CYPRESS : Council Scales Back Car-Pooling Rules

After a series of complaints, the City Council this week reversed a 2-year-old decision requiring all companies in the Cypress Business Park to join a transportation management organization, which encourages car-pooling and public transportation.

In 1989, the association was established to provide companies with various ride-sharing and other strategies to reduce traffic in the park. Under the ordinance, each business was required to pay semiannual dues of $10 per employee.

Once news about the idea got out, the complaints starting pouring in.

Smaller companies with fewer than 100 employees--which are not required under state law to provide transportation management plans--cried foul. They argued that it would be a financial hardship and that many smaller businesses depend on outside salespeople who need their cars during working hours. Therefore, ride-sharing would be impossible.

Larger companies were equally upset. They argued that they were being forced to pay for things they already sponsored. Under a regulation of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, all businesses with more than 100 employees are required to begin comprehensive ride-sharing and other vehicle-reduction programs.

Many companies already had hired consultants to help meet the AQMD requirements. Each company was required to reduce traffic or face fines.

The rule required all affected companies to provide a trip-reduction plan for approval to the AQMD.

The council made several changes to the ordinance this week. The most significant was to no longer require businesses in the park to join the transportation management organization. However, the changes do not exempt businesses from complying with the state regulations.

Employers will still be required to submit a copy of their trip-reduction plans to the city to prove that they are trying to comply with government rules.

Final approval of the ordinance is expected at the next council meeting.

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