Cutting Edge in Santa Monica?


Cutting Edge in Santa Monica?

I ran over to Santa Monica yesterday to take a picture of Bill Bortfeld, Parking Coordinator of the City of Santa Monica. Bill wrote an article which will appear in May’s PT on what operators should do to keep their locations once they get them.

Bill should know, he worked for Central and Ampco prior to running the parking for the City of Santa Monica.

We chatted for a bit about the garage where he wanted to meet for the snap shot. Its a multiuse facility.  It was built by a senior citizens charity in concert with the city. It has a number of senior apartments over 229 spaces of public parking, all on a relatively small footprint half a block from the central business district.

Although the project was finished when Bill came on board at Santa Monica, he was proud of it.

"Its is a great example of public/private sector cooperation."

I gave the project the "Shoup Test." That is, does the price people pay for parking in the garage exceed the price they pay on street. Well, it passed, and then it didn’t.

Sure the price of parking in the garage was less than on street, but the first two hours are free. That means that most (over half) the people who park in the garage pay nothing. The longer stayers can pay up to $7 a day.  My guess is that the amount paid by the parkers doesn’t even come close to the cost of the facility. Another example of a city trying to have it both ways.

Santa Monica is the most "green" city south of San Francisco. However, they subsidize people who want to drive into the city. If they truly believe what they say, why not let the drivers pay a market amount for parking. It would increase ridership on the local bus lines, decrease traffic, and the money could be used to repair or maintain the infrastructure, and maybe figure out some way to get the homeless bums off the streets and into paying jobs.

Bill said the issue is very political. The city doesn’t want to seem elitist. 

Think it through. The city controls the rent on apartments. VIPs rent prime real estate for a quarter what it should bring, and the poor don’t have affordable housing because no new buildings are being built because of the controls. How much more elitist can you get.

Santa Monica wants it both ways. Nothing unusual there.


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John Van Horn

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