You may start seeing more City Hall employees on the Metro bus now that the West Hollywood City Council has agreed to buy transit passes for city employees. The move is a way to help city staffers get to work more easily now that they can no longer park at or near the City Hall building at 8300 Santa Monica Blvd. at Sweetzer.
With construction of the new automated “robo-garage” parking structure about to start in the lot behind City Hall, visitors to City Hall must now use the Kings Road parking garage a block and a half away. That means city staffers who were parking in the Kings Road garage have been bumped out. The city has arranged parking for them 1.5 miles away in the Gateway Center (home of the Target store) on the southwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and La Brea Avenue and three-quarters of a mile away at the Hancock Lofts parking garage on Santa Monica Boulevard and Hancock Avenue.
Councilmember John D’Amico, who along with Councilmember Jeffrey Prang voted against the proposal, wondered why city staffers couldn’t hitch a ride on the CityLine free shuttles instead/ D’Amico noted that the CityLine shuttles already run the length of the city and can easily stop at those parking garages to pick up city employees.
Melissa Antol, the cit’s Long Range Planning and Mobility manager, explained that the CityLine shuttles don’t run as regularly as do Metro buses, which come about every 10 minutes. “The most reliable thing is the Metro buses,” she said/
D’Amico also suggested the city buy bicycles for employees instead of Metro passes, pointing out the city had already invested millions in bike lanes.
“We’re missing an opportunity here,” D’Amico said. “We’ll start having more people using the bike lanes.”
However, Councilmember John Duran said the city could not use public funds to purchase bicycles for city employees.
While city employees can use the bus passes to get from the parking garages to City Hall, the hope is that some will leave their cars at home and use the bus for their entire trip to work.
Transit passes typically cost $75 per person per month or $900 per year. By purchasing passes for each of its employees, the city receives an employer discount and can get them for $12 per person per month or $144 per year. The total cost of $32,743 will be covered from by Southern California Air Quality Management District funds.