After some divine guidance, the Pasadena City Council answered the prayers of the faithful at St. Andrew's Church on Monday, voting to make parking on streets surrounding the Catholic institution near Old Pasadena free again.
The council vote, to remove 20 parking meters closest to the church and to take 46 others temporarily out of operation, came after an hourlong debate and was greeted by loud applause from churchgoers who packed the council chamber.
The council ignored recommendations by Public Works Director Cynthia Kurtz and local parking commissioners that only a dozen meters nearest the church at 311 Raymond Ave. be removed.
"What I am hearing is we want all the meters taken out," said Council member William Crowfoot, who persuaded his colleagues to approve a compromise plan to remove some of the meters and discontinue the operation of others until the impact can be assessed.
Churchgoers told the council that for the past three years, they had to watch the clock at daily masses in fear that the time would run out on their parking meters. And residents complained that they were forced to stuff meters in front of their own homes.
"This is a busy place and people are coming in all week," said Father Tobias English. "Five thousand people come to the church. We have 300 children in the school and 800 public school children use our facilities."