In effort to better manage its lots, Metro circulates new parking ordinance

The parking lot for the Green Line's Norwalk Station has 1,792 spaces -- and all of them are filled on most weekdays. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

The parking lot for the Green Line’s Norwalk Station has 1,792 spaces — and all of them are filled on most weekdays. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Key number: Metro has more than 22,000 parking spaces at 48 stations. That number is headed toward more than 30,000 with the opening of new rail lines.

The issue: Metro’s parking lots are currently governed by the California Vehicle Code (CVC). That’s not a terrible thing, but it’s not quite an awesome thing either.

Why? The CVC doesn’t provide Metro much flexibility in writing rules that are particular to the parking lots and garages at its stations. In turn, that makes enforcement of the rules that do exist somewhat difficultparticularly enforcement of non-transit riders parking at Metro stations parking facilities.

Thus, the draft parking ordinance posted above (it’s in Appendix A) accompanied by a Metro staff report. In the coming weeks, the ordinance will be circulated to the public for review. After any necessary changes are made, it will be sent to the agency’s Board of Directors for their approval.

If you read the ordinance, you’ll notice that a lot of attention is given to the issue of parking fees. While all non-reserved daily spaces at Metro parking lots are currently free, the ordinance provides guidelines on how the agency may impose more parking fees in the future — should it so desire.

Fees may also help manage demand for parking at some of the most notoriously difficult parking lots in the Metro system in the same way that parking meters and garages with variable pricing helps balance supply and demand. Fees may also be a source of funding expanded parking at the most impacted stations, as well as helping restrict non-transit use at some lots and making lots safer.

A decision to charge for all parking would ultimately up to the agency’s Board of DirectorsThe parking ordinance and fee resolution is currently being circulated for review and will be considered by the Board in their April round of meetings.

As part of the ordinance, there’s a Board resolution to establish daily and monthly fees for preferred parking at some stations (Appendix B on the above document). The fees are typically $4 for daily preferred parking and between $20 and $59 for monthly spots, depending on the station location. This represents no change to the existing fees.

What do you think of parking at Metro stations? Is it necessary? Or a necessary evil? Should parking fees be commonplace? Or would that (pun intended) drive away would-be riders? Comment please.