Friday, October 21, 2011

South Brand Permit Parking Prices May Jump, Dealerships May Be Allowed To Park on Permit Only Streets*

*Updated at 3pm.  I changed the focus of my piece slightly after hearing additional concerns from residents in the neighborhood about dealerships obtaining non-resident permits on permit-only streets.

If you live in South Glendale, you probably recently received a vaguely worded notice about proposed changes to zoning and parking regulations in the South Brand neighborhood. Most of these changes are fairly minor.  The city is attempting to make it easier to get permit-based parking on residential streets. This is a good thing.

During the day, my street is an absolute mess, with dealership employees and customers taking up all of the available parking. To make matters worse, a handful of nearby streets have parking by resident permits only, which distorts the market for parking in the neighborhood by putting additional parking pressure on the streets which are not permit based. Currently it is very difficult to get your street set up as permit only. Part of the proposed regulations are designed to simplify the process of becoming a permit only street -- but the city also want to allow dealership employees to park on permit-only streets and jack up the price of permits for residents.

Here is a summary of city staff's parking recommendations for South Brand:
Residential permit parking regulations
  • Current Condition: Regulations change street-to-street, or by block
  • Proposal: One standard regulation for the South Brand neighborhood – 2 hour parking, Monday-Saturday 7am-7pm except by permit 
Process for permit district approval
  • Current Condition: Petition submitted with 75% approval of residents on-street, than goes to a public hearing for final approval
  • Proposal: Petition threshold lowered to 66% of residents on-street, approved automatically – no public hearing required for approval 
Cost and number of permits per household
  • Current Condition: Unlimited number of permits per household, $6 each annually, with two free guest passes included.
  • Proposal: Increase permit price to cover costs at $25 per permit annually, limit to 3 permits per household. First 30 guest passes free (one-time use), then 5 guest permits for $10.
Option for non-residents to park in resident permit districts
  • Current Condition: Not currently allowed in the City of Glendale
  • Proposal: Number of permits may be given to South Brand employees based on 25% of available street spaces on the residential street.
  • Non-resident permits will be available for $120 per employee annually
My strong opinion is that permit program should be at no cost to the residents and that the dealerships should not be allowed to get non-resident permits at all on residential streets.

Instead of allowing the dealerships access to the permit program, the city should remove the 3 hour parking restriction on Brand Boulevard to allow dealership employees to park there. If the dealerships want the Brand Boulevard spaces open for their customers, they should have to pay the full cost of parking for their employees by providing off-street parking that does not negatively affect the neighborhood.

Additionally, some dealerships, including Pacific BMW, have requirements to provide off street parking in their conditional use permits, but ignored those requirements and did not allow low-level employees access to off-street parking, which was what spurred Windsor Road in particular to successfully apply for residential permit parking. To allow dealerships access to the residential permit zones for a fee is the exact opposite of the reason residents would lobby for a permit zone in the first place!

All Glendale residents benefit from the revenue from the car dealerships, but only South Glendale suffers the impact of living next to the megadealerships - noise, traffic, speeding, and large trucks coming and going at all hours.  To ask residents to pay to park on the streets where they live while continuing to allow dealership employees to park there is an additional burden that many in South Glendale - the lowest income area in the city - can not afford to pay. Residents shouldn't have to pay to mitigate a parking problem that they themselves are not causing.

More detailed information on the South Brand Boulevard Study is available here:

This matter will be discussed at a joint meeting of the Planning Commission and the Transportation and Parking Commission on October 24th, 6pm, in City Council Chambers (613 E. Broadway). The dealerships are paying close attention to this and will likely have representatives at the meeting, but residents tend to not pay much attention to parking and zoning. If you have opinions regarding the proposed changes and would like to counteract the influence of the dealerships, please come to the meeting on October 24th or at the very least e-mail a letter expressing your opinion to Michael Nilsson in the Community Development Department:  You can also e-mail the members of the Transportation and Parking Commission here. Your feedback makes a difference!


Anonymous said...

I live on Windsor right behind the BMW dealership, and before we implemented the permit parking on our street, there was almost no parking available to residents during the day (including Saturdays) due to all the BMW employees parking there (mostly the techs). The BMW dealership was required to provide on-site parking for their employees as a condition of the CUP issued when they built their new building, but they wouldn't permit their low level employees to park there, and had them park on the street instead.

The dealerships are pushing this new plan because they can get permits for street parking, and they will simply go back to clogging up the parking on the same residential streets they have in the past. The wording of the proposal you post here says they get no more than 25% of available parking, but unless that's aggressively policed when it's implemented, that's just not gonna happen.

As to residential permits, they cost $6 a piece now, and that amount has always seemed reasonable to me to cover the costs of putting them together, it also says an unlimited number of passes per household, but you have to provide a copy of your vehicle registration to get one, so it's not like you can buy 15 of them, only for the number of cars you have. In reality, I doubt that very many people get more than 3 now anyway. And having to pay for 1-time use guest passes would totally blow.

Scott said...

Anonymous, please write letters or come with me to the meeting on Monday. get in touch:

Currently the dialogue between the city and the neighborhood is like this-

Dealerships: we want as much free/cheap parking on residential streets as we can get!

South Glendale residents: [silence]

Scott said...

Very interesting detail about the requirement for off-site parking in the conditional use permits for Pacific BMW. I wonder if the older dealerships also have that requirement, that is worth looking into and making noise about if that requirement is being ignored.

I also believe that much of the dealership signage on Brand is larger than permitted. Some of the zoning changes being presented to the planning commission involve allowing slightly larger signs on Brand but reducing the allowed sizes on residential adjacent areas.