The arms go down, a car pulls up, a ticket goes in, and nothing happens. You’re stuck.
That is the issue that was discussed last Tuesday Sept., 20 at the Redondo Beach City Council meeting. The council voted that the parking area in question, the Pier and Plaza Parking structure change from the current system of paying upon entry to a ‘pay by space’ system, only charging patrons for when they find a spot.
This system would eliminate the entry parking arms which have previously prevented patrons from exiting, creating traffic jams and oftentimes detouring shoppers from visiting the pier area.
“The parking structure is the first and last experience customers have at the pier,” said Tony Trutanich of Tony’s on the Pier restaurant. “We don’t want them to go home angry after having a nice seafood dinner just because of the parking.”
The council discussed many different ways to pay for parking, including the possibility of a pay-by-entry at certain times of the day or during events. In the end, it came down to customer satisfaction and price. A pay-by-space option would pay for itself within three years.
“The customer service of pay-by-space is much higher as well,” said Peter Carmichael, the Harbor Business and Transit Director. “It is a higher initial investment but would pay for itself within three years. The machines control revenue for multiple spaces and parkers can enter their space number and duration. It would accept coins, bills, credit and debit cards and you can even pay-by-cell phone if you want to get a dessert with your dinner.”
A new application for phones would allow you to extend your parking time remotely through a credit card.
“We want to make it so there are no gates on entry or exit,” said Carmichael. “The default today is that you’re trapped and can’t get out. With multiple spaces, you are not.”
“I want anything but a gate after being stuck in there one night,” said district one councilmember Steve Aspel. He also added that “you can’t make it too simple.”
Some voiced concerns about the system possibly being too complicated, but it was decided that there would be lots of signs to help patrons understand the changes.
“Just make sure there are lots of machines,” said district two councilmember Bill Brand.
Other cities such as Hermosa Beach have the same parking system.
“The way you see parking structures going, I think people are starting to learn this process,” said resident Bill Ketcham. “Just get it out there available to the public.”