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Westminster Collaborates to Solve Parking Problem

Several government agencies worked together to develop and implement a solution that serves the needs of all their customers.

In 2004, the City of Westminster faced a major parking headache.

Its Civic Center housed a broad spectrum of agencies and services, including a regional library, courts serving the cities of west Orange County, health and welfare, Westminster City Hall, the Police Department and a senior center. Two major new tenants, the Coastline Community College and Rose Center performing arts complex, were about to be added. The college would bring about 2,000 students a year to the complex, and the performing arts center was expected to draw large crowds to its events. Officials were concerned about meeting the demand for additional parking while continuing to provide services to the Civic Center’s existing clients and constituents.

In an effort to identify a solution, the city initiated a dialogue with the existing Civic Center tenants. Representatives from the library, the county justice center and the municipal departments housed at the center met regularly to explore options to solve the imminent parking problem.

A significant amount of time was devoted to understanding each tenant’s customer base and the differing needs of visitors to each agency or facility. Some visitors’ needs were determined to be a higher priority; for example, the group didn’t want seniors to be forced to walk a long distance from parking to the senior center.

Two parking lots served the Civic Center’s clients. The county-owned lot is located about a quarter mile from the center. The city-owned lot is adjacent to the center.

The group devised a solution by pooling the available nearby parking and allocating its resources in a way that met their customers’ needs. Students can park free at the county lot and walk the short quarter mile to their classes. One-hour parking is available free at city hall, and longer-term parking is available in a pay-for-parking lot. The working group still meets quarterly to address ongoing issues related to parking.

The new Civic Center Pay Parking System ensures that city customers are not affected by other Civic Center tenants’ parking demands. The Pay Parking System is designed to allow customers of the other governmental agencies that share the Civic Center site to either pay to park closer to their buildings or park in the lot farther away for free.

Contact: Tami K. Piscotty, assistant to the city manager; phone: (714) 898-3311; e-mail: tpiscotty@ci.westminster.ca.us.