Parking issues to blame for low transit ridership in Los Angeles

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- Lack of parking is hurting Los Angeles' mass transit system, losing an estimated 1,500 riders a day on the Red Line alone. Billions of dollars have been put into L.A's mass transit system over the past 20 years, but parking issues are making it hard to lure new riders.

When some people try to park in lots at Metro Rail stations, they all too often find full lots with no available parking.

That leaves people, like Alex Gonzales of Anaheim, very frustrated.

"You don't want to take the train because you can't park, then if you can't park then why would you take the train. I mean it's park and ride but if you can't park how are you going to ride?" Gonzales said.

Metro officials say ridership on Metro's six-line network has seen steady growth over the last five years with roughly 350,000 people riding the rails on work days. They are aware parking has become a growing problem.

"We are engaged in a comprehensive parking study to identify ways that we can better manage the parking demand that we have on the Metro system," said Dave Sotero, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Tom Melendez says if he does not get out to find parking at the Gold Line by the crack of dawn in Pasadena he would be too late.

"They have to add more facilities, more parking structures for us," Melendez said.

"We're going to be looking at ways that we can add more parking where we can. For example, we could restripe some of the parking lots and create additional parking spaces," Sotero said. "In other areas, we may be able to add additional parking where we are gonna be doing a joint development."

Metro officials are encouraging riders to leave their cars at home and take a bus or ride their bike to their nearest Metro Rail station as potential solutions are explored in the next year.

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