The Santa Monica City Council unanimously passed at its April 12 meeting an ordinance amending the Municipal Code to restrict the parking (in certain areas) of vehicles more than five feet tall and a resolution permitting the installation of signs notifying drivers of the height restrictions in affected areas.
With unanimous approval of the ordinance, two existing sections of the Santa Monica Municipal Code will be combined to “provide parking restrictions for large vehicles,” while the resolution “will allow the Principal Transportation Engineer to install signs … prohibiting the parking of vehicles over five feet high … where it is determined … vehicles over (five feet) potentially impacts traffic safety.”
Installation of signs addressing the new parking restrictions in key areas are expected to cost up to $5,000, according to city staff.
Sam Morrissey, City Hall’s principal transportation engineer, said the passage of both the ordinance and the resolution will make it very clear what the law is and allow for greater efficiency among parking and law enforcement officials.
“The ordinance will amend two existing sections of the Municipal Code that are currently very similar but slightly different, and different enough that it’s difficult for us to post signs and be very clear as to what the restrictions are,” he said. “We’d like to combine these two (ordinances) so that we can be confident that we can assure that there is consistent notification, regulation, and enforcement of the large vehicle parking restrictions.”
He added the public policy behind the proposed ordinance and resolution, which is slightly more limiting than the statewide standard of restricting parking of vehicles over six feet high in certain areas, is to help with overall visibility and safety.
“The reason to do this is a lot of our intersections, particularly in the downtown and some of our smaller blocks, we’ve got parking up to the edges of alleys, we’ve got a lot of sight and disability concerns,” he told the Council. “This requires us to be able to limit the height (of vehicles).”
Planning Director Eileen Fogarty was a little more specific in the staff report about how driver visibility may be altered without the parking restriction effect in areas such as the downtown.
“There are many on-street parking spaces located adjacent to driveways or alleys where parked vehicles over five feet in height can limit the visibility for drivers attempting to exit the driveway or alley,” she stated.
In a response to a question posed by Council member Bob Holbrook, Morrissey stated recreational vehicles are also applicable under the ordinance and resolution.
“Recreation vehicles would be included under the large vehicle parking restrictions (but) you can get a permit for a large number of oversized vehicles.”
Just the same, sport utility vehicles also fall under purview of the approved ordinance and resolution.