One-Dollar Parking in Little Tokyo

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The John Aiso parking structure, located on the corner of First, and Judge John Aiso streets, is set to open early next year. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

By JEFF LIU
Little Tokyo Community Council Board Member

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Little Tokyo will be getting a new and affordable parking lot soon! Located on the corner of First and Judge John Aiso streets, the underground, 300-space Aiso Parking structure aims to provide low-cost, short-term parking for visitors to Little Tokyo. Rates are currently set at a low $1 per hour for the first two hours.

A soft launch to test the automated ticketing systems of the parking lot will be held in early 2012, followed by a dedication ceremony for the parking lot and the open-air plaza that rests on top of the structure.

Earlier this year, the Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC) Board of Directors met several times with Councilwoman Jan Perry’s office and representatives of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation Parking Services division to structure the rates with the goal of increasing much needed short-term parking in Little Tokyo.

The plaza above the parking lot is named in honor of the late Rev. Howard Toriumi, minister of Union Church.

“There is a perception in the community that there is no parking in Little Tokyo,” remarked Mike Okamoto, LTCC Board President. “Most people choose to park at the parking meters, but they get filled up very quickly, and they get frustrated from circling around and around, looking for a parking space. They won’t have to do that anymore, because it is cheaper to park in this parking lot.”

Visitors parking after 5 p.m. will pay a flat fee of $3 instead of the hourly rate. This provides a low-cost option for visitors who want to enjoy Little Tokyo’s nightlife or go to evening events held by local arts institutions like East West Players, Visual Communications, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, Japanese American National Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Arts.

The rates were formally approved by the City Board of Transportation Commissioners on Sept. 8. Rates incrementally jump when visitors stay over three hours so as to not compete with private parking operators that have favorable all-day and monthly parking rates. A convenient map and list of all parking lots located in Little Tokyo is available online at the LTCC website, www.littletokyola.org.

The rates and hours of operation for the Aiso Parking Lot are as follows:

Pricing Structure

1st Hour – $1.00
2nd Hour – $1.00
3rd Hour – $3.00
4th Hour and thereafter – $6.00/hour
Or every 15 minutes – $1.50
Daily Maximum Rate – $14.00
Flat Rate after 5:00 PM – $3.00

Operating Hours:
Monday – Thursday 6:00 a.m. to 12 a.m. midnight
Friday 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

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