City officials increased the average metered parking price in Westwood Village by about 20 cents on April 4.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation worked with the Westwood Village Improvement Association, which operates the Westwood Business Improvement District, to increase average Express Park prices in Westwood from $1.35 to $1.56 per hour.
On Nov. 5, LADOT launched its Express Park program, which changed parking prices to reflect demand. The average price was set to $1.35, up from a flat $1 per hour.
Under the program, parking prices increased to $2 per hour during peak demand hours and decrease to 50 cents during off hours. Metered parking revenue in Westwood goes to a general city fund.
Andrew Thomas, executive director of the association, said preliminary numbers from March suggest there are 60 new spaces available per day.
Some business owners said they think the program is a cash grab that will encourage consumers to avoid Westwood.
Clinton Schudy, owner of Oakley’s Barber Shop, said he thinks most clients only see the higher price and don’t understand the program is supposed to free up parking spots.
“This pushes consumers to less expensive parking locations outside Westwood,” he said.
Phil Gabriel, owner of Scrubs Unlimited in Westwood, said he thinks tackling illegal activities, such as people fraudulently using handicap placards, would be far more effective in increasing the available parking spots. He said he thinks police should ensure people who possess disabled parking permits actually need them.
Steve Sann, chair of the Westwood Community Council, said he thinks the association should work to create a parking district, so revenue from parking meters in Westwood would go directly to Westwood.
Thomas said the association is one of the first business improvement districts in Los Angeles to advocate for handicapped parking reform. He added the association has actively lobbied to create a parking district in Westwood, and an experimental district could be coming to Westwood in about a year.
Students had mixed opinions about the price hike.
Jerlyn Hurtado, a fourth-year political science student, said there are many parking lots in Westwood that validate parking, so price increases wouldn’t have such a significant impact. She added she thinks there should be a parking district in Westwood.
Alejandro Fernandes, a fourth-year sociology student, said he thinks the price increase wouldn’t have a huge impact on local business or students because not many students own cars.