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New Santa Monica Parking Rates to Take Effect Tuesday
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
2802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310)828-7525 -

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jorge Casuso

July 1, 2016 -- Parking rates in Santa Monica's Downtown and Civic Center areas will increase Tuesday in an effort to deter those taking the new Expo light rail line from using public parking structures for what’s called “park and ride” service.

“While the full impact of Expo operations on public parking in the Downtown and Civic Center areas remains to be seen, these measures will address current conditions and forestall daily park and ride activity,” parking staff said in a report to the City Council on May 10.

“Staff plans to monitor parking occupancies over the course of the first year of service to inform a study and broader policy discussion at that time.”

Under the new rates, parking at the Civic Center Structure and lot will remain free for the first 30 minutes and $1 for the next hour, then increase from 50 cents to $1.50 for each additional 30 minutes. The daily maximum on weekdays will jump from $5 to $14, but will remain at the current $5 on weekends.

Parking in Downtown's public structures 1-9, as well as at the Ken Edwards Center, will remain free for the first 90 minutes, then increase the next hour from $1 to $1.25. The rate will increase for each additional 30 minutes from $1.50 to $1.85. The daily maximum also will increase, from $14 to $17.50.

In Parking Structure 10 (on 3rd Street north of Wilshire Boulevard), Lots 27 and 28 Downtown and Lots 29 to 30 at the Civic Center, rates will increase from $1 to $1.25 for every half hour, with the daily maximum rising from $14 to $17.50.

The Downtown and Civic Center structures have a diverse set of users that include residents, employees, beachgoers, Santa Monica High School (Samohi) staff and students and short term visitors, staff said.

“The full impact of Expo on parking demand will evolve over time as these diverse users have time to incorporate light rail into their travel choices,” staff wrote in its report to Council. “Some current drivers will switch to Expo, while others may desire to park in the Downtown or Civic Center areas and then ride Expo to other locations in the region.

“Daily park and ride activity is not preferred because it has the potential to add new vehicle trips to Santa Monica streets (assuming that the driver’s commute would otherwise not travel through Santa Monica) while also using a parking space for several hours by someone not working at or patronizing destinations in Santa Monica,” staff wrote.

The rate increases come four years after the City Council boosted Santa Monica's on and off-street public parking rates in an attempt to address Santa Monica’s parking crunch and increase revenues (“Santa Monica Raises Parking Rates,” July 13, 2012).

The rate hike, which was expected to generate an estimated $3.5 million in revenues a year, increased the cost of parking at meters from 75 cents to $1 an hour throughout the City, with Downtown seeing the largest increase -- from $1 to $2 an hour.

The Council also increased the rates at Downtown parking structures, while making it cheaper to park at the Civic Center and Main Library parking lots.

“Parking in Santa Monica is a limited resource, in high demand, and has been the subject of multiple studies and reports over the past decade, which have resulted in a number of changes to parking policies,” staff wrote in its May report to the Council.

The changes are part of the City's latest parking strategy under the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) which calls for using “parking pricing as a tool to manage congestion,” according to staff.

“The LUCE suggests managing parking in Santa Monica as the limited resource it is and ensuring that adequate parking is available for residents, employees, and visitors,” staff wrote in its May report.

The policy “sets a target threshold of 15 percent parking availability at all times and provides various strategies to employ in achieving this target,” staff wrote.

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