I’ve been a Santa Monica resident for years, and apparently I reside in the “SMC Madison Campus” area. I received postcards in the mail informing me that additional parking meters will be installed in my area. Apparently this is supposed to free up more parking that is currently occupied by “long-term” folks, whatever that means. In actuality I think it’s another stab in the back for Santa Monica residents.
I have to park on the street. It’s pretty obvious that the city has mismanaged zoning and construction, permitting businesses and residences that have inadequate provision for parking. By way of example, my building has twenty-six units and only eighteen parking spots. Street parking in my area wasn’t too bad years ago, but over the past several years the city has managed to significantly reduce the number of available spots, making the evenings hellish.
First, new restaurants appeared. This was followed by the installation of many new parking meters where previously there had been none. Then, the city came through and used red paint on the curbs in the neighborhood. Rather arbitrarily, it would seem. For example, sections of street that formerly allowed for five parked cars were reduced to holding three.
As a result, there is less and less space for residents to park. Residents should not have to pay for metered parking (even if a spot is available). For some reason, overnight parking is not permitted on Santa Monica Blvd. The city’s rule about parking within two blocks of your address doesn’t apply equitably when your two block area includes the parking meters on Lincoln, Broadway and Santa Monica Blvd.
Residents need to be able to find parking during the work day, when returning home from work, and on the weekends, so that they can go to work, go shopping, run errands, and get their kids to and from school (thanks for the school buses that sit idle instead of transporting our kids). Some people may need to park during the day, and most everyone will need to park overnight.
The city spends money repaving, repainting and scrubbing the streets, painting bicycle lanes, installing bicycle racks, and buying innumerable parking meters. I can’t understand why. There certainly is no wear and tear from rain, ice, snow, or salted roads. How about spending money, time and effort to remedy the terrible parking situation you’ve created? Even if we had the extra money to pay for monthly parking, the city’s parking structures have no available monthly passes, and aren’t even tracking a waiting list.
What happens when people come home from work and have no place to park? Shall we head over to city hall and park on the lawn? Head over to the police station and let them valet park our cars for us? Drive around in circles all night? Or park illegally and provide additional revenue to the city? I suspect the latter to be your preference.
First, I propose the parking meters go. Secondly, open up overnight parking everywhere. Third, eliminate all the red curbs. Fourth, put in head-in parking where possible, to allow for more parked cars. Disallow the street-parking of commercial vehicles; the streets should be available for residential parking. Ultimately, it would appear that you need to put in more parking structures for monthly parking, and for the customers all those businesses attract. The price for monthly parking permits for residents should be on a par with the price for residential street parking permits – this isn’t a fund-raising scheme for local government, it’s your responsibility and obligation to your constituents.
Future construction needs to provide adequate parking for residents and customers, but you need to fix the existing problem. Forcing people out of their homes is not only bad for the economy, it’s also deplorable and bad government. You are the stewards of our city, it’s time to start acting like it. You can start by scratching this latest parking meter installation.
Eric Greystone, Santa Monica