Letter: Parking permit scheme is all wrong

On June 25, the City Council approved a permit-parking fee increase from $6 to $25/year; formerly-free guest permits will also cost $25. This is to cover permit program costs, per the fee hearing held four months after the vote. While laudable, the city failed to assign financial responsibility appropriately.

Per the city: “…began the preferential parking program in 1980 to assist residents in alleviating parking congestion caused by individuals who park on residential streets, but do not live in the area.”

Shouldn’t the city therefore reassess parking needs/impacts each time a business changes, rather than just periodically?

In the Pelanconi neighborhood, a building that once had a few employees now houses a business with dozens. Grand Central, with its 2012 influx of 1,500-plus new Disney employees, functions as a parking lot primarily for them, despite free employee lots and garage. Two streets are now ineligible for permit parking on one side. When employee, customer and business vehicles spill into neighborhoods, residents must compete for parking or purchase permits.

Permits are viable, if residents have the time, energy and funds. After receiving a petition from 75% of a block’s residents, the city conducts a traffic study. If fewer than usual non-residential vehicles are present, the petition could be denied.

It’s absurd that residents must pay to park in front of their homes. It’s disheartening it took five years to establish the Brand Boulevard of Cars special parking district. Parking lots with shuttle service are the long-term solution. Short-term, permit-parking requirements must be eased and businesses/institutions whose employees and customers cause congestion should assume residents’ parking fees as part of the cost of doing business.

Jolene Taylor
Jennifer Pinkerton
Taylor lives in the Pelanconi neighborhood; Pinkerton in the Grand Central neighborhood.

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