A pilot project to direct spring weekend parking at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens to an off-site garage along the Metro Gold Line was informationally presented to the San Marino Public Safety Commission during the public comment section at its meeting at City Hall on Monday.
According to The Huntington’s Vice President for Advancement and External Relations Randy Shulman, the first trial run of the program will kick off Feb. 1 and 2 for the Chinese Lunar New Year event, the institution’s busiest weekend of the year.
The Huntington worked with the city of Pasadena to utilize Metro’s 1,200-spot parking lot at Sierra Madre Villa Station for visitor traffic. For the New Year event, there will be 40-seat shuttles running every 15 minutes from 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., allowing for early arrivals and late departures (The Huntington is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). There is no cost for parking at the station.
Shuttle riders will also receive a $5 coupon for a discount on Huntington admission (adult, senior or student tickets) or $5 off food purchases in the 1919 Cafe, Red Car Coffee Shop, Freshwater Dumpling and Noodle House, or Rose Garden Tea Room.
If the run is deemed successful, the service would then start every weekend from the middle of March through the middle of June, Shulman told the commission.
The growth in popularity of The Huntington has made parking an increasing issue as more visitors travel a good distance in their personal vehicles to the institution. The program is part of The Huntington’s goal “to help the surrounding neighbors feel some degree of control and relief [and] to make the impacts as minimal as possible,” Shulman said.
Shulman said the 3.5-mile route was selected to spend as little time in San Marino as possible and be the most direct as possible while following the truck and bus route. The route goes north from The Huntington parking lot on Allen Avenue, turns right on East California Boulevard, left on Sierra Madre Boulevard and right on East Foothill Boulevard to the Sierra Madre Villa Station.
“Very little of it is in San Marino so that’s what we could do that was logical but also to follow the route that the trucks already use,” said Shulman.
After the New Year event, 29-seat shuttles powered by natural gas with no loud mechanized sounds are proposed for the other weekends.
The Huntington plans to monitor the buses during the day, take a survey of visitors who utilize it and host a public forum for neighbors around the institution. By June, Shulman said they will know if the program has a “green light” to go for next year.
“When issues arise, we are willing to work and try to remedy anything you hear about from a public safety point,” said Shulman.