Culver City Observer -

City Looks at Parking Fees


Council Considers Charging in Free Structures

Monday night’s council meeting marked the appointment of John Nachbar as the new City Manager. One issue that he may have to deal with in the near future will be the problem of parking in Culver City, especially in the downtown area.

Parking was the issue for most people at Monday’s meeting. During public comment, Council meeting regular Cary Anderson presented a video slide show featuring photographs taken during the recent Culver City Car Show, showing drivers parking in the wrong direction and on sidewalks. Anderson noted that although the day of the car show was a “maximum enforcement day,” enforcement had been lax.

This was a perhaps appropriate prelude to the joint City Council-Redevelopment Agency item on the Walker Parking Study. Walker Parking Consultants has been studying the parking issues in Culver City and gave the Council a presentation that outlined the major points in the Walker report.

According to the presentation, yes, there is a parking problem but there is no shortage of parking. The problem is caused by varying prices for parking in different locations.

Out of about 2800 parking spaces in the downtown area, 1523 spaces are provided by three parking structures. These spaces are in greater demand at times when there are more visitors (as in the evenings when visitors attend movies and nightlife in the downtown area). Currently, all three structures have two hours free parking.

Walker recommends that the Cardiff and Watseka structures charge a $1 per hour fee, while the Ince parking structure charge a .50 cent per hour fee.

In addition, Walker suggests that all parking meters be enforced until 11 p.m. every day and all day on Sundays; and that meter rates be increased to $1.50 per hour from $1.00 per hour.

“Create a price differential to give drivers a choice: convenience or economy,” says the report. “Currently the most convenient spaces are often not available.”

It was agreed by everyone that parking improvements will be for naught unless there is “aggressive enforcement” of parking regulations.

Megan Sahli-Wells, during public comment, remarked that enforcement has been “horrible,” and that in addition to strict enforcement of parking regulations, residents and visitors should seek alternatives in transportation, including buses, bikes, and walking.

Her views were echoed by Council member Micheal Mehaul O’ Leary, who said that this is “an exciting time” what with the coming of rapid transit to Culver City, and that there is a need for a “change in the culture” regarding the use of cars.

Council member Scott Malsin thought that the fees being introduced for the parking structures in the Walker recommendation were possibly too high. He suggested that parking in the Ince structure be free for the first two hours.

This presentation was the first in a series. City Director of Community Development Sol Blumenfeld said that the comments of the Council (and public) will be collected and considered and future meetings will cover other points of the report, leading to the Council directing staff to create an implementation plan.

The Council also held a brief public hearing on the resolution approving an administrative use permit for tandem parking and administrative modification for reduction of parking stall width at the Warner lot at 8511 Warner Drive. The resolution was unanimously adopted. A covenant amendment on the use of the property was approved at a previous Council meeting.

In two other public hearings, the Council approved a resolution levying the annual assessment for West Washington Benefit Assessment District Number One for Fiscal Year 2010-11, and tabulated the result for Assessment District Formation Ballot for the proposed West Washington Benefit Assessment District Number Two (89.4 per cent of ballots supported the assessment).

And on a lighter note, during public comment, the Council heard from Annalivia Martin-Straw, who held a pink pig (stuffed) named Wilbur and told the Council about the upcoming “Charlotte’s Web” event for the Culver City Friends of the Library CityWide Reads program (at the Julian Dixon Library, July 17, at 5 p.m.)

“You mentioned there would be ‘fun games,’ ” O’ Leary said to Martin-Straw. “What kind of games?”

“I don’t know,” she replied. “But I’m sure they will be fun.”


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