Council OKs Multifamily Preferential Parking on Canon

When multifamily residents from Reeves to Crescent received a mailed notice last fall that the Traffic & Parking Commission would consider modifying preferential parking on the 200 and 300 blocks of Canon to exclude multifamily households, we stepped up and said NO. Residents came back this spring with another petition to allow multifamily permit-holders but keep out everybody else. Commissioners agreed — and so did City Council.

Backstory on the Canon Drive Petition

The original petition proposed to modify the preferential parking regulations that then allowed for one-hour parking for everyone and unrestricted parking for Q-zone permit holders. That existing designation was “One Hour, Q-permit Exempt.” The exemption allowed multifamily residents on adjacent blocks (in the Q-zone) to park on the 200 and 300 blocks of Canon when curb space wasn’t available on our blocks.

Canon homeowners: no parking for multifamilyAs we explained to the Traffic and Parking Commission last fall, our blocks are ‘under-parked’ relative to demand. Our older buildings mostly didn’t provide enough parking, which the city recognizes with a program to provide Q-zone parking permits for any resident that can show need but no off-street parking is available.

The original petition would have made those two blocks of Canon ‘No parking anytime’ with no exemption. We fought that and commissioners agreed.

A Revised Petition Comes Back to the Commission

The new revised petition is for ‘No Parking Anytime, Q-permit exempt’ instead of ‘No Parking Anytime.’ The distinction is that multifamily permit holders would continue to park there during daytime hours with no time limit. Residents without permits, and visitors (including disabled visitors) without permits, though, would not be able to park at all.

We opposed the new petition on that ground: that disallowing parking for those who don’t hold a permit — even if it is just for one hour — would push parking demand onto adjacent blocks from Canon Drive (whack-a-mole style). Our blocks are already over-subscribed, we told commissioners, because there is barely enough curb capacity to provide what multifamily residents need let alone parking capacity for Beverly Drive shoppers and restaurant patrons.

Traffic and Parking Commissioners saw the merit in our argument against modifying the parking zone and the commission split: 3 voted to send it to City Council (with some reservations) and the other two commissioners didn’t agree. We got a good hearing from the commissioners, though. And we didn’t hard-oppose the zone change as we had at last fall’s meeting because multifamily got a carve-out under the revised petition.

City Council Says Yes to Q-Zone No Parking Anytime

City Council reviewed a revised Canon parking petition on April 16th. (Council establishes preferential parking policy.) Two Traffic and Parking commissioners spoke in favor of the parking zone modification while one commissioner spoke in opposition to any change.

Council listened to data on curbside occupancy, potential impacts on traffic, and surrounding area parking restrictions. City Council supported the petition unanimously. The vote in favor largely sided with Canon residents: their complaint said too many out-of-area visitors park on their two blocks. That’s a common complaint.

There was also some frankly overheated grousing about safety: the cars parked at the curb pinch passing traffic and that causes damage and threat to children. (Seriously.) However this argument for a permit parking change was undermined by those same residents who park at the curb themselves and add to the problem as they see it. (We said as much to the commission.)

Council discussion touched on the perennial problem of whack-a-mole preferential parking. Ban parking on one block and it finds relief elsewhere, then those residents bring forward a petition.

Again, we didn’t bring any hard opposition to the issue. Thirteen speakers addressed it, mostly Canon residents. A few talked about parking impacts from South Beverly and good for them!

We will always bring hard opposition whenever a single-family block wants to ban multifamily households from sharing the curb. Please get in touch with Renters Alliance in that case. We will be happy to advise!

Lessons to Take Away

  • The parking needs of multifamily areas need special consideration. Multifamily (R–4) areas are higher residential density than are single-family (R–1) areas. There is also a preponderance of older, multifamily properties that do not provide sufficient parking. Residents without off-street parking compete for very limited street parking and pushing parking demand onto our already-overburdened streets only compounds the problem.
  • Multifamily blocks near South Beverly Drive are already affected disproportionately. We should not have share any more of that burden; we already sacrifice our limited parking capacity to accommodate business patrons.
  • Neighborhoods around South Beverly already suffer impacts from past parking policy choices, namely the elimination of non-permit parking on El Camino, Rodeo and other streets west of Beverly (including Gregory). Nobody asked our opinion on those restrictions yet we live with the impact today. It came up repeatedly in these Canon permit discussions.
  • Before we strip multifamily households of curb parking privileges, let’s make sure those homeowners are providing the parking they themselves need.. Single-family homes by law must provide sufficient parking for their occupants and guests. That is required by the Municipal Code. Yet we see garage conversions and driveways used for other purposes while those residents park on front lawns and at the curb. Before we strip multifamily households of curb parking privileges, let’s make sure those homeowners are providing the parking they themselves need.

Have a question about parking regulations? Get in touch with Renters Alliance and we’ll see if we can help. Remember that nobody has a proprietary claim to a public street!

Why We Opposed Onerous Parking Restrictions for Canon Drive

We made some of these arguments to the commissioners and emphasized that multifamily interests have to be a part of the discussion. Have a watch!