Are cleaner sidewalks worth more expensive parking?
That’s a decision the West Hollywood City Council will be asked to make on Monday when it is presented with a proposal to step up the cleaning of sidewalks and beef up security in commercial areas and pay for it by increasing the hourly parking meter rate to $2 from $1.50.
The proposal comes from a request by the City Council last year that the city test a sidewalk cleaning program at four locations – the north side of Santa Monica Boulevard between Larrabee Street and San Vicente Boulevard, the north side of Santa Monica from the northeast corner of Fairfax Avenue east to the Whole Foods shopping center driveway, the north side of Santa Monica from the northwest corner of La Brea Avenue west to approximately mid-block, and the north side of Sunset Boulevard from the intersection of Sunset and Hammond Street to the northeast corner of Wetherly Drive.
“The initial phase of the pilot program included the removal of gum, grime, and deep stains with the use of specialized equipment and cleaning products,” City Hall reports in a memo to the City Council. “Specialized machinery was utilized to deliver extremely high-pressure water in a cyclone-like fashion. This new technology allows for the capture, filtering and reuse of the water to minimize waste and provide for a more environmentally friendly process than traditional power washing.
“Following the thorough cleaning process, a deep penetrating concrete sealer was applied to provide a clean and uniform sidewalk surface. The sealed concrete now aids with future cleaning efforts by reducing the need for specialized cleaners and lessens the amount of water needed to achieve acceptable results. Positive results were immediately noticed and have proven to be sustainable throughout the pilot test program.”
The memo recommends expanding that cleaning program to do regular weekly cleaning of four six areas now cleaned monthly. In addition to the test sites, those are the bar and nightclub area on Santa Monica Boulevard, major intersections, the West Hollywood Library on San Vicente Boulevard. It recommends weekly cleanings of other select areas of Santa Monica Boulevard and of bus benches and trash cans.
The memo recommends monthly cleaning of sidewalks along some streets that are not currently cleaned on a regular basis by the city (with some parts of sidewalks in those areas cleaned weekly). Those streets are Sunset Boulevard, Melrose Avenue, Fairfax Boulevard, Beverly Boulevard, Robertson Boulevard, La Brea Avenue, La Cienega Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard. The memo recommends that sidewalks in the bar district on Sunset Boulevard be cleaned weekly.
The cleaning program would include removing abandoned shopping carts from sidewalks and hiring contractors to assist with cleaning after closing hours in the Sunset Strip and Boystown nightlife districts. And it would expand the current daytime trash and litter pickup program to cover more commercial streets.
Increased security would come from adding “security ambassadors” to the area on Sunset Boulevard currently patrolled by Block by Block. That would allow the city to divert some of the Block by Block security patrols to Santa Monica Boulevard.
The overall cost of the increased security and cleaning efforts would be an estimated $1.78 million, broken down as follows:
–Enhanced Sidewalk Power Washing. $675,000
–Enhanced Daytime Trash/Litter Pickup. $170,000
–New Nighttime Porter Services. $100,000
–New Shopping Cart Removal. $60,000
–Enhanced Sunset Blvd. Block-by-Block Services. $525,000
–Dedicated Security in Parks. $250,000
The City Hall staff says that the current parking meter rate of 50 cents per 20 minutes, or $1.50 an hour, is below the market rate of 50 cents per 15 minutes, or $2 an hour.
” This change in meter rates will align us with other nearby cities and is estimated to generate approximately $1,780,000 in revenue to fund the enhancements shown here.”
The meter rate increase is part of a larger proposed increase in city fees that also will go before the City Council on Monday.
Its meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Parking is free in the five-story structure behind the chambers, with a ticket validated in the lobby.