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City Council OKs Elimination of 90-minute Free Parking in Pasadena

Published on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 | 6:15 am

The City Council unanimously approved on Monday a proposal to eliminate the 90-minute free parking in Pasadena parking lots to beef up the funding for the repair and the maintenance of the nine parking structures of the city located in areas within the Civic Center and Old Pasadena.

With the new policy, motorists will be charged $1 for the first two hours and $2 for each subsequent hour for parking, with a daily maximum parking rate of $12, beginning July next year.

The approved proposal also paves the way for the implementation of a system allowing local businesses to purchase parking validations for use in the city garages at rates set forth in the general fee schedule.

Members of the community have expressed mixed reactions to the transportation department’s proposal.

“At a time when businesses are struggling, it’s unjust to make store owners face the decision of offering validation and bearing the cost of parking for customers,” said Pasadena resident Lorig Mushegain.

“I know that Pasadena caters to visitors from many cities, but if the city wants to encourage locals to continue frequenting Pasadena shopping and dining, the last thing it should do is eliminate the 90 minute free parking,” Mushegain added.

Old Pasadena Management District (OPMD) President Steve Mulheim said the organization unanimously supports the proposal.

“OPMD has steadfastly defended the existing garage rates and the 90-minute free period for many years, but we recognize the need to generate additional revenue in order to fund deferred repairs as well as other services and amenities that elevate the parking experience, and which today’s consumers expect,” he said.

Mulheim added that the OPMD finds the proposed rate structure is “very fair.”

Marilyn Buchanan, an OPMD board member, also expressed her support to the proposal, saying that raising the rates for the needed repair is a “prudent decision.”

“I know that we have always tried to keep the 90 minute free, to attract visitors to shop in Old Pasadena, but hopefully since the rate increase will still be the same rate at the 2 hour limit, I feel that this is a wise step to take and hopefully not lose too many parkers.”

Responding to concerns about the potential impact of the new policy to businesses, Vice Mayor Andy Wilson remarked that the upgrade of the parking structures will be beneficial not just to the public but also to retailers.

Earlier, councilmember Tyron Hampton urged the staff to study the possibility of offering discounted rates for Pasadena residents as he expressed concern that the elimination of free parking will discourage them from patronizing local businesses.

“Having some level of quality, I think, benefits not just public safety of the visitors but also the businesses that use the garages,” Wilson said.

For Mayor Victor Gordo, improving the structures of the city will encourage visitors to come back to Pasadena to experience a “pleasant” parking experience.

“This is not something that any of us would want to do but I think it’s something that we have a responsibility to do in order to ensure that we maintain the garages.”

“People come to Pasadena to shop and use these garages. It’s their first impression of the city and as they get in their car to leave, it’s their last impression. So I think we have a responsibility to improve that impression,” Gordo said.

According to the staff report, the repairs and upgrades for all nine parking structures would cost over $12 million. $9.5 million worth of repairs are recommended to be completed by 2024.

The recommended changes in the rate structure are expected to bring an estimated $2.9 million in additional revenue per year, according to city staff.

Meanwhile, Parking Manager Jon Hamblen said even with the upcoming implementation of the new rate structure, the transportation department will continue to provide the 15-minute grace period for everyone who plans to park in public garages.

“The standard procedure right now in all of our facilities is there’s a 15-minute grace period. It’s designed for people that come into the facility for whatever reason,” Hamblen said. “We will maintain that.”

Within the 15-minute period, people will have the option to leave the parking structure, without being charged, said Hamblen.

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6 thoughts on “City Council OKs Elimination of 90-minute Free Parking in Pasadena

  • Parking has always been the worst in Pasadena. Serious risk of violence just to get a spot at a grocery store, you get ticketed in front of your own house and usually drive around for 20 minutes in old town just to find a $15 spot because the city lots are full. It’s why we left and moved further east.

  • Unanimously anti-consumer, anti-resident, and anti-business all in one fell swoop. Way to go, City Council.

  • So we go from 1.5 hours for free, to 2 hours for $1. $1?? Seriously? Do you really think people are going to avoid Pasadena for one lousy dollar??

  • The ONLY reason I shop or dine in Old Town is the 90 min free parking. Without that I’m going elsewhere. Pasadena needs to get rid of parking fees in most places. Why would people pay to see a bunch of empty storefronts businesses that are closed? I’ve lived her 13 years and do everything I can to spend my money and run our s.all business here and this city keeps screwing me. So much of my money and time goes to Pasadena and our taxes are high, housing is high, stores are empty and schools suck. Now they want to charge more for parking sfter getting rid of parking on Colorado Blvd turning it into outdoor dining. I’m moving.