DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES— Parking has long been a vexing issue in Downtown Los Angeles. This week, it’s becoming easier to find a space, though how much that space will cost will depend on how many drivers are looking for a place to park.
City officials this morning gathered in front of a parking meter on Flower Street in South Park to announce the launch of LA Express Park, a one-year, $18.5 million Department of Transportation pilot program that implements varying rates depending on demand for about 6,000 Downtown street metered spaces.
Under the program, rates in Downtown could fluctuate from 50 cents to as much as $6 an hour depending on how many cars are looking for a spot, said Peter Ghent, a senior management analyst for the LADOT and the project manager. Before today the highest rate at Downtown meters was $4 per hour.
“This is a market-based solution to the city’s parking woes,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said during the event.
The project was funded by $15 million from the Federal Highway Administration and $3.5 million from the city. The program area covers a 4.5-square-mile area roughly bounded by Adams Boulevard, the 110 freeway, Alameda Street and College Street in Chinatown.
Ghent said no revenue increase is expected from the project, since rates will fluctuate up and down.
The program aims to reduce the time people spend looking for parking while increasing the number of available meters per block up to 30% by encouraging drivers to make trips during off-peak hours, LADOT officials said.
Smartphone users can see where empty meters are in Downtown and the current parking rate. They can then pay for time using their cell phones. Paying for parking by cellphone must be once the car is parked; otherwise motorists could get a ticket, LADOT officials said.
Those without a smartphone can use the service via a computer or keep an eye out for electronic LADOT signs like one on Flower Street.
Contact Richard Guzmán at email@example.com.
©Los Angeles Downtown News.