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City Council to Consider $6.5 Million for Parking System Upgrades

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau

By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

January 13, 2014 -- The Santa Monica City Council will consider Tuesday spending $6.5 million for improvements to the parking system Downtown and at the beach.

If approved, the City would sign a 10-year $5 million contract with the Delaware-based DataPark USA Inc. for the installation and future repairs of a new Parking Access and Revenue Control System (PARCS) -- complete with license plate recognition software -- in 14 parking facilities in and around Downtown.

In addition, if the Council signs off on it, another $1.5 million will go to California-based Select Electric, Inc. for new real time parking and travel information signs designed to help motorists find beach parking.

The new PARC System would replace the old equipment, staff said, and reduce the chances of delays and traffic jams, like those experienced by visitors on New Year’s Eve when the City’s current parking system went offline for “several hours.”

City officials had to dispatch people to do the work of the broken machine, raising costs and leading to lost revenue, according to officials.

“The replacement PARCS equipment would enhance the overall parking experience,” staff said, adding that the equipment should be installed at all gated parking facilities in and around Downtown.

“With these additional facilities, the new system is anticipated to handle over 11 million transactions annually,” staff said.

The proposed $1.5 million investment in new wayfinding signs for the beach parking is also an attempt to mitigate the City’s traffic woes.

“The Real-Time Beach Parking project is the first step towards implementing a comprehensive real-time congestion management system in the Downtown that will also include a web-based and mobile ‘app’ component funded by a more recent Metro grant,” staff said.

“The project is designed to provide real-time parking and travel information for motorists traveling to Santa Monica beach parking lots,” staff said. “Signs placed near the Santa Monica Freeway off-ramps would also display parking information for garages in the Downtown area.”

Ideally, with up-to-date information, motorists will be able to avoid parking lots and structures that may be full and instead head to alternative locations.

The City won’t shoulder the costs for the beach parking project alone. A little more than half-a-million dollars comes from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) and another $286,000 comes from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program.

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