Whittier will get a second parking structure
WHITTIER – After years of debate, the City Council last week gave the green light to the construction of a second parking structure in Uptown Whittier, which officials hope will alleviate parking congestion in the shopping district.
The 3 ½-level structure will have 351 parking stalls and be built on Comstock Avenue between Bailey and Philadelphia streets.
Largo Concrete Inc. of Tustin was awarded the $10.9 million contract on a 3-2 vote. Council members Henry Bouchot and Josue Alvarado opposed the contract, claiming it was too costly and the money could be better spent in other areas of Uptown.
Construction on the new parking structure is expected to begin in January and will take about a year to complete.
In addition to parking stalls, the structure will be equipped with electric vehicle charging stations and conduits for future solar panels.
Whittier officials have grappled for years with how to make parking easier in Uptown Whittier. A 2010 parking study recommended installing parking meters on Greenleaf Avenue to encourage turnover and to get store and restaurant employees to park off-site.
The city already operates a 221-stall parking structure on Bright Avenue but officials say it’s underutilized over safety concerns. Last month, the city reached an agreement to have PIH Health employees park in that structure but with the condition that PIH hire security to escort employees.
Ricardo Diaz, owner of the forthcoming Whittier Brewery, said Uptown Whittier businesses are struggling due to insufficient parking.
“The parking structure is a concrete step in providing access to Uptown Whittier,” said Diaz. “One complaint about Uptown Whittier is the lack of parking Let’s get one step done so we work on others.”
Mayor Pro Tem Fernando Dutra agreed that more parking would benefit Uptown stores and restaurants.
“If you want to keep Uptown without any growth, leave it the way it is,” Dutra said. “You want more restaurants and shops? You do that by providing parking.”