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First of Two Parking Strategic Plan Town Halls Set for Thursday

Here’s a detailed look at key sections of the new proposed parking strategic plan for Pasadena

Published on Thursday, January 25, 2024 | 6:34 am

On Thursday, Jan. 25 and again on February 1, the Pasadena Department of Transportation will conduct a strategic planning meeting to engage with the public on the future of parking in the city. 

Tonight’s meeting will be held at the Robinson Park Recreation Center at 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave. from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., with doors opening at 6:15 p.m. The follow-up session will take place on February 1 at the Santa Catalina Branch Library, maintaining the same time frame.

These community workshops, led by representatives from the Department, are part of the city’s ongoing effort to involve residents in the policy-making process, officials said.

The purpose of the Parking Strategic Plan Town Hall meetings is to present recommendations to the public, solicit feedback for the prioritization of recommendations, and to answer questions about the recommendations. 

One item that is being considered by Pasadena City staff is the possibility of changing how the City charges for parking on streets with parking meters and in City-owned parking structures with a number of new rules and methods. 

Any changes to parking rates would first undergo outreach to obtain feedback from residents, businesses, and business districts, before going to City Council for consideration.

Instead of a fixed price, parking fees would go up or down based on how often people use parking spots in a particular area. On a quarterly basis, the City would look at past data and how busy each area gets to then decide the price. This way, parking officials hope to get more people to use less popular parking areas, reduce traffic jams, and make it easier to find a parking spot.

City officials also encourage people to walk, bike, or use public transport by adjusting the parking rates. The City’s new plan explains the main point is not to make more money, but to manage parking better, make it easier for people to find parking and cover the costs of running the parking areas.

Pasadenans would be notified of updates to the parking fees every three months. Officials want to make sure residents know about the changes ahead of time so they can plan where to park or if they want to use a different way to get around. 

Pasadena is also thinking about a new way to charge for parking on the street. 

Instead of having a time limit, like two hours, officials are considering letting people choose how long they stay and to do so, simply to pay more the longer they park. This way, if you need to park for a longer time, you can just pay more instead of having to move your car after a short time, officials explained.

Here’s how it would work: You pay a basic amount for the first bit of time, like the first hour. If you stay longer, the price for each additional hour goes up. The City expects to change these prices now and then, based on how full the parking spots are and how often people are coming and going. This allows people to pay additional for an on-street space if they are shopping and run late heading back to the meter. Since the parking structure rates continue to be less than the on-street parking rate, anyone anticipating parking for a longer period of time could utilize any of the City parking structures for a lower rate than the on-street parking rate.

This plan also intends to prevent people from just adding more money to the meter to stay longer than allowed.

In Pasadena, you’re not allowed to park again on the same block on the same day, so if you need to park again, you have to find a spot at least one block away.

To make sure everyone understands the new rules, the City would evaluate signage and opt for clearer signage if necessary. 

The City has already changed the free parking rules in parking structures owned by the City. Instead of having free parking for 90 minutes, the City charges a small amount of money per hour all the time. Whereas parking for the first 2 hours used to cost $2, it currently costs $1. This change was supported by the business districts and approved by the City Council in 2022. This money helps pay for keeping the parking areas in good shape and make the whole system better. Parking in City-owned parking structures is still considerably less than parking in other parking structures within the City.

The idea is to make parking prices depend on how many people want to park. For example, if a lot of people want to park at a certain time, the price might go up. The plan is not really about making more money for the City. It’s more about keeping the parking system working well for a long time.

Additionally, the City is proposing to help workers by offering inexpensive parking passes for spaces in parking garages and lots that aren’t used much. The idea is to make more room on the streets for people visiting shops and restaurants.

Prices for these parking passes would vary. Spots closer to busy areas might cost more, but they’ll still be affordable. The goal is to help workers find good parking without spending too much, and also to make the best use of parking spaces in the city.

Residents unable to attend the meetings in person have the option to provide their feedback via email to Jon Hamblen, the City’s Parking Manager, at

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