricing
The group wants to expand LA's ExpressPark program, the variable pricing system now used in Downtown LA that changes the price of parking meters based on the demand for parking spots throughout the day. The city already plans to bring similar meters to Westwood, Hollywood and Venice, but the LAPRWG wants the city to push the program even further.
The report also calls for pricing structures that account for holidays or events nearby. Obviously that would mean making higher parking prices near the Staples Center on game night, but they also suggest variable pricing for spots near a mall around Christmas. To accomplish the most fair and accurate pricing, the report calls for more in-depth studies on parking occupancy in various scenarios.
Adopt a freight parking program
LAPRWG wants to give UPS drivers a little break. Citing an explosion in home delivery, the report calls for a reform in how the city deals with freight vehicles that are parking short-term. As of now, freight drivers receive more than $4 million worth of traffic tickets due to their inability to load and unload items without double parking or blocking red zones.
The LAPRWG report calls for the city to identify the 20 streets where freight drivers get the most citations and establish new "freight loading only" zones to alleviate the problem. In addition, a special parking permit would be issued to freight drivers to give them access to freight spots and reduced fines for non-safety parking violations. If successful, the program would then expand throughout the city.
Reevaluate the street cleaning program
Anyone who wakes up early once or twice a week just to move a car will appreciate this one. The LAPRWG calls for all street cleaning vehicles to be tracked by GPS, with all movements and activities easily accessed by parking enforcement officers. Rather than close off parking on a street for an arbitrary two-hour block, street cleaning restrictions would be updated in real time. So if you're parked in a street cleaning zone and the street has already been cleaned or cleaning has been cancelled that week, you won't get a ticket. Even better, they recommend a text- or email-based notification system to inform residents when a street has been cleaned and it's safe to park there again.
Reevaluate Preferential Parking Districts
The report calls for a tweak to the way LA handles neighborhoods with overnight permit parking. LAPRWG recommends examining the specific needs of permitted neighborhoods to factor in the needs of non-residents too. That would mean determining whether residents of a permit parking neighborhood are making full use of their driveways and garages, rather than taking up street parking they don't really need. The report suggests allotting one side of the street for residents and the other side for non-residents parking short term.
Experiment with information and communication technology
Street signs in LA have been attacked in the past for their notoriously confusing and sometimes conflicting parking information. The LAPRWG report calls for street signs to carry a unique QR code that would allow drivers to pull up parking info for that street on their phone.
Even bigger would be the addition of dynamic signage. These would be street signs that completely change the information on display depending on the need at that moment.
If parking restrictions on a street are different on one day than another, the sign would show the appropriate information. If there's a special event or construction on a street, the sign would specifically reflect that. With the new technology, the city would also increase communication between citizens and LADOT, allowing drivers to directly report parking violations or incorrect signage.
Segregate parking revenue for management and reinvestment purposes
This recommendation would keep parking money in a dedicated Parking and Access Enterprise Fund. Rather than go into general city coffers, parking revenue would be used exclusively to further manage parking and improve the city's mobility. This would decrease the practice of ramping up parking enforcement to shore up the city budget. The money would instead be used for improving street infrastructure through things like sidewalk repair, new signage, improved bus stops, and car share programs.
(Jeff Wattenhofer is a writer for Curbed LA where this piece was originally posted.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.
Vol 13 Issue 89
Pub: Nov 03, 2015