Parking in downtown Glendale is about to get more expensive

Glendale parking meter pay station
Parking meters and public garages in downtown Glendale and Montrose will see price increases, following the passage this week of an ordinance. Slated to roll out over the next few months, the ordinance also alters the hours of paid enforcement for the busiest parts of the city.
(Times Community News)

A night on the town in downtown Glendale — or a daytime shopping excursion to neighboring Montrose — will likely get a little pricier for those planning to make the trip by car.

Parking meter prices along Brand Boulevard in downtown Glendale will be going up and the enforced hours in the area will run until midnight instead of 10 p.m., following the introduction of several new local parking regulations by Glendale City Council earlier this week.

Visitors to downtown Montrose will see similar fee increases for metered parking along Honolulu Avenue, where enforcement hours in the area will run until 8 p.m. instead of the current time — 6 p.m.

Meter prices will go up in 50-cent increments over the next few months. Fees for downtown Glendale’s public parking garages will see the same incremental hikes, but the first 90 minutes will remain free.

The city of Glendale stands to eventually make $700,000 annually in revenue from the combined increased fees, said city parking manager Tad Dombroski during a City Council meeting on Tuesday before the changes were approved.

Changes will be phased in over the course of four to six months because the city needs to update signs, meter decals and rate programming, Glendale city spokeswoman Eliza Papazian said in an email.

However, the changes are expected to technically go into effect in mid-December, or 30 days after they’re slated to be adopted on Nov. 19, she added.

“I hope that we take our time in increasing the financial cost to park in Glendale, just in general,” Councilman Frank Quintero said during the recent meeting.

The goal of the price and hour changes is to reach what’s known as the target occupancy rate in the city’s most trafficked areas, according to Dan McKinney of Transpo Group, a consultant for the city.

Above the “sweet spot,” a 70% to 85% target occupancy, “it ends up being too congested. It’s too crowded,” McKinney said during the council meeting. “If it’s below that, it doesn’t feel like there’s any activity. It feels a little bit dead because there’s no cars around.”

To devise a strategy to achieve the target, Transpo Group conducted a study to determine what days and times people visited the busiest parts of the city, and also compared parking prices to the market rate.

Areas with the highest demand should reflect higher fees, to “help shift and move those demands to other areas,” McKinney said.

Fees will be increased by 50 cents until the target occupancy is reached, Papazian said.

“My vote for any fee increase is not for revenue, it’s to free up those spaces [and] reach that balancing act of supply and demand,” Mayor Ara Najarian said before the vote.

Money generated in downtown Montrose, which is a part of Glendale, will remain in the immediate area, and will be used to fix potholes or improve meter boxes, according to Andre Ordubegian, president of the Montrose Shopping Park Assn.

“We’re not here to make money — it’s about how to improve the community,” he said.

Paid enforcement hours at meters will extend later at night in downtown Glendale and Montrose, but they will also start later in the morning. In downtown Glendale, enforced hours will begin at 8 a.m., pushed back from 6 a.m. Montrose Shopping Park’s enforcement will begin at 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m.

Councilman Vartan Gharpetian expressed concern about extending enforcement until midnight in parts of downtown Glendale.

“I know we want to have an 18-hour city and everything, especially downtown, but it’s a little bit excessive,” he said. Gharpetian voted against the portion of the ordinance that included that recommendation.

Fee and hour changes are just part of the ordinance. New technology, currently in the planning stages, will allow visitors to pay at a kiosk using their license plate number, instead of their space number, and extend their parking time from their phones. Those updates are expected to roll out in 2021, Papazian said.

It may make enforcement easier, she added.

“The confirmation of payment is sent electronically to parking enforcement, and they simply check the plates of cars parked to ensure that they have paid and that the parking session is valid,” Papazian said in an email.

Money generated through the fee increases will in part go toward bringing in the technology, Dombroski said.

Downtown Glendale’s existing movie theater validation program will also be expanded under the new ordinance.

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