While the majority of residents on a portion of West Lexington Drive would like permitted parking for 24 hours on a street often clogged by vehicles driven by both residents and customers of nearby businesses, they didn’t get their wish following a Transportation and Parking Commission meeting this week.
Instead, the lower-level commission on Monday night approved extending parking restrictions in a limited manner as a first step with several officials saying if the move isn’t enough to alleviate the parking headache, the commission can revisit the issue at a later date.
“We need to find a medium,” Commissioner Aram Sahakian said. “We need to find a solution to keep both sides happy.”
But Sahakian also said the current solution doesn’t do enough to help residents, and officials need to start thinking outside of the box to solve the parking problem caused by years of bad planning.
Residents in south Glendale and downtown have long complained about parking issues, especially on streets with a mixture of commercial businesses and multi-unit housing.
Preferential parking was established in the 300 block of West Lexington Drive in 1982. Currently, the block is permitted for residents any time between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and other drivers can park there for only two hours during that time.
The change approved this week would extend that time period from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. in an effort to rotate the parking spaces for a longer period of time and hopefully better discourage overnight parking. Outside of those hours, any driver can park there as long as they want.
But residents said that’s not long enough, pointing to a popular restaurant on the corner of Central and Lexington avenues that recently went through an expansion they said is contributing to the parking clog. If, for example, a diner goes to Phoenicia restaurant at 8 p.m., they could have unlimited parking throughout the night.
“Everybody comes home frustrated,” said resident Rima Hagopian.
About 84% of the block, or 122 residents, want the change to 24-hour permitted parking, according to a city report.
Although Ara Kalfayan, owner of Phoenicia, said he has valet service to accommodate his customers, residents said many patrons don’t want to pay for parking and choose to park on the street instead.
Bringing 24 hour-permitting to the block may push vehicles onto West Milford and West Myrtle streets, and residents there may also request preferential parking, leading to a domino effect that could squeeze out parking for the general public, according to a city report.
There are about 58 on-street parking spaces in the 300 block of West Lexington Drive, where on average 76% of the parking is in use between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., with cars evenly split between residents and nonresidents.
Between 6 and 10 p.m., about 82% of the spaces are occupied as employees, customers and residents compete for limited parking, according to a city report.