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Residents Torn Over Proposed Preferential Parking Zone
By Jorge Casuso
July 18, 2019 -- Over the years, few issues have inflamed the passions of Santa Monicans more than preferential parking, and the latest proposal to expand an existing zone near Venice is no exception.
Residents in the proposed preferential parking zone around Lincoln Boulevard and the Venice border have inundated City officials with letters and comments before the City Council takes up the issue Tuesday.
Some have documented the parking situation on their blocks in detail, sometimes using spreadsheets and photographic evidence.
One resident blamed the proposed zone on "another house-flipper" trying to gentrify a neighborhood opponents of restricted parking say is blessed with plentiful spaces.
Others fear a new residential development at 2903 Lincoln will worsen an already unbearable problem that forces them to walk more than a block to their cars.
"Parking issues are such a 1st World issue! I would rather be spending my time trying to stop global warming," one resident wrote before embarking on a detailed analysis of the proposed zone.
The Council will take up the issue after two-thirds of the residents of the two blocks adjacent to Lincoln Boulevard submitted qualifying petitions for preferential parking regulations.
Staff conducted parking studies that confirm the area has "moderate to high usage during daytime hours and is proposing a two-hour parking limit between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily except by permit.
The zone would encompass Ashland Avenue between Lincoln Boulevard and 11th Street and Pier Avenue between Lincoln Boulevard and 7th Street.
Residents who attended a community meeting in May generally agreed "that street parking is an issue on some streets, particularly on streets closer to Lincoln Boulevard," staff wrote in its report to the Council.
While the majority who attended the meeting supported the two-hour parking restriction, others thought it didn't go far enough.
"A few days per week, things are fine on our block," a resident of the 2800 block of 11th Street wrote in the community comments.
"The rest of the time, and sometimes for weeks at a time, there are so many cars stored that residents have to park on other blocks."
The resident requested that the 2-hour parking limit be imposed "24/7."
A resident of Ashland didn't think two-hour restrictions went far enough and urged the Council to approve preferential parking around the clock.
"The benefit to residents would be immeasurable," the resident wrote. "Residents could come home to find parking after work, on a summer weekend or maybe on street sweeping day.
"People could even meet friends for dinner and afterward park on our street."
But other residents say there is no need for even 2-hour restrictions.
A couple of neighbors who live on the 700 block of Ashland said they walked their block one week at all hours "photographing parking spaces to provide real metrics to back us up.
"Whether we walked at 6am, noon, 3pm, 6pm or other hours -- there were always empty parking spaces available -- in fact usually 6 - 12 spaces or more, every time."
One opponent of preferential parking who signed his comments is Todd Erlandson, who has lived on the 700 block of Ashland for 25 years and owns a nearby business.
"Shared parking close to business streets is the price residential streets pay for the privilege to walk to businesses," he wrote. "This is a small CITY -- that's how cities work!
"I'm frustrated that one person on a mission can get signatures to essentially 'blockade" parking for others on their street," he said.
Still others worry the new zone will simply shift the parking problem to their area.
"I am very concerned that permit parking on the 700 block of Marine Street would simply push people to park on our block," wrote a resident of the 600 block of Marine, which is not covered by the proposed zone.
"I always hate preferential parking but what happens is when other blocks do it, the problem just moves.
"We respectfully ask to be included in the restricted parking zone," the resident concluded.
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