Homeowners are petitioning the city to modify the preferential parking permit zone on the 200 block of South Crescent. Their objective is to prevent any visitor from parking on their street. While the proposed ‘No Parking Anytime, Permit Q Exempt’ designation could benefit fewer than 40 homeowners, it would make curb parking more difficult for hundreds of multifamily households south of Wilshire. Street parking is already a challenge. This new designation would make it worse by pushing day & nighttime parking demand from Crescent to our blocks.
On Thursday morning the Traffic & Parking Commission will hear a Crescent Drive homeowner petition to add a new parking restriction to the 200 block (see the agenda). You may have received a mailed notice if you live nearby. But even if you don’t it is likely a petition to restrict street parking in single-family areas will come to you.
Why We Need to Pay Attention to Parking Petitions
If the city agrees to change preferential parking on Crescent Drive, then we will see even more visitors from outside our neighborhood looking for parking on multifamily blocks. As we know, the curb spots available already fall short of meeting multifamily resident parking demand!
Multifamily residents south of Wilshire already have a parking problem: older apartments don’t generally provide enough parking and so parking occupancy on multifamily blocks is already high. There isn’t enough additional street parking capacity to allow a block like Crescent to turn away visitors and force those drivers to park on our crowded blocks.
The neighborhood parking zone map suggests where additional street parking demand would go after it is prohibited on Crescent: to blocks along Charleville between Reeves and Rexford; the 100 blocks of Reeves, Canon, Crescent, and Elm; and the 300 blocks of Canon, Crescent and Elm.
Because the 200 and 300 blocks of Canon are already off-limits to out-of-area drivers, it is likely that the Crescent and Elm multifamily households will be hardest-hit.
What to Do?
Contact the Traffic & Parking Commission prior to Thursday’s meeting. Reach the commission by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (310) 285–1128 with your concerns. Those concerns may include:
- Street parking is difficult to find on Q-zone blocks in multifamily areas because older apartments often do not provide sufficient parking on site;
- Beverly Vista school reorganization has attracted many more commute-to-school trips and those families use our street for student pick-up and drop-off;
- Already-limited curb parking capacity is further reduced because visitors park for an extended period by using a disabled parking placard (a privilege that is frequently abused);
- Curb parking occupancy is high during the day & evening because visitors park in our neighborhood without a permit and often overstay the 1-hour time limit;
- Curb parking occupancy is high day & evening because employees misuse local parking placards in lieu of employer-provide parking or use of parking garages; and,
- Curb parking is unavailable late in the evening because occupancy is high and the late hour means parking spaces are less-likely to turn over.
The Traffic & Parking Commission is aware of these problems but commissioners need to hear from multifamily residents. Every email and telephone call will count. They actually keep a tally. If you have an hour to address commissioners this Thursday it will make a huge difference. The commission meets 9 a.m. on the 2nd floor of City Hall. Be sure to write and to appear.
We’ve Been Here Before
Parking is already a problem for multifamily households in the Q-zone because Canon Drive homeowners successfully won an identical prohibition on visitor parking last year. Their arguments last year are echoed in the Crescent petition today:
- Too many drivers park on their street;
- They can’t find curb parking in front of their house;
- Property damage from passing cars occurs due to the crowded parking conditions; and,
- The high volume of traffic is harming their quality-of-life.
“The traffic needs to start flowing better and not become so frustrating for the residents,” says the current Crescent homeowner petition. “This is a residential street which is now being treated like a commercial street for car travelers.” We heard that last time around too. Who among multifamily residents doesn’t feel the same way?
Ironically the change to the Canon drive parking restrictions last year added to the parking woes of the Crescent petitioners, they say. Yet Crescent homeowners are asking for the very same restriction that will simply push that problem onto our multifamily streets.
Restricting Parking for Visitors is Not the Answer
There is one complaint in the homeowners’ petition with which we can agree however: curbside parking in our neighborhood became a bigger problem when homeowners on the west side of Beverly Drive won permission to prohibit visitors from parking on their streets. West of Beverly we see block after block (including Gregory) is posted ‘no parking any time’ (without a permit). Those visitors now park on our blocks.
Moreover, a recent city council decision to relax parking regulations for restaurants on South Beverly means even more demand for street parking and those drivers will be circling our blocks east of Beverly looking for curb parking. A double whammy for our neighborhood.
Restricting visitors may solve the Crescent problem but it will be an even bigger problem for the rest of us. If homeowners on the 200 Crescent block succeed in restricting their street to Q-zone permit holders only we will see even greater curbside parking occupancy where capacity is already limited.
The Traffic & Parking commissioners have a term for trying to manage curb parking demand with more restrictions: “whack-a-mole.” Prohibit parking on one street and the demand for curb parking will move nearby. (That is the reason why the commission split on backing the change to the Canon permit zone last year.)
Why the Petition Must Fail
We will present the same counterarguments to the Traffic & Parking Commission on Thursday morning as we did when the Crescent drive petition went up for review. In brief….
The homeowners’ petition is a reaction to the congestion, noise, and hostility that comes with too much traffic congestion. It is not a problem of too-liberal parking restrictions. The larger quality-of-life problem won’t be addressed by displacing curb parking demand to somewhere else. Traffic-calming measures would be a better solution for those homeowners.
Second, if “excessive” curb parking is the problem, as petitioners say, adding a new restriction won’t address it. On Canon today there exists as much curb parking on the 200 and 300 blocks as did before the restriction on visitor parking.
Canon petitioners themselves were adding to the own problem by parking at the curb. And they still do after the new parking restriction even though every home there has a driveway and/or a garage!
Third, the claim that curb parking is excessive on their street is unsupported by the data. The parking occupancy survey in the city’s staff report shows that they have a smaller curb-parking problem than do multifamily residents!
Multifamily Households Who Must Park on the Street Suffer Already
The parking survey finds curb parking occupancy on the 200 block of Crescent is 30% of available spaces, on average, which means that less than one-third of available parking spots are taken. Compare that with the multifamily blocks in the Q-zone: occupancy in the Q-zone where probably greater than 75% of capacity is used during the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. period. Occupancy on multifamily blocks is even higher after 8 p.m. when it becomes more difficult to find a parking spot.
But the parking survey’s identification of ‘commuter’ vehicles is what we need to focus on. The finding that 72% of parked cars were from outside the Q-zone means that if a new prohibition on visitor parking were approved, then those ‘commuter’ cars will be parked somewhere else in our neighborhood. Where? Multifamily streets without a ‘no parking any time’ prohibition.
Every one of those 30 homeowners who signed their petition are required by law to provide off-street parking on their property. (Many appear to have driveways larger than the Municipal Code allows, too, which is worth a closer look because some were paved without permits.) However many multifamily residents have no choice but to park on the street.
We will tell Traffic & Parking commissioners on Thursday not to grant these homeowners specific relief from the problems we all share — too-great demand for curb parking — when that means our curb parking problems would only worsen as a result.