50 Cents Means a Lot

By Dave Fratello | May 13th, 2009
Finally there's something to really cheer about here in MB.

One of LA's toniest seaside enclaves now boasts a new parking discount.

The price for leaving your car at a meter downtown has come down from $1.25/hr. to just 75 cents (-$0.50/-40%).

Or, as we more commonly calculate it: just 3 quarters now instead of 5.

The chop brings parking prices down to levels not seen since June 2008.

It's apparently something to crow about, because posters like this have sprung up all over downtown, less than a full week after the City Council voted to roll back 2 recent parking rate increases, including a 25-center in January.

Last week's Beach Reporter carried the rationale for the rollback:
[A downtown business owner] said that since the January on-street meter increase, customers have been walking in her store angry...
Angry about a quarter.

Angry shoppers will go somewhere else, see. Like El Segundo. (Achem.)

But why raise parking rates in the first place – during a recession, no less?

The city was down $700k in its parking operations. The revenue was needed.

Maybe you guessed the downside to the rollback, then: The city will now lose about $400k in planned revenue over the course of a year. The parking concession drops to about $200k if it runs only 6 months, which is all the council has approved.

Perhaps the few hundred thousand in lost revenues will be made up by higher sales tax collections. Oops, no, that doesn't pencil out.

So next time you wind up with a couple extra quarters in your pocket downtown, why not stop a neighbor and thank her for subsidizing your parking?

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