The appearance of valet parking, along with clumps of drought tolerant grasses and horizontal wood fencing, is one of those signs your neighborhood is changing fast. But in Eagle Rock, which is further along the gentrification cycle than other Eastside neighborhoods, valet parking is going to the next level with the help of the city. The idea is to set up a “public valet” that would park the cars of patrons going to any neighborhood business instead of a single valet stand dedicated to one restaurant or store. Public valets already serve places like Old Pasadena, and now the City of Los Angeles is seeking proposals from parking operators to establish a pilot program for a stretch along Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock.
Street parking can still be relatively easy to find on or near Colorado Boulevard despite the opening of a string of new restaurants, bars and shops. But that might not be the case in the years ahead. A new “parking credits” program in Eagle Rock makes it easier for new, small businesses to open up without having to build on-site parking spaces. So, the city is looking to see if a public valet could help head off future parking problems without the expense of building costly parking structures, said parking consultant Mott Smith.
“We want to avoid some of the problems you see in Hollywood and Third Street where you see a gazillion valets operating,” Smith said. With a public valet “you can leave your car with the valet no matter where you are going.”
But Smith said low cost parking is crucial if the public valet program will succeed. How low? Well, in Culver City, a public valet charging $7 failed.
Councilman Jose Huizar, who supports the idea of testing a public valet, also stresses that the service must be cheap, said spokesman Rick Coca*.
“The bottom line for everyone involved, including the Councilmember, is if there’s going to be a valet service in Eagle Rock, it needs to be affordable,” said Coca. “If the cost of a valet is significantly higher than metered parking, than there might not be enough incentive for people to use it.”
* Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Rick Coca’s last name as Cocoa.
Photo by Foto Bocch via Flickr