I’ve lived in downtown Los Angeles for three years and parking is an adventure. One of the reasons they have been able to transform so many old buildings into residential lofts, was an adaptive re-use city law that allowed residential units without parking. If you build a new apartment building in Los Angeles (and many cities) you must provide parking spaces for each unit as part of the building project. So now you have thousands of lofts in these old buildings with no parking spaces. And this is Los Angeles, where a car is almost a necessity to conduct business and have a life.
(Frighteningly, the other code change was the reduction of earthquake laws, allowing older buildings to be lived in without massive earthquake seismic retrofits. As I live on the 10th floor of a building built in 1906, I sure hope they made the right decision on that one.)
There are many secure parking garages in the downtown area, so if you are willing and able to pay $200. – $250. dollars a month just for parking, your problem is solved. My loft building has a parking garage behind it, not owned by the building. When I moved in, parking was included. Now it’s not part of my lease, and the garage charges $225. per month, which I just can’t justify, especially as I have two vehicles.
One option is to park in the outlying areas beyond downtown LA. Los Angeles laws allow you to park for 72 hours on any street, unless there are other restrictions that apply. You can then walk to where you need to go or take public transportation.Most of the downtown garages, especially those in the Old Bank District are now charging about $175. per month for monthly parking.
If you live in the downtown area, the Los Angeles Times offers a secure parking garage, which is open 24 hours and well guarded. The rate is good at $90. per month. Although they don’t advertise it, if you ask nicely, they may offer half-rate for motorcycles. I also have a motorcycle and am really surprised more garages don’t offer a 50% reduction, especially since the bikes can park in areas as to not take up the space used by a paying car. While I’m complaining, I am also surprised garages don’t offer a pre-payment discount, like pay for six months in advance and get a month free, or similar.
The Los Angeles Times garage is on Spring Street at 2nd. Spring Street is a safe, well patrolled street and can even be walked late at night. The garage is open to the public for monthly parking.
There are several garages in the Toy District area for $50. and $60 per month, but they are not open 24 hours and you would not have access to your vehicle at all hours. This area is also very shady and dangerous at night.
The Central Parking lot, on top of the old bus terminal at Los Angeles Street between 6th and 7th, is probably the best bargain at $70. per month, with 24 hour access. They have good security during the day and now also have patrols during the night. Be careful where you park, I have had problems with door dings there. The spaces are close together and the clientele seems not to be made up of good drivers.
The negative is also the location, just inside the border of skid row. Coming back here at 3 AM requires a one block trip through no-man’s land, until reaching the area of 5th Street north of Los Angeles, where you have Cole’s and some bars and clubs.
The best way to find a good place is to walk around the area you will be living or working and check it out. Look for nice cars who are monthly parkers, that means people who drive nice cars trust the facility.