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THE NEXT LOS ANGELES / TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION : Getting Around : Are we creating a transit system that makes sense or simply a costly edifice that most Angelenos won't use? : Solutions : Park at Home and Get Cash

July 17, 1994

FROM: Donald Shoup, a professor with UCLA's graduate school of architecture and urban planning, who has analyzed how the availability of parking effects our willingness to drive.

To diminish the number of cars on the Southland's crowded freeways, Shoup advocates the enforcement of a little-known state law that requires companies to offer employees the cash equivalent of what the company pays per-person for parking.

Under existing law, companies that lease parking spaces and have more than 50 employees are supposed to offer their employees the choice of taking the cash in lieu of a parking spot. Few companies, however, heed this law, which was passed more than a year ago.

If the law were enforced, experts estimate, it would eliminate 135,000 vehicle trips per day, removing 30 times more cars from the road than the Blue Line trolley did.

The cash option would be most tempting for commuters in congested regions. In Southern California, parking subsidies can cost as much as $300 per space each month.

REALITY CHECK:

It can be done, though there are hassles involved with enforcing the law. In companies that provide free parking to some employees, the offer of cash will create tensions. Problems also will occur when a company supplements its own parking lot with leased space.

Shoup suggests launching an education program so more employers understand the law.

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