Are cleaner sidewalks worth more expensive parking?
That’s a decision the West Hollywood City Council will be asked to make on Monday when it is presented with a proposal to step up the cleaning of sidewalks and beef up security in commercial areas and pay for it by increasing the hourly parking meter rate to $2 from $1.50.
The proposal comes from a request by the City Council last year that the city test a sidewalk cleaning program at four locations – the north side of Santa Monica Boulevard between Larrabee Street and San Vicente Boulevard, the north side of Santa Monica from the northeast corner of Fairfax Avenue east to the Whole Foods shopping center driveway, the north side of Santa Monica from the northwest corner of La Brea Avenue west to approximately mid-block, and the north side of Sunset Boulevard from the intersection of Sunset and Hammond Street to the northeast corner of Wetherly Drive.
“The initial phase of the pilot program included the removal of gum, grime, and deep stains with the use of specialized equipment and cleaning products,” City Hall reports in a memo to the City Council. “Specialized machinery was utilized to deliver extremely high-pressure water in a cyclone-like fashion. This new technology allows for the capture, filtering and reuse of the water to minimize waste and provide for a more environmentally friendly process than traditional power washing.
“Following the thorough cleaning process, a deep penetrating concrete sealer was applied to provide a clean and uniform sidewalk surface. The sealed concrete now aids with future cleaning efforts by reducing the need for specialized cleaners and lessens the amount of water needed to achieve acceptable results. Positive results were immediately noticed and have proven to be sustainable throughout the pilot test program.”
The memo recommends expanding that cleaning program to do regular weekly cleaning of four six areas now cleaned monthly. In addition to the test sites, those are the bar and nightclub area on Santa Monica Boulevard, major intersections, the West Hollywood Library on San Vicente Boulevard. It recommends weekly cleanings of other select areas of Santa Monica Boulevard and of bus benches and trash cans.
The memo recommends monthly cleaning of sidewalks along some streets that are not currently cleaned on a regular basis by the city (with some parts of sidewalks in those areas cleaned weekly). Those streets are Sunset Boulevard, Melrose Avenue, Fairfax Boulevard, Beverly Boulevard, Robertson Boulevard, La Brea Avenue, La Cienega Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard. The memo recommends that sidewalks in the bar district on Sunset Boulevard be cleaned weekly.
The cleaning program would include removing abandoned shopping carts from sidewalks and hiring contractors to assist with cleaning after closing hours in the Sunset Strip and Boystown nightlife districts. And it would expand the current daytime trash and litter pickup program to cover more commercial streets.
Increased security would come from adding “security ambassadors” to the area on Sunset Boulevard currently patrolled by Block by Block. That would allow the city to divert some of the Block by Block security patrols to Santa Monica Boulevard.
The overall cost of the increased security and cleaning efforts would be an estimated $1.78 million, broken down as follows:
–Enhanced Sidewalk Power Washing. $675,000
–Enhanced Daytime Trash/Litter Pickup. $170,000
–New Nighttime Porter Services. $100,000
–New Shopping Cart Removal. $60,000
–Enhanced Sunset Blvd. Block-by-Block Services. $525,000
–Dedicated Security in Parks. $250,000
The City Hall staff says that the current parking meter rate of 50 cents per 20 minutes, or $1.50 an hour, is below the market rate of 50 cents per 15 minutes, or $2 an hour.
” This change in meter rates will align us with other nearby cities and is estimated to generate approximately $1,780,000 in revenue to fund the enhancements shown here.”
The meter rate increase is part of a larger proposed increase in city fees that also will go before the City Council on Monday.
Its meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Parking is free in the five-story structure behind the chambers, with a ticket validated in the lobby.
$675,000 a year to clean a few intersections and ONLY once a month at that? Give. Me. A. Break! There’s has got to be a cheaper bid out there. Maybe if it were weekly. Heck, even bi-monthly. But only once a month (like that’s gonna do any good) for that kind of money??? What am I missing here?
I love the idea of the cleaning, but I’m not sure if it’s fair to raise parking fees to pay for it. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t the City allow a number of businesses on Santa Monica to encroach into the sidewalk/right-of-way area (at no cost) for patio space (which have basically turned into outdoor smoking lounges)? If this is correct, why not have these businesses pay rent for these areas and use that money to fund this work?
I agree that the sidewalks are in desperate need of deep cleaning and maintenance on an ongoing basis. It will improve the quality of daily life in West Hollywood.
I don’t know if it’s right that only car owners should be asked to pay for the expense. There must be some other place to cut the budget and get funds.
Why not also ticket the people puking all over Santa Monica Blvd sidewalks for public intoxication to pay for this?
I’m all for it. I have a Guide Dog who regularly sits in gum at the bus stops along Santa Monica Blvd. It’s a huge hassle and disgusting to handle when trying to get it out of his fur. Cleaner sidewalks would be a huge help. My vote is YES!
Shopping carts need not be a problem. In some cities large and small, the grocers or business owners offer porter service to your car at no cost and require no tip as it’s part of their hospitality. Eliminates damage to cars in parking lots and runaway carts. It also engenders cordiality and respectful for the workers as they engage with the customer. This seems an obvious business owner responsibility, no need to get the city involved.
West Hollywoods sidewalks are its Welcome Mat. They are filthy and disrespectful to residents and visitors alike.
Have personally never seen any evidence of cleaning.
The business and property owners should take responsibility to care for their premises keeping them clean rather than waiting for a city edict. Perhaps an ordinance allowing Code Compliance to cite business and property owners and build a fee into permitting costs for any new development.
Thank god. Our sidewalks are basically Petrie dishes. If you think about the amount of dog and human feces and urine, vomit, garbage and who knows what else baking on the sidewalks, anyone who wears shoes in their house is crazy.
Another way to pay for this program: ticket people who don’t pick up after their dogs. You cannot walk 200 yards in West Hollywood and not see dog crap smeared on the sidewalk.
Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! And YES!!!!
(Although it’s hard to believe with all the revenue generated from parking tickets this is necessary, but I still say YES!)
Block by block services – $525,000?
Shopping cart removal – $60,000?
I wonder how many shopping carts are left on sidewalks or streets?
I’ve seen a couple in the past nine years.
Why not offer to teach the homeless and pay them to keep the sidewalks clean?
When some can earn a steady income, some will be able to move into homes.