Low-Mileage Tip from Pasadena's Sister City: If They Can't Park, They Won't Drive!


At the end of a long commute and with little time to spare, drivers searching for a parking space have not yet arrived in any sense. Their cars literally hold them as prisoners.

Turning parking supply and demand upside down was the theme of Pasadena Public Information Officer Ann Erdman’s blog post written upon her return this week from a trip to sister city Jarvenpaa, Finland. Exerpt:

Pasadena’s General Plan goal of getting around town without a car may well have been inspired by Järvenpää. Here there are big incentives for not driving a car — there are only a few parking lots, and those only hold a handful of cars each; plus the cost to park is huge — the average is about $20 an hour.

So people rely on bicycles, walking, buses and light rail.

Make the price high enough and supply low enough and the majority of people will find alternatives. This sounds reasonable, but we need studies to prove it, right? Luckily there are several, including this 2006 Traffic Reduction Strategies Study commissioned by the city of Pasadena, which states:

Dozens of studies have now demonstrated that when parking is given away free of charge, people drive more. … removing or reducing parking subsidies – subsidies that have been in good part created by minimum parking requirements – reduced vehicle trips by an average of 27%, in the mostly Southern California case studies shown here. Given Pasadena’s goal for this study – figuring out how to reduce traffic by 25% – the role played by parking requirements cannot be overlooked.

Seven of the 12 recommendations in the traffic reduction study dealt directly with parking, a surprising majority if you consider that when a car is parked it is not in moving traffic! These two recommendations are noteworthy:

  • Remove minimum parking requirements
  • Establish maximum parking requirements

Pasadena is serious about making the city a place where people don’t need cars to get around. In the near future, residents in Pasadena neighborhoods close to intersecting transit routes may find it easier to adjust to this noble goal.

Today I looked at Redfin data on sales and listings in and around Pasadena’s Daisy-Villa neighborhood, which is close to the Area Rapid Transit System 31, 40, and 60 routes. The past three months of sales for this area show:

Number sold: 13
Average sale price: $565,000
Square feet: 1,623
Price per square foot: $388

Here are the data for listings, which show seller’s higher expectations:

Number of listings: 43
Average price: $640,000
Square feet: 1,616
Price per square foot: $432
On Redfin 75 days

A few listings at the low, mid and high end are below:

428 Del Rey Avenue
(Originally priced at $475,000)
2 bed/1 bath
858 sq. ft.
$501 per sq. ft.
This is a short sale and last sold for $472,500 in January 2007

2435 E. Villa Street
$475,000 (originally priced at $670,000 in April)
3 bed/2 bath
1,475 sq. ft.
$322 per sq. ft.
This is a probate sale subject to court confirmation, but will probably be much easier to obtain than the short sale above, which has “lender permitting” in its listing language.

591 N. Daisy Avenue
3 bed/1.5 bath
1,352 sq.ft.
$440 per sq.ft.
On Redfin 18 days
This home is right in the middle of Daisy Villa. The listing says that this home has not been on the market in 50 years.

620 Mercedes Avenue

2 bed/1 bath
1,254 sq.ft.
$494 per sq.ft.
On Redfin 20 days
This home is an FSBO. Its only prior sale on public records was in 1968.

430 Bella Vista Avenue
(originally priced at $729,999)
3 bed/2 bath
1,328 sq.ft.
$534 per sq.ft.
On Redfin 140 days
Last sold for $633,000 in 2006.

2935 Hermanos Street
(originally $829,000)
3 bed/1.75 baths
1,911 sq.ft.
$418 per sq.ft.
On Redfin 116 days

  • http://www.proctorformayor.com AP

    Interesting – never saw this blog before. Keep up the great work.

  • Elise Kalfayan

    Thank you. The Foothill Cities Blog is very interesting as well. I appreciate your work, the scope of coverage, and the great banner.