A plan to charge $1 for the first three hours of parking at the Beverly Center has been shelved temporarily because of protests by shoppers and merchants.
Manager Keith MacRae said that the plan, which was to have gone into effect on Monday, prompted up to 50 calls a day for about two weeks when it was made public three weeks ago.
Some callers favored the plan, others were against it, he said.
MacRae said the plan was designed to discourage motorists from "poaching" on the mall's free parking while working or visiting elsewhere in the area. Parking freeloaders take up spaces that otherwise would be available for shoppers, he said.
Non-shoppers use the mall's free parking because street parking in the area is limited and commercial lots and garages are expensive. MacRae said about 30 of the mall's 180 merchants oppose the pay-to-park plan because they fear it will discourage shoppers from visiting the mall at La Cienega and Beverly boulevards in Los Angeles.
Other Westside malls, including Century City Shopping Center, Santa Monica Place, Westside Pavilion and Fox Hills Mall, provide free parking for at least three hours.
MacRae said some merchants favor the plan because it would make more parking available for their customers, and because it would provide revenue to support new services, including increased security staffing and a tram serving mall stores and restaurants.
The mall established a hot line--(213) 652-8843--to receive public comment on the plan, which called for a $1 charge for the first three hours of parking and 50 cents for each additional hour, up to a maximum of $6. Some merchants said they would provide validations exempting shoppers from the $1 fee, but others objected to the cost of providing validations.
As a result of suggestions from the public, MacRae said, a modified plan is being considered that would include parking discounts for senior citizens and the handicapped.
No date has been set to implement a revised plan, MacRae said.