By Edwin Folven, 10/25/2012
City considers extending evening hours of operation
Motorists in West Hollywood may no longer get a free ride with parking during the evenings, as the city is considering extending the hours of meters on major thoroughfares.
Currently, only the meters on Sunset Boulevard are in operation from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., with meters in all other parts of the city ceasing operation at 6 p.m. Jackie Rocco, public operations manager in the city’s Parking Division, said the goal is to encourage turnover, enabling more people to find parking.
“One of the differences we are seeing on Sunset where they are in effect until 2 a.m., at any time, you have the opportunity to find a parking meter,” Rocco said. “In other parts of the city after 6 p.m., the [spaces] at meters are fully occupied and don’t get turnover. People are forced to look for off-street parking and pay a higher price.”
Rocco said the city is in the process of getting the word out about the proposal, and there is no specific timeline for implementation. The issue was considered yesterday by the West Hollywood Public Transportation Commission, and residents and stakeholders will have further opportunities to weigh-in on the proposal at future public meetings.
Genevieve Morrill, president and CEO of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is currently in the process of sending out surveys to business owners to gauge their support or opposition to the proposal. She said it may make sense to extend the times at meters to encourage turnover in some parts of the city, but that a blanket approach throughout the city may not be the best option. The needs of businesses in the Avenues of Art, Fashion and Design District in the southwest portion of the city may not be the same as businesses in the neighborhood near Santa Monica Boulevard and La Brea Avenue on the eastside of the city, she said.
“We want to give adequate concern to opinions in different parts of the city,” Morrill said. “Does extending the times in different [areas] make sense, or do we look at making recommendations for different times in different [areas]? These are things we will be looking at.”
West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang agreed that having turnover at parking spaces is important, and that he supports having the meters extended to different times in different parts of the city. He referenced the neighborhood around San Vicente and Santa Monica boulevards, where a lot of bars and nightclubs are located. There are a limited number of street parking spaces available in the area, and because people do not have to pay after 6 p.m., the spaces remain occupied all evening.
“There is the issue of fairness,” Prang said. “A small amount of people monopolize the free spots, and everyone else has to go somewhere else.”
Prang added that the money generated from the meters will be used for public safety, such as funding the hiring of more sheriff’s deputies, or hiring security guards for bicycle patrols. He said that the city council will have the final decision on extending the meters.
“Business hours in entertainment districts are not nine to five,” Prang added. “If we customize the process, it will better suit different needs.”