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Parking Enforcement Throughout Pasadena Could be Back on Track Soon

City committee sends proposal to City Council; ticketing and booting could resume in the fall

Published on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 | 4:54 am
 
Image of booted tire on illegally parked car. Image by Wesha

Without making a formal recommendation, the Pasadena City Council Municipal Services Committee nonetheless unanimously agreed to send a proposal to resume various City parking restrictions and enforcement to the City Council.

The suspension of restrictions was enacted on March 17, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take effect. 

The City Council approved the suspension of enforcement of various parking restrictions and regulations citywide at that time. Enforcement of the city’s overnight parking ordinance was suspended, along with enforcement of time limits in residential neighborhoods, daytime street sweeping restrictions, and suspension of payment at all curbside parking spaces in the city.

Some of the regulations involving family parking permits and overnight parking were instituted by the sudden return of college students back to Pasadena from college campuses that were shuttered nationwide, according to the committee presentation by Jon Hamblen, city parking manager.

In addition, some parking fines and regulations were lifted because of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many local residents lost jobs and income. 

Both Vice Mayor Tyron Hampton and Councilmember Andy Wilson expressed concern about the “sudden rush” to reinstate the parking  restrictions, especially since, as Hampton noted, coronavirus cases are spiking again, and the city yet could see another more stringent lockdown.

Hamblin responded that that city “is seeing an increase in the number of requests for enforcement from citizens, specifically with either suspicious vehicles, or what they perceive to be abandoned vehicles. Without the overnight ordinance and without the ability to impound vehicles we don’t have any other means to effectively enforce any other restrictions.”

Hamblen also noted that public works crews are having more difficulties with, and  receiving more complaints about street sweeping in some local neighborhoods. 

“That’s another piece of evidence that the overnight enforcement helps us,” said Hamblen, “with a majority of our street sweeping activities happening during the 2 to 6 a.m. period. Currently street sweepers are having a difficult time with the increase in vehicles on the street.”

Hamblen also told Wilson that any increase in revenue from the reinstituting the enforcement was “minimal,” and was not a motivation for returning to the previous parking restrictions.

Mayor Terry Tornek said he felt the recommendations were “reasonable,” given that most of them would still not go into effect for some time, following a public warning period. 

If approved, the new recommendations could include the following actions: 

  • All metered parking spaces will be temporarily converted to 20 minute parking to facilitate delivery and pick-up of food from restaurants. The 20 minute limit on these spaces will be enforced. Individuals looking to park long-term would have to park in parking garages and walk to their destination.
  • Overnight enforcement would resume August 18th. Warnings would be issued for two weeks, and citations would resume September 1st.

According to a city staff report, the time frame allows parking office staff sufficient time “to ensure that all pending overnight permit requests have been fulfilled prior to enforcement efforts taking place.”

The timing would  also allow the parking department to reconfigure enforcement schedules and patrol beats, and give the city’s contracted enforcement company time to bring in staffing. 

The timing would also allow the city to inform the public that overnight enforcement will resume. Enforcement of the overnight ordinance will also allow for street sweeping activities to return to maximum efficiency.

The Parking Enforcement office also recommended that City Council authorize the sale of emergency COVID-19 overnight parking permits that allow vehicles not otherwise qualified per section 10.44.020 of the Pasadena Municipal Code, to park on the street. 

Permits would be valid for 90 day increments, and could be renewed until the end of the City’s Safer at Home order. The fee for the permit would be $73.38 per each 90 day period. 

A low income fee waiver program for overnight parking permits would also be established, said Hamblen. Residents could qualify by meeting criteria for individuals receiving public benefits under certain programs. Individuals determined to be eligible for the low income fee waiver program will receive a 50% discount on Annual Overnight and Temporary 90-Day Overnight permits.

Enforcement of daytime street sweeping restrictions would resume August 18. Warnings would be issued for two weeks, with citations to resume September 1st.

Non-critical vehicle impounds and booting, including for vehicles with five or more past due parking citations, and for vehicles with expired registrations, would be back in effect  November 1st.

The City Council will likely discuss the issue at their August 3 meeting.

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