Residents and business owners from the eastern end of Santa Monica’s Mid-City area discussed the possibility of having preferential parking in their part of town at a meeting hosted by the City at Virginia Avenue Park’s Thelma Terry Center.
According to a letter sent to residents and business owners in the area, the purpose of preferential parking regulations “is to provide relief to residents who find that non-resident parking regularly interferes with their ability to park on the street near their homes.” The process of implementing the regulations involves residents on a specific block submitting a petition to the City requesting preferential parking. If the block is in a preferential permit area already approved by the City Council, and two-thirds of the residential units on a block sign the petition, the regulations will be implemented. If the block is outside of a Council-approved permit area, in addition to having the petition it first must be approved by the Council. Once requirements are met for a specific block, each residential unit is entitled to one permit per registered vehicle at that address, plus two visitor permits, at a cost of $15 per permit. A resident can also request up to 25 free visitor one-day passes. A permit allows a vehicle to be parked on the street without any time restrictions.
The January 28 meeting covered possible preferential regulations for the following residential streets: Stanford, Berkeley, and Franklin Streets between Wil-shire and Santa Monica Boulevards, and Arizona Avenue between Yale Street and Centinela Avenue.
Many residents at the meeting were interested in obtaining preferential parking for their streets because they claimed Busby’s Restaurant and Bar, located at 3110 Santa Monica Boulevard, between Stanford and Berkeley Streets, is causing significant parking and noise problems in the area. According to residents, the noise problems are caused by restaurant patrons returning to their cars late at night, often after drinking, as well as speeding. Others complained that the Santa Monica Boulevard car dealerships were storing their cars on their streets, and that employees from nearby businesses were parking on their streets all day long.
The business owners who attended were opposed to the idea. They were worried that the preferential parking regulations would cause problems for their employees as well as their customers.
There were also residents at the meeting who reside on streets in an already approved preferential parking area (the 2800 block of Arizona Avenue, and Yale Street between Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards), but people hadn’t yet signed the required petition. Many of these residents felt it was necessary to sign petitions now because they are worried that if the Council approves permit parking for the streets covered in the meeting their streets would become more desirable for non-resident parking, becoming more difficult for residents to find parking.
Possible hours and days for permit parking were also discussed, but no consensus was reached. City Transportation Associate Ruth Harper explained to the Mirror that the City would be sending out surveys to about 2,000 residential units and businesses in the area to determine their preferences for parking permits. After that information is compiled, a recommendation will be prepared for the City Council to review.
Senior Transportation Planner Beth Rolandson told the Mirror preferential parking is “very prevalent, especially where there is a lot of multi-family housing” near businesses throughout town.