High-tech Parking

Meters going up – Fees to be collected along South Lake

Pasadena Star News, Posted: 11/24/08 10:36:44 PM PST

PASADENA – For the first time, curb-side parking meters have sprouted on South Lake Avenue south of Cordova Street, with others ready to go into operation early next year on the block north to Green Street.

It’s all part of a new look for the city’s No. 2 shopping area, which will now join Old Pasadena in using meter revenues to pay for districtwide improvements.

“It’s very similar to Old Pasadena, the same type of meters,” said Gina Tleel, executive director of the South Lake Business Association.

“Basically you get out of your car, look at the space number corresponding to your stall, go to the machine and pay in increments of 15 minutes,” Tleel said. “It’s high-tech – you can pay with coins or credit card.”

The district has just hired a two-man team of “ambassadors” – recognizable by their burgundy shirts and black pants – to answer questions, give directions, and help with any problems, including operating the meters, Tleel said.

The idea is to constantly rotate street parking for customers who want “convenient quick access for short visits,” said Carlton Maese, president of the South Lake Business a Association.

Free parking, up to two hours, is still available daily in the Shoppers Lane lots behind the stores for longer visits, he said.
Reaction from retailers and the public has been favorable so far, he said.

“Now, consistently, you can find available parking up and down the street,” he said.

At the moment, the dollar-an-hour metered parking starts at 9 a.m., he said, but the time may be pushed back to 10 a.m., or even 11 a.m., in line with Old Pasadena.

Monthly revenues projected at $18,000 have reached only $10,000 per month so far, Maese said, but he expects numbers to go up when all the district’s meters are in operation.

All meter funds go to the district, Tleel said, and they will be used for improvements to go with the newly landscaped median, new tree lighting and fresh decorations ready to be unveiled for the holidays.

South Lake received a pre-holiday boost when Macy’s reopened Nov. 21 after a seven-month, $15-million makeover, Maese said. And several new businesses – including a high-end electronics store in the long-empty Stroud’s space – are about to move in, he said.

“South Lake has a rejuvenated, new feel to it,” Maese said, adding that there are plans to use the meter revenue to landscape the traffic islands at Del Mar Boulevard.

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