One of the top issues that frustrates people in West Hollywood is PARKING. As Councilman, Jeff Prang made it a top priority, and admitted that whatever the City did, the problem never seemed to go away.
Parking issues are myriad--from availability in residential neighborhoods and commercial districts, to confusing regulations and overzealous enforcement. But the bottom line is that West Hollywood will never solve its parking problems as long as the City relies on parking as a revenue stream.
Taken together, parking meters and parking tickets constitute $13,473,000 in revenues to the City's General Fund, and another $875,000 to the Parking Improvement Fund, for a total of nearly 14-and-a-half million dollars.
That's more than the City collects in Sales Taxes. That's more than the City collects in Property Taxes. Parking is West Hollywood's second-largest revenue source, accounting for more than 17% of unrestricted revenues!
If the City of Los Angeles got as much revenue from Parking as West Hollywood does, they would take in an additional $690 million each year! That's a lot of $58 tickets.
Until West Hollywood weans itself from parking meters and parking tickets as a revenue source, we will never adopt sensible parking regulations, or require developers to build enough parking for their customers and employees, or build enough public parking to meet demand.
That is why I propose to take the following steps to start reducing our City's reliance on parking revenues:
- Roll back the enforcement hours of parking meters outside the Sunset Strip to 8 AM to 8 PM every day. Extending meter hours until midnight has caused businesses to lose customers and created undue burdens on already limited parking in nearby residential neighborhoods.
- Reduce the cost of a parking ticket to $36. Parking tickets should be a deterrent and they are for most people, but we should not charge more than half a days salary for someone making minimum wage.
- Review Parking Requirements for new housing developments to ensure new buildings provide more than enough parking for residents and visitors.
- Require excess parking in any project seeking a development agreement because they seek to go outside the City's General Plan.
- Expand the Parking Credits Program beyond the first District to encourage shared use of public parking on the Sunset Strip, Center City and East Side.
- Create a City Residents Permit which allows residents to buy an add-on to the Residential Parking permits which would let them park at City meters or in City-owned Parking lots.
- Explore expanded parking opportunities by double-decking city-owned lots on the Sunset Strip and Orange Grove to create more parking and rooftop green space and public parks.
These are just a few ideas we can implement in West Hollywood to start fixing our parking problems, but the motivation needs to be there to address parking as a public policy problem and not as a revenue source!