AZUSA >> Gold Line users frustrated by a severe lack of parking at the downtown tram station now have access to 145 additional spaces, the result of a one-year municipal agreement in effect on July 1.
The city temporarily ceded 145 spaces in a multi-story parking lot east of Azusa Avenue and north of the station to train passengers in exchange for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) paying $ 31,000 to the city for operation and maintenance.
“We heard from the public and we did something to help improve conditions there,” said Dave Sotero, a spokesperson for Metro.
However, additional places are not free. Newly acquired spots from Metro cost $ 39 per month. Parking permits are available online at metro.thepermitstore.com and go fast, said Frank Ching, director of parking management at Metro.
Metro had sold 73 permits as of Tuesday, Ching said. Metro can sell approximately 100 additional parking permits for the multi-storey garage, known as the Azusa Intermodal Transit Center.
In the 545-space parking structure completed in February, Metro and Foothill Transit each received 200 spaces, while the City of Azusa received 145. The garage was built by the City, Metro and Foothill Transit, the bus agency. City spaces have 3 hour time limits; Foothill Transit spots require permits but no charge. Metro spaces on the fifth and sixth floors are split between permit only and unrestricted.
Metro Gold Line parking lots fill the allotted spaces every weekday between 6 and 7 a.m., while many are forced to find parking elsewhere. The problem began shortly after the opening on March 5 of the 11.5-mile Foothill Gold Line extension between eastern Pasadena and Azusa Pacific University / Citrus College. To stem an overflow on local streets, the city has enacted parking limits near the downtown train station. Now commuters park further away in unrestricted areas and walk several blocks to and from the station, said Troy Butzlaff, Azusa city manager.
The extra spaces are a temporary fix, said Butzlaff, who helped negotiate the deal with Metro. It was unanimously approved by Azusa City Council on June 27.
The city will want to reclaim these spaces when a new mixed-use development adjacent to the station is completed in around 18 to 24 months, he said.
“This will help reduce some of the problem until a more permanent solution is determined,” Butzlaff said. “It won’t eliminate him. There will still be other people who want to use the Gold Line and cannot find parking. “
Metro and Azusa are also looking for offsite parking to resolve the issue. Butzlaff said the city has land that can accommodate around 70 cars. The owner of the Citrus Crossing Mall on North Citrus and East Aosta Avenues may also be interested in leasing 100 parking spaces at Metro, Butzlaff said.
“These solutions will be seriously considered,” he said, but the city and private landowners are unwilling to pay the cost of a shuttle service.
A Glendora Town Shuttle operates to APU / Citrus and Downtown Azusa stations. The shuttle runs every 30 minutes during the morning and evening rush hours for $ 1 per round trip. Residents of Azusa have the first shot at metro parking permits. They can also book a ride to and from the station using the call service, but they must call ahead.
The city and Metro said the parking problems were the result of unforeseen demand.
The Gold Line Foothill Extension is more popular than imagined. In June, the average weekday ridership across the entire gold line from East Los Angeles to Azusa / Glendora reached 50,722, up from 43,000 a year ago, Metro reported. Saturday docks soared to nearly 39,000 from 29,000 a year ago, while Sunday and holiday docks were well above June 2015 levels. The Foothill extension may be responsible for ‘much of the line increases; the extension carried 5,000 passengers on weekdays in April, just one month after opening.
Rush hour ridership on the Foothill Extension is roughly equal to ridership on the Union Station segment in East LA that opened in 2009, according to the Metro The Source blog. The traffic was so heavy, Metro
“We weren’t expecting this attendance,” Butzlaff said. “Now that we have seen the traffic, we are making adjustments to adapt it. “