City public works director Oscar Delgado Thursday said that city staff would recommend to the Transportation Commission and City Council that parking meter hours are extended throughout the city.
Delgado, along with West Hollywood mayor Jeffrey Prang, says that the turnover of parking spots within the city is minimal, considering most meters are shut off by 6 p.m., which allows visitors to park for hours on end.
By incorporating extended hours, Delgado believes that parking in the city, namely on the Westside, will flow smoother.
“Parking meters are a real resource,” Delgado said. “While there are very few meters in respect to the overall amount of parking, any time that they’re not turning over, there are issues."
“If we have businesses that are open until midnight and 2 a.m., the meters should stay on as long as the businesses are open.”
Delgado says that city staff will meet with the Transportation Commission on Oct. 24, and while the hours are not set in stone, he expects that staff will recommend meters on the Westside of the city remain operational until 2 a.m. during the week and on Saturday, similar to meters on Sunset Boulevard.
As far as the Eastside of the city, towards Fairfax, staff will recommend that meters remain operational until 10 p.m.
Hours of 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. could be put in place for Sunday in both areas, according to Delgado.
“While it does have some nightlife, the Eastside doesn’t have the activity the Westside has,” Delgado said. “But we’re fine-tuning the hours as we speak to see if that’s going to be the final recommendation that we bring before the Transportation Commission and the City Council.”
Delgado says that staff hopes to implement the extended hours by January 1 of 2013.
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If the extended hours were to be approved, it would not be the only instance in recent memory where parking meters in the city have made a splash.
In June of this year, parking meter rates went up from $1.00 per hour to $1.50 per hour, which Prang says was necessary in order to pay for new credit card meters throughout the city and to increase the city’s safety budget.
“We use the revenues from the fee increases, which are still less expensive than in L.A. and Beverly Hills, in order to convert all the meters in the city to meters that take credit cards,” Prang said. “Secondly, revenues from those meters will be used for a $1 million enhancement in the city’s safety budget.”
Though the extended hours recommendation has yet to come before City Council, Prang agrees that parking must be mitigated in the entertainment districts of the city.
“When the meters stop collecting at 6 p.m., those spots become de facto all night parking spots,” Prang said. “We’re looking to encourage turnover.”
Delgado did mention some negatives that would accompany extending meter hours, such as the fact that employees of local businesses often park their cars at meters. In hopes of not stripping employees of their normal parking spots, Delgado says he hopes to implement a program in which employees can park at underutilized meter spots with a special permit.
However, Delgado was firm in his belief that meter parking spots should be designated for visitors to the city, not residents choosing to drive a few blocks or late night visitors that plan to stay overnight.
“When people want to come to our city for an hour or two, those are the ones that should be taking advantage of the on street spaces, not people that intend to spend the evening with us,” Delgado said. “We don’t have sufficient turnover at a lot of our meters. It gives the false perception that there is no parking in our city.”