In 1993, Westwood merchants petitioned L.A. city officials to decrease meter rates from one dollar to fifty cents, which in turn brought overcrowded curbside parking. Still, the revenues raised were not kept in the neighborhood and these days you have a relatively sleepy commercial district (especially in the summer when UCLA is on break) where "residents and merchants bemoan the cracked, trash-strewn sidewalks, neglected landscaping and numerous vacancies," as Groves put it.
In contrast, look at Old Pasadena. The same year Westwood decreased rates, the City of Roses upped them to $1-an-hour and took the revenues to improve the area. "Many area employees who had parked on the street and moved their vehicles every two hours began to pay for parking in city structures, so that curb spaces were freed for customers," explained Groves. "The shift helped transform the area from a blighted eyesore into a vibrant destination with shops and restaurants. Shoup doesn't take credit for Old Pasadena's change, but he often uses the area as Exhibit A in his talks."
|The Hammer, across Wilshire Blvd., at 2104 on a Wednesday. Note sidewalk, crowds.|
|Hammer Window Art|