Lauren Meister Proposes Major Changes in WeHo Parking Rules and Fines

parking meters

The West Hollywood City Council tonight will be asked to consider implementing major changes in the city’s parking policies that include rolling back parking meter enforcement from midnight to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and making street parking free on Sundays in most areas of the city.

The proposal, initiated by Councilmember Lauren Meister with the support of Councilmember John D’Amico,  would create a  subcommittee to study the following ideas:

— Reduce some and increase other parking fines. Fines for violations such as parking too long in a metered spot or parking one’s car outside the lines that mark a parking space would be reduced from $53 to $36. Fines would be increased for more egregious parking violations such as parking in a bicycle lane, parking in an intersection or crosswalk or parking in a peak traffic hour zone, when parking is barred to improve traffic flow. The bike lane parking fine would increase from $56 to $83. The fine for parking in an intersection or crosswalk would increase from the current $66 to $118. The fine for parking in a peak hour traffic zone would increase from $63 to $157. Fines for parking in a residential parking district without the correct permit would be increased from $58 to $69.

— Fine a driver $36 if he remains in a metered space for more than two hours after receiving an initial parking ticket.

— Consider establishing a parking credits district in the Center City area after the automated parking garage behind City Hall is finished. Currently the city has such a district on its Westside where new or expanding businesses can meet parking requirements by purchasing “credits” that are determined by a study of the actual availability of parking in an area.

West Hollywood City Councilmember Lauren Meister
West Hollywood City Councilmember Lauren Meister

The proposal would immediately implement a fine of $157 on a driver who leaves an animal unattended in a car when the temperature is 70 degrees or more.  It also would authorize fines for parking on uphill streets only with a slope or grade of at least 7.5 percent. Such fines currently are levied on drivers parking on street with a grade of six percent or more who do not turn their wheels appropriately to reduce the chance their cars will roll away from the curb.

 

The proposal would effectively void an ordinance passed by the Council in 2013 that extended enforcement of parking meters in the city’s busiest business districts by four hours until midnight on Mondays through Saturdays and to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Those extended hours applied to Santa Monica Boulevard from La Cienega west to Doheny and to Melrose Avenue east of La Cienega.

Meister’s proposal would leave in place the current meter hours of 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays on Sunset Boulevard and some of its side streets. The proposal also calls for parking meters to continue to be enforced from 8 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m on Sundays in that part of WeHo bordered on the south by Beverly Boulevard, on the north by Melrose Avenue, on the east by La Cienega Boulevard and on the west by Doheny Drive. That area includes a substantial part of the city’s Design District businesses

Other changes proposed by Meister include improving parking regulation signage and developing a mobile app for paying parking fees and finding parking lots.

The proposal also addresses the concerns of some residents that developers of new housing don’t include enough parking in their projects. It asks that the city’s Community Development Department present recommendations to the Planning Commission for possible changes in the number of parking spaces required for each housing unit in a new development.

Meister’s proposal is likely to appeal to many residents, who frequently complain about the lack of parking and the cost of parking in West Hollywood. However it may find some resistance in the business community. The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has asked that consideration of Meister’s proposal be delayed until it can get more input from its members and from city employees who administer the parking programs. The implementation of parking meter enforcement from 8 p.m. to midnight was designed to encourage turnover in parking meter spaces to make it easier people to find parking to shop or dine out in West Hollywood. West Hollywood’s quarterly sales tax reports for last year showed large growth in revenue from restaurants and entertainment businesses, which could be attributed, at least in part, to the decision to extend parking meter hours (and thus parking turnover). Before the meter hours were extended, employees of some local bars and restaurants were able to park free on busy streets during their work hours rather than use nearby garages or parking lots.

Another concern is the impact of the change in parking fines and meter hours on the revenue they generate, which is used to cover the cost of administering the parking program. Also, $1 million of the $13.4 million budgeted as revenue from parking meter fees and fines is used to fund a “security ambassador” program that puts bike-riding security officers in highly trafficked areas such as Santa Monica Boulevard during busy times of the day and night. If the reduction is substantial, the city will have to reduce that public safety program or divert money from other programs covered by its general fund budget.

Meister contends that the extension of parking meter hours also has sparked a major increase in multiple-day parking passes, which residents can use to allow guests to park in their neighborhoods, making it more difficult for residents to find parking on their own streets.

“The City of West Hollywood has a strong and prosperous business community including a vibrant nightlife component that has attracted generations of people to enjoy all our city has to offer, ” the proposal says. “Along with that has come a reputation as a place that has little available parking and a penchant for handing out overly expensive parking tickets for minor infractions by the tens of thousands. The effort outlined in this staff report is focused on changing the perception of West Hollywood as a place that balances its budget on the backs of our residents and nighttime visitors and realigns our values with the people that come to enjoy our city.”

 


30 Comments
  1. Because Sundays, during the day, are a great opportunity for people to visit West Hollywood, have brunch, walk around, do some shopping. I know for a fact that the two-hour limit gives some of my friends a reason to go elsewhere.

    Here is another idea that would help West Hollywood businesses. How about a farmer’s market at West Hollywood park, like they have in Hollywood? I think there’s already one on Melrose on Sundays, but could the city support a second one?

  2. Disco Dan, why do you want free parking on Sundays? Do you really need to save $1.50 when doing your errands? Or are you a business owner hoping that some non-customers will park in front of your place ALL DAY for free?

    Parking shouldn’t be free. Get used to it.

  3. I’m concerned that if you have a bad hair cut and you sit in the passenger seat waiting for the driver to return that you might be mistaken for a poodle.

    #Cruelty to passengers who look like dogs!

    This ordinance and it’s author needs to be “blown dry.”

  4. You must all be under the impression that the parking enforcement is actually trying to enforce the rules and regulations, rather than generate revenue for the city. I can say that as a former employee of the third party company hired to handle the city’s parking enforcement. 1. DO NOT GIVE this company any more discretion to allow them to cite owners who leave their pets in their vehicle. The tactics of this company are to hound both residents and visitors. You could go inside to pick up a take out order for not even 5 minutes and they’ll be citing you yet again. 2. There needs to be more oversight on Serco to ensure that they are actually following the law. YES they bring in the money, but the city needs to step up and send an CITY employee into examine this company’s practices REGULARLY. There is simply no focus on what is considered beneficial to city, but rather the amount of tickets and money the company brings in to insure they “keep their contract.”

    1. Although I did have problems with Serco and the manager my last contact via phone with him was very cordial. I have although observed cars on my street being cited for not curbing their wheels when in fact the wheels were curbed. On another occasion my neighbors car was cited for not displaying his placard correctly when in fact it was hanging from his rear view mirror.

      What really amazes me is how businesses at the bottom of the hill are allowed to park illegally and on one occasion blocked the street restricting the fire department from responding using the most direct route.

  5. that I hear from businesses are that their revenues are down.

    “It resulted in increased revenues for the city to fund social services” It did? Link? How much revenue? What programs?

    “restaurants and businesses in the Design District are thriving more than ever before” That’s interesting because there’s been a spate of restaurants, bars, and businesses that have closed since the extended hours up and down SMB.

    “many residents in WHW say they have experienced less disturbances in the middle of the night, less littering and less cars parked illegally on our permit parking residential streets” Many? How many? Who?

    “And by reducing critical revenue for the city” As we’re seeing in Baltimore, for profit policing is a disaster. The point of enforcing laws should be to prevent crime, not raise revenue on the backs of the poor. Excessive ticketing negatively affects those who can’t afford garages and more expensive housing with parking spots: the relatively less well-off. Democrats who control urban areas are rightly being slammed for backing this sort of thing. Making it less likely like the relatively less well off will have to pay expensive fines is progressive. Regressively taxing the poor with fines and balancing budgets on the backs of the poor is not real progressivism, but it is embraced by limosuine liberals like Eric Garcetti and John Heilman. Talk about quasi-Republican.

    The Heilman shills are out in force; most of them relatively wealthy homeowners who could care less if the poor are ticketed. They have no proof to backup their regressive claims. They go from claiming parking tickets is about safety and preventing selfishness then tacitly admit it’s about for-profit law enforcement, which is a disastrous policy. ‘Parking on grades’ is an outdated law that has zero to do with safety — even SanFran does not ticket for this and it has actual steep hills. Bars and restaurants were busier and not closing left and right before extended meter hours, so it has nothing to do with selfishness — except their own selfishness in not caring about regressive fines and fees.

    Meister and D’Amico are exactly right. If anything their proposals don’t go far enough.

  6. So appreciate Lauren Meister who ran on parking reform and was elected, bring this to the table in a timely manner and is offering economic policy that allows the working class to keep more of their earnings and stimulate our local economy by removing the agenda of parking as a revenue source into a public resource and stimulate positioning our city as open to access for individuals to come work and play in our city with out having to pay a cover charge in aggressive parking costs

  7. Randy…I voted for her in previous elections…not in this past March’s election. I did read what her positions were…that’s why I didn’t vote for her in March…and won’t vote for her again. Thank God for term limits! =) And a good leader may hold a position but when the facts are presented and they are ignored so she can keep to her steadfast position…THAT is NOT a good leader. John Heilman June 2!

  8. Luca – the parking ticketers is my agent tell me it is legal to park after the cleaning is done, and that they have access to the timing of their work. I’ve never tried it, but apparently the city is aware of this and doesn’t try to penalize people.

  9. Well, Lauren is doing what I feared. Giving priority to her neighborhood: “Meister’s proposal would leave in place the current meter hours of 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays on Sunset Boulevard and some of its side streets. The proposal also calls for parking meters to continue to be enforced from 8 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m on Sundays in that part of WeHo bordered on the south by Beverly Boulevard, on the north by Melrose Avenue, on the east by La Cienega Boulevard and on the west by Doheny Drive. That area includes a substantial part of the city’s Design District businesses” – that is her West Hollywood West neighborhood!

  10. The status quo is not working. Ms. Meister wants to form a sub- committee to study the issues. I hope she won’t get shot down like the old council did with D’Amico every time he wanted to have trial periods of new ideas; such as traffic-flow cops for six months. I am concerned about raising the permit parking fines though. I wonder if there can be different fines for people who forget to put a pass in their car or forget it is street washing day and forgot to move their car.

  11. I agree with Ellen & Manny. The extended parking meter hours and fees are the best thing that has happened to the City in a long time. It’s unfortunate that Ms. Meister is ignoring the facts. I voted for her once. Never again.

  12. Not seeing much here. Unless you reduce across the board (it often effects the working poor) who’s to notice. It’s confusing. The one real BS fine is the wheels turned for these so called “inclines.” Reduce across the board to 23/53 and103 for the worst offenders and move on. Otherwise, leave it be. If the goal of higher fines was to force folks into better behavior – has it worked?

  13. I hope that even if this gets torn apart, piece by piece, all will agree on fining people who leave their pets in cars in warmer weather. It is akin to abuse.

  14. Todd, the easiest thing anyone can do is NOT get a parking ticket.

    Parking tickets are not issued for no good reason.They’re issued to penalize an individual for creating a safety hazard, compromising the public right of way or preventing others from equal use of a public space, among other things.

    Penalties must be punitive so that people understand their selfish actions are not acceptable and hopefully the money, unfortunately not reason, will prevent them from repeating the infraction in the future.

  15. Once a driver receives a ticket or experiences a tow, logic would guide them to be more scrupulous in the future. When signs or meters are unclear better to move on to another. The ultimate risk is the driver’s hands.

    Absent that, does the city really need to undergo a new study, a new signage production line, recalibrate parking fines, tickets, remeasure the increments of the grade and change by 1%. What? Well I guess we have plenty of $$$ to spend foolishly.

    This seems to be Fur-Free revisited as WestMyopia with all due respect to Myopia, Mass.

  16. And by reducing critical revenue for the city, Meister is again showing her quasi-Republican colors, as she did with her support for term limits and having as her political Svengali a Republican (Scott Schmidt). Beware the Trojan Horse in our midst.

  17. I’m afraid this is only going to create more confusion. Which transgression is worse than the other? Why is this one going up by a staggering amount (e.g., $63 to $157) while others go down? Who is going to measure the temperature of the car inside versus outside? Was it 71 and in the shade with the windows down for 1 minute or 2?

    If you really wanted to be business AND consumer friendly, you’d come up with better signage, more uniform pricing (how many variations on a violation do you need?) and then CUT the price of tickets by a set amount like 15-20%. That would make the headlines and send a message to the world that we understand your frustration with the tickets and we are trying to be more friendly to residents and visitors alike. Fair rules, fair fines, fair administration, clear signage. I don’t think we have any of those right now.

  18. how about easing the parking restrictions on streets after they have been ‘sweeper street cleaned’.
    if the street sweeper comes by at 8;15 in the morning, why can’t we go back and park on our street? why wait until 10am. the point is to get the street cleaned, right?

  19. The only idea I’m in favor of is more signage. While there are numerous light poles on my street about half don’t have parking regulations posted on them. I feel sorry for non residents who park only to return from a fun night out to find a huge parking fine they must pay due to poor signage.

  20. I agree with some, but not all of her proposed changes.

    Meters don’t need to be enforced all day on Sundays, especially early in the day. I personally know lots of friends who avoid West Hollywood for brunch and daytime activities on Sundays, specifically for this reason.

    They also do not need to run until midnight on weekdays. However, 8 PM is probably too early, as the study they used to implement these changes in 2013 showed that nightlife employees take most of the spaces right at 6 PM, and with a two hour limit, this effectively allows them to do that again. 9 or 10 PM would have made more sense.

  21. Actually Ellen, the West Hollywood West neighborhood, like others, will be negatively effected if the current meter policy is changed.

    Since the 2013 implementation of extended meter hours on Santa Monica Blvd and other commercial streets, many residents in WHW say they have experienced less disturbances in the middle of the night, less littering and less cars parked illegally on our permit parking residential streets.

    Why?…. because with the current meter policy people now aren’t desperately trying to find parking in the residential neighborhoods any longer. They can find on-street parking in the commercial strip and reasonably priced garages.

    BUT, If meter hours is rolled back in the commercial district it will have a detrimental effect on all residential neighborhood including the one you referred to. We will again see the disturbances we experienced before 2103.

  22. There are lots of merits in reviewing the parking fees/rates/meter times and Sunday parking. 18 months after meters till midnight and increase in fees was implemented it is important that the council discuss the results. Lauren’s motion moves that discussion forward. I think its important that we have this discussion and approve the parts that we have consensus, delete that parts are problematic and table items that need further review.

  23. Unfortunately this appears to be terminal busy work. Create a perceived imbalance or problem, then magically appear with a biased solution. It is no wonder that the staff is highly paid, they need to comb through this unnecessary boilerplate time and again. It’s like continuing to rebuild or alter a sound building according to an ever changing point of view.

  24. Extending the meter hours was one of the best things that ever happened in Weho. It resulted in increased revenues for the city to fund social services and also forced long term parkers to not hog up a parking space for the entire night that is located right outside our businesses.

    The restaurants and businesses in the Design District are thriving more than ever before—why would we change it???

    Does Lauren think through anything before she recommends it? Also, it’s funny how Lauren’s neighborhood is the one benefitting from all the free parking in the meters, yet Sunset remains unchanged. I guess she has some supporters to pander to.

  25. These proposed changes to parking meter hours and parking tickets are trying to reinvent an already perfectly round wheel and replacing it with a square one.

    There has already been a recent study conducted about this and it’s conclusion is that the current policy has been a great success for businesses, residents, visitors and residential neighborhoods.

    This proposal is buying into negative and untrue perceptions that some people have about parking availably and cost and misinformation or lack of knowledge of available city resources that businesses can use to accommodate their employees.

    What this council should be doing is educating the public and businesses on the facts and the resources instead of pretending that the ideas in this proposal are better than what is already in place.

    If these proposals go through tonight, it would be a disservice to the community.

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