Study: Businesses at Fault for Parking Shortage

Consultant blames owners, employees for lack of parking.

Written by RANDY SHUN / Published April 16, 2010

A recent study conducted by economic consultant Avant Garde finds local businesses and their employees, specifically those of the financial sector, responsible for the lack of parking in downtown Temple City.

Bank employees are parking their vehicles in spaces reserved for customers, Program Director Robert Paz said during the December 1, 2009 city council meeting.

“It’s a very delicate dance between employees and patrons,” he commented.

In one case study, Public Safety Officer Bryan Ariizumi noticed employees at Wells Fargo collaborating with the security guard to ensure no one received a parking citation.

Employees would park at the two-hour parking spaces designated for customers, he said. When the time runs out, the security would inform his co-worker to move his vehicle. The employee would then park his car at another space.

“It’s a very interesting situation,” Paz said.

A solution, Paz suggested, is to create parking districts “which would be a fiduciary way to look at these issues.”

Creating parking districts along with head-in parking and parking meters were a few of the recommendations Avant Garde presented earlier this year. The latter options, as Mayor Fernando Vizcarra admitted, are quite “controversial.”

Yet another idea is to issue parking permits for employees.

Councilman Tom Chavez, a member of the city – school district ad hoc committee, said the city was discussing with the school district for permission to use their parking lot. The parking lot, behind the district office building, is relatively unused during the day.

Bank employees, he mentioned, could park at that location and would also not have to bother with moving their vehicles every two hours.

Still, business owners can also encourage parking behind Las Tunas Drive if they upgraded their back entrances, Councilwoman Cynthia Sternquist stated.

“I think there is available parking,” she said.

More people would likely park in the back lots if owners upgraded their back entrances, she added.

The irony of the matter — limited parking in the downtown area — is that business owners want more patrons, but it is the owners and their employees who take up the parking spaces available for customers.

As the City Council seeks to resolve the issue, there is some good news.

“There isn’t a big contention between the patrons and the businesses,” Paz acknowledged.

The results of the nine-question survey, which yielded 37 interviews from business owners, patrons, and residents, are available at City Hall. City staff will return in one month to further discuss the issue.

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