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Parking Management Program

IX. Implementation and Financing

  1. Parking Management Program
    1. Introduction/Summary
    2. The City’s traffic engineer states that at the present time, parking is not a critical issue in Downtown El Segundo, although there may be a perception by some Downtown shoppers that parking is inadequate. The parking supply and location of parking are generally adequate to serve the existing uses in the area. Downtown patrons may need to walk 1 or 2 blocks to their destination after locating a parking space, however this is typical in a pedestrian-oriented Downtown setting. The Downtown Specific Plan, however, will result in various changes to Downtown El Segundo. The changes may include a different mix of commercial businesses, higher densities, modified street layouts, modified on-street parking and other changes. The need for parking in the Downtown area will change as the Plan is implemented. The turnover in commercial uses, or the potential intensification of land uses, may result in higher parking demand. The location of the parking demand may also shift, and the number of on-street spaces may change due to the streetscape improvements that are ultimately included in the Plan.

      A parking management plan for the Downtown area must be comprehensive and also flexible enough to respond to the parking challenges that arise as part of the Plan. The following strategies are key to the implementation of the parking management plan:

      • Develop a parking management plan that looks ahead to the ultimate build out of the Specific Plan area and considers the potential "worst case" parking demand scenario.
      • Phase in parking modifications and improvements over time as the Specific Plan is implemented. Seek lower cost, high efficiency solutions first, followed by higher cost capital improvements when they are needed.
      • Work cooperatively with area businesses and other stakeholders since they are the ultimate users of the parking system.
      • Consider the potential impacts not only in the Downtown area but also on adjacent residential neighborhoods.
    3. Current Parking Conditions and Standards
    4. The Downtown area currently is served by surface parking that is a combination of on-street curb parking and off-street private and public parking in a series of lots. Off-street parking is primarily provided in back of businesses via alley access, with some lots also fronting Main and Richmond Streets, and Grand Avenue. There are a total of approximately 1,285 public and private off-street spaces in the Downtown Specific Plan area. In addition, there are approximately 370 public curbside spaces. Curb parking in mostly regulated by a two-hour maximum limit, from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. that is enforced via tire marking. Additionally there are 20-minute maximum single spaces scattered throughout the Downtown, again with the 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. limit and in the 300 block of Main Street no parking is allowed from 2:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. to accommodate the farmers market. Blocks with the highest amount of off-street parking, all in private lots, include the 100 block of Richmond Street on the east side (200 spaces), the 100 block of Main Street on the east side (115 spaces) and the 300 block of Richmond Street on the east side (110 spaces). All other blocks have 95 or fewer spaces, with the lowest block containing 35 spaces. Seven percent of the off-street spaces are compact size and the remainder are standard size.

      The current parking development standards for the Downtown area (CR-S Zone) include provisions for joint use parking, off-site parking, compact spaces, parking demand study reductions and tandem spaces. Additional parking is required for new square footage, however, the Zoning Code allows an existing building to change from one use to any other permitted use in the zone without increasing required parking, as long as all of the existing parking is retained. The majority of the existing buildings in the Plan area provide on-site parking: although generally it is limited to only 3 to 5 spaces per 25-foot wide lot. These current provisions allow some flexibility but need to be reviewed in the overall context of the Specific Plan, and revised to ensure that parking is being managed in an efficient manner. Additional flexibility, creative parking solutions, and administrative level of review is desirable to encourage new development within the Plan area, while still ensuring adequate parking facilities for new development.

    5. Elements of the Downtown Parking Management Program
    6. To be successful, a parking plan for the Downtown area must serve a variety of businesses, civic uses and residents. Each parking "user" group has different needs and therefore parking for each group must be considered differently. For example, employees of Downtown businesses use parking for extended periods throughout the day and they are able to park farther away from their destination than customers of the commercial businesses. Certain businesses generate high demand mid-day (office, some commercial retail uses) while others generate lunchtime and evening demand (restaurants for example). The parking management plan must accommodate each user group to most efficiently serve their needs without impacting the other groups.

      The cost of developing surface off-street parking may include purchase of the land and construction of the parking area, driveways, signing, striping, drainage, landscaping, lighting etc. Subterranean or surface parking is more expensive due to the capital costs of the structures. Therefore, it is important to consider a wide range of parking solutions in addition to adding more parking. The types of parking improvements recommended for the Specific Plan include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

      • Parking management techniques including better parking signage and information (brochures and maps), modifying time limits, consideration of parking meters and fees.
      • Parking services such as a "joint" valet parking program for a series of adjacent businesses.
      • Cooperative parking solutions such as shared use agreements among businesses in the Downtown area that would allow one business to use parking at another business during its off-peak hours.
      • On-street parking modifications such as adding parking via the use of diagonal parking instead of parallel curb spaces (Grand Avenue and east-west side streets off of Main Street and potentially portions of Main Street).
      • Construction of off-street parking in surface lots or structures with fee agreements for Downtown businesses that come into the area and require new parking.

      The hallmark of this plan will be to phase in the necessary parking improvements over time, as needed, based on the changes occurring Downtown. Lower cost, less capital intensive improvements should be implemented first. However, the ultimate need for additional parking should be planned for at this time to allow adequate lead time to identify and obtain appropriate sites and finance the purchase of land (if required) and construction costs. A phased approach to parking improvement in the Downtown area is described.

    7. Parking Management Options
    8. The options presented in this section are oriented to the multiple user groups that park Downtown. It is not feasible, nor desirable to develop a parking management plan that simply addresses the needs of one user group at the expense of other user groups. For example, the plan must not add commercial parking without addressing resident concerns, or conversely create "resident only" parking without recognizing the need to maintain access for the public. Therefore, a series of options are presented that address the many parking related issues. Table 1 summarizes the options.

    1. Short-Term Parking Management Options-(implement upon adoption of the Specific Plan)

    Option: Create Visitor Parking Information Guide/map

    Discussion: Many cities and Downtown districts have created user-friendly maps and parking guides that are oriented toward the Downtown visitor. The guide would include clear maps showing all public parking, as well as information regarding time limits and rates (if applicable).

    The guide/map should be professionally prepared with high quality graphics and should be made available at public venues (City Hall, libraries, etc.) and distributed to all businesses that would be willing to make them available to customers (e.g., on the counter at stores, in offices and at restaurants).

    Option: Implement a Shared Use Parking Program

    Discussion: The most under-utilized parking throughout the Downtown is in off-street private parking lots. It is important to recognize that the use of private lots is not a universal solution to parking problems since it requires the cooperation of private land owners who may have specific reasons for not sharing parking. However, use of selected lots may be a method to help relieve the parking problem. Traditional impediments to the use of private parking include lot owners' concerns over liability, safety, vandalism and interference with their own business. While some of these concerns are well founded, some can be overcome through the use of negotiated agreements and common insurance policies that are obtained with the assistance of the City. Additionally, the City could enter into agreements with property owners of large parking lots with excess capacity (such as the Chevron parking lots) and "sublease" the spaces out to businesses in need of additional spaces. This recommendation will require the following initial actions by the City:

    • survey private lot owners regarding the willingness to consider shared use of parking.
    • investigate the availability of insurance coverage for public use of private lots and assist businesses in obtaining the insurance.
    • consider police or private patrol to monitor the private lots.
    • after identifying potential sites, secure agreements for use of the lots by adjacent businesses, determine parking fees (if any) to be charged, develop shared use parking contracts that specify hours of operation, maintenance, insurance requirements and other pertinent issues.
    • develop signage and re-stripe private lots if needed on case-by-case basis.
    Option: Establish Baseline Parking Ratios for the Downtown as a Whole and Monitor over Time

    Discussion: Although each new business should not be required to provide parking on-site, the Downtown as a whole will require new parking as development occurs. Therefore, the current parking surplus should be identified via detailed parking and land use surveys. The surveys will compare parking requirements based on standard parking ratios to the amount of parking available in the Downtown. Then, as new development occurs, the remaining surplus would be monitored on an on-going basis. New businesses or development that does not provide parking could pay into a parking "in-lieu" fund that would be used to develop joint parking areas when needed. When the parking demand gets within approximately 80 to 85 percent of the parking supply, then new parking should be provided. This type of parking "budget" would allow new businesses to come into the Downtown area without undue burdens to provide more parking by themselves.

    Lot Utilization - approximately every six months conduct hourly surveys of the number of spaces utilized in key public and private lots and on-street for a weekday and Saturday. Also conduct regular monitoring of land uses added or subtracted and their associated parking requirements.

    Land Use Patterns - Establish a database that is updated at least every six months that includes the type of business on each parcel, building area and amount of parking provided. A parking demand spreadsheet is also then updated bi-annually that will estimate the total parking demand for the Downtown, which is compared to the total parking supply.

    Option: Enhance Directional Signage

    Discussion: The signage is generally clear, consistent and covers most of Downtown. Some additional signs would help to further clarify the location of some Downtown lots, and to direct vehicles to alley access parking areas. A unified theme for directional signs should also be developed as part of the Specific Plan.

    1. Mid-Term Parking Management Options- (implement when needed after Plan adoption)

    Option: Implement Trial Period Shared Valet Parking Program During Peak Season

    Discussion: As development and activity intensifies in the Downtown area, a peak season shared valet system would provide the convenience of on-street parking for business patrons and allow the use of more remote available parking. This service will only work with a minimum amount of activity generated by a group of nighttime attractions such as restaurants and shops. This measure is not recommended until the perceived demand is great enough to cover the costs of the service.

    The valet would service a group of adjacent businesses. This may require the removal of a few on-street parking spaces during the time of valet operation.

    It is recognized that some shopping trips require parking immediately adjacent to the business (dry-cleaners, take-out coffee, etc.), however, many visitors are willing to walk a few blocks during more extended visits.

    For the valet service, there would be a fee charged per vehicle of approximately $5 or $6 (to be negotiated with the valet operator), which would cover all of the costs. If it was determined that this cost is too high for the customers, the City and/or businesses could subsidize the program, thereby reducing the fee to the valet patrons. All insurance, materials and other costs would be covered by the valet operator within the $5 or $6 per vehicle fee.

    Option: Add Angled On-street Parking

    Discussion: This option would add on-street parking where it would be most needed in the future as development occurs. Main Street only has sufficient width for angled parking on one side, however, angled parking may actually reduce the number of on-street parking spaces due to the elimination of parking at the corners to accommodate a left-turn pocket. Angled parking is feasible on Grand Avenue if the median parking area is removed. Also, it may be feasible to provide angled parking on one or more side streets, such as the 100 blocks east side of Holly and Pine Avenues, which connect to Main Street, by converting the streets to one-way flow. This option would be implemented in conjunction with other streetscape/design options as part of the overall Specific Plan.

    1. Longer Term Parking Management Options- (implement after short and mid term measures and as development warrants)

    Option: Install Parking Meters to Manage Parking Turnover and Raise Revenues for Parking Improvements

    Discussion: One of the most effective parking management tools is pricing. Many persons using Downtown businesses will be willing to pay for parking depending upon the nature of the business they are visiting in the area. Local employees, for example, will be less likely to want to pay for metered parking. Therefore, prime curbside spaces can be reserved for customers via the use of meters and time limits. With reasonable rates and time limits, meters do not harm businesses while they help to properly allocate parking spaces to the various user groups. Obvious disadvantages to meters include aesthetics and the perception that they will drive away business patron customers

    Options: While Implementing Parking Management Strategies, Continue to Investigate Costs and Feasibility of Added Parking

    Discussion: When considering potential growth patterns Downtown and given the City's Zoning Code which allows continued growth without providing more parking (for new businesses in existing buildings that maintain existing non-conforming parking), more general public parking will be necessary in the future if density increases without adding parking. The number of added parking spaces can be determined more precisely following implementation of the highest priority management strategies.

    Building new parking will take several years due to the need for environmental clearances, environmental studies, design and construction. Therefore, the City should continue to investigate the engineering feasibility, costs and environmental consequences of adding parking Downtown at the same time that parking management strategies are being tested. Also, use of an in-lieu fee would provide funding for parking over time as businesses turn over or parcels are redeveloped.

    EXHIBIT 6

    SUMMARY OF PARKING MANAGEMENT OPTIONS

     

     

    OPTIONS

     

     

    DESIRED EFFECTS/ISSUES

    Relative Cost to Implement

    H, M, L (1)

     

    Short-Term Parking Management Options

     

     

     

    Create Visitor Parking Information Guide/Map

    • increase awareness of parking opportunities
    • more effective use of available parking
    • need support of business community to circulate guide/map

    Low

    (approximately $5,000 to $10,000)

     

    Implement a Shared Use Parking Program

    • better utilize available private spaces
    • would require additional detailed analysis and coordination with private property owners

    Low

    (staff/administration costs)

     

     

    Establish Baseline Parking Ratios for the Downtown as a Whole and Monitor Over Time

    • identify current parking surplus
    • monitor development as it occurs and its impact on overall parking operations
    • add new parking or take other actions when supply reaches approximately 85% of demand, prior to reaching a critical point

    Moderate

    (staff/administration costs equivalent to several hours per week, after initial labor

    intensive inventory)

     

    Enhance Directional Signage

    • provide more clear and consistent signage
    • better utilize alley-access parking
    • enhance aesthetics

     

     

    Moderate

    Mid-Term Parking Management Options

     

     

    Implement Trial Period Shared Valet Parking Program During Peak Season

    • provide convenient customer parking
    • assist parking impacted business
    • need to analyze potential sites and select Contractor

     

    Low to Moderate

    ($5,000 to $15,000 per season for City support)

     

    Add On-street Angle Parking

    • provide more spaced via use of angle rather than parallel curb parking
    • slows traffic, promotes pedestrian use

     

    Moderate

    (costs for signing and striping)

    (1) Cost: H - High Cost associated with major capital expenditure, M - Moderate Cost for physical improvements and/or staff administrative costs,

    L - Low Cost reflecting limited staff time allocation or minor supplies/equipment cost.

     

    Longer Term Parking Management Options

     

     

     

    Install Parking Meters on Selected Streets

    • manage the parking supply, enhance turnover for businesses
    • prevent all-day parking by employees in prime spaces
    • raise revenues needed for parking expansions

     

    Moderate to High

    (Initial cost, ultimately self supporting)

     

     

    While Implementing Parking Management Strategies, Continue to Investigate Costs and Feasibility of Added Parking

    • provide added patron and employee parking
    • remove employee parking from adjacent residential streets
    • requires additional detailed analysis of economic factors

     

    High to Very High

    (surface - $1500 per space, structure approximately $7,500 to $15,000 per space, $150,000 to $1.5 million for 100 spaces) depending on surface or structure and other details

    (1) Cost: H - High Cost associated with major capital expenditure, M - Moderate Cost for physical improvements and/or staff administrative costs,

    L - Low Cost reflecting limited staff time allocation or minor supplies/equipment cost.

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