Getting to the Getty: Parking Goes Up to $15
News that the Getty museums' parking fees will jump to $15 on July 1 (the second time in less than eight months it's been raised) is starting to sink in. L.A. Observed referred to $5 increase as a "barrier" that would reinforce the art museum's persona as an "elitist Bel-Air hilltop institution." (The fee hike affects both Getty Center and the Getty Villa in Malibu.) LAist's Caleb Bacon noted that now the Getty would be on par with Dodger Stadium for parking costs. (The Dodgers announced before Opening Day that the ballpark would not raise its $15 fee, established in 2008, in deference to the recession.)
Today's New York Times, in reporting on the Getty's continuing budget squeeze, calls the hike a de facto admission charge for the museum, which officially imposes no entry fee. (The Times couldn't resist calling L.A.'s massive public transit system "limited" -- a stereotype recently exploded by L.A. urban-planning blogger Eric A. Morris on the Times' own Freakonomics site.)
By now, however, people are figuring out ways to cope. LAist suggests taking the MTA's 761 bus, a CNG-fueled express from either Westwood or Sherman Oaks -- a $2.50 round trip. One of the site's readers proposed carpooling:
"[I]f you grab 3 friends with you total will add up to 4 people. It's just 3 bucks per person and you can spend a whole day there and learn something. I know so many people in this town that don't even know where Getty's Museum or Villa are located."
One forgiving comment writer noted the imperative of raising parking fees (since J.P. Getty's will mandated that the museum he left behind never charge admission) and also embraced carpooling:
"With 2-5 passengers per vehicle you're still only paying $3-$7.50 to see world renowned art collection housed in beautiful buildings and surrounded by beautiful landscaping. Cheaper than a movie, and a hell of a lot more rewarding."
Los Angeles County Museum on Fire quotes J.P.:
"It was my intent that the collections should be completely open to the public, free of all charges--be they for admission or even for parking automobiles. Nothing of this sort could be insured if the museum were under the control of a city, state--or even the Federal--government."