The free-for-all parking on North Brand Boulevard has for years vexed business owners who’d like a higher turnover rate and consumers who want to park a few steps, not a block, from their destination.
The current two-hour limit for the free spots is difficult to enforce, police say, because there are no meters. Compounding the problem, business owners Tuesday said employees often shun orders to use city parking garages and park in street spots.
The city’s Transportation and Parking Commission proposed a plan that would install 50 new parking-meter stations on Brand Boulevard and surrounding lots, extend enforcement hours to seven days a week, raise hourly rates to $1 per hour and create 90-minute free parking in city-owned garages to entice more drivers away from the street spots.
The council agreed with the plan, recognizing the need to unclog Brand Boulevard parking and make better use of the city’s garages on Orange Street and Maryland Avenue, one block on either side of the Brand corridor.
“We want people, if they’re driven by price, to seek out spots in the lower-priced garages instead of trolling along Brand,” Councilman Ara Najarian said.
But council members Tuesday said that they would support a new downtown parking plan only after the holiday shopping season, citing fears that any new changes could disrupt shoppers in a down economy.
“Let’s not forget, times are tough,” Councilman Bob Yousefian said.
Under the revised plan, installation of the new parking-meter stations, which will accept cash or credit cards for any number of assigned spaces as opposed to the traditional per-stall coin meter, would be pushed back until after Jan. 1.