Multifamily residents from Reeves to Crescent recently received a mailed notice that the Traffic & Parking Commission would consider modifying the preferential parking permit zones on the 200 and 300 blocks of Canon Drive. These blocks are in the ‘Q’ zone, which is shared with multifamily households on Reeves, Canon, Crescent and Elm. We said NO to the petition and the commissioners supported us. No change to Canon parking!
Traffic and Parking commissioners denied the petition to change the parking hours and zone on Canon Drive. Thanks to everyone who stepped up with an email or showed up to explain to the commission why it’s important to multifamily areas that the city take our needs into account.
My neighbors and I recently received a mailed notice that the Traffic & Parking Commission would consider modifying the preferential parking permit zones on the 200 and 300 blocks of Canon Drive. These blocks are in the ‘Q’ zone, which is shared with multifamily households on Reeves, Canon, Crescent and Elm. The proposed modification as noticed would make the two blocks of Canon ‘No parking anytime,’ Q-permit exempt. Multifamily permit holders would be allowed to park during daytime hours with no time limit while residents without permits, and visitors, including non-permit disabled visitors, would not be able to park.
However streets fronting multifamily blocks already provide less on-street parking than our densely-settled community needs. May of our buildings are ‘under-parked’ and cannot provide for the existing parking demand. (Some include no off-street parking at all.)
Add to that the guests who visit and those who patronize South Beverly businesses and we have considerable additional demand on our limited street parking capacity. Also complicating the issue is that ‘Q’ parking permits are in demand by employers who would have their employees park on streets like Reeves and Canon using an unlawfully-procured resident permit.
Renters Alliance was opposed to the change in regulation to permit-only by eliminating the 1-hour parking allowance. For one thing, it would have pushed demand for street parking to our multifamily blocks by those who park on Canon without a permit, including our guests and those shopping and dining on South Beverly. Not all multifamily households have purchased a permit (they are not required) and some choose to park on Canon for a short duration when convenient. For another thing, permit holders depend on Canon Drive to parking when there is no available parking on a multifamily block adjacent to home; or on street cleaning days; or even for personal convenience.
That was bad enough, but the commission’s staff report departed from the mailed notice by indicating the Canon homeowners wanted more: to exclude residents of multifamily areas by changing their Q-zone to something else. Q-permit holders would not be able to park there with the passes we just purchased.
At that point Renters Alliance contacted residents on the multifamily blocks of Elm, Crescent and Canon to alert them, and in tumbled more emails to the city opposing the change. The Traffic and Parking Commission cited emails in opposition in turning back the effort to make Canon for homeowners only.
Should the effort go to City Council (necessary for a permit zone change) we will remind our councilmembers that this petition should not have even been heard by the commission because it was improperly noticed: the change described in the postal notice differed from what petitioners were asking the commission to change.
Read down for the reasons Renters Alliance opposes onerous restrictions on street parking especially in multifamily zones.
Lessons to Take Away
Many multifamily areas are called ‘under-parked’ by planners because a preponderance of older residential rental structures don’t provide enough parking for occupants. Nearly without exception they do not conform to today’s parking requirements and the city considers them ‘legally non-conforming.’ These areas deserve added deference when the city establishes parking regulations.
The 100 blocks of Reeves, Canon, Crescent and Elm are part of the Q-zone that includes Canon Drive because the side streets, and during non-overnight hours, play an important role in providing on-street parking capacity.
Yet homeowners on single-family blocks that abut multifamily areas are increasingly reaching for the ‘No Parking Any Time’ prohibition. Homeowners in the Southwest secured that for streets south of Charleville and west of Beverly. That only pushes demand for street parking onto other streets.
If you receive notice that homeowners are petitioning to change the local parking regulation on their block(s), look carefully at the notice and assess the objective of the petitioners. Are they looking to exclude multifamily residents? If so, organize your neighbors to oppose the petition. Petitioners count on high enthusiasm among their ranks and low interest on the part of the neighbors.
Then 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
- 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.
- Our multifamily blocks are already affected by parking demand from South Beverly Drive businesses. My neighbors and I should not have to bear that burden exclusively. We are fortunate to live near a vibrant commercial corridor and we enjoy the outdoor dining options that South Beverly provides. But business visitors may choose to park on our blocks during daytime hours and we sacrifice our limited parking opportunities to accommodate them.
- Restricting Canon Drive to ‘No parking anytime’ will remove much-needed, short-term daytime parking capacity. Today that capacity accommodates some of the demand for parking on our multifamily blocks. Even if it is only 1-hour parking, still it accommodates neighborhood visitors who would otherwise park on our over-crowded streets.
- Restricting Canon Drive to ‘No Parking Any Time’ will take away a parking option for multifamily residents. Today we and our guests can avail ourselves of short-term parking in a pinch. Even if we have not purchased a preferential permit. That will change if parking is entirely restricted to homeowners on Canon.
- Restricting Canon Drive to ‘No parking anytime’ would throw our street-cleaning shuffle into chaos. It’s a game of ‘musical chairs’ from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Canon provides an important relief valve when the curbs are cleared of cars in the multifamily areas. Restricting Canon parking to ‘No Parking Anytime’ would compound the street-cleaning impact.
- We already suffer impacts from past parking policy choices. Nobody shared with my neighbors and I the rationale for eliminating parking on El Camino, Rodeo and other streets west of Beverly (including Gregory). Certainly nobody asked our opinion. Yet the ‘No parking anytime’ restriction there has pushed demand for street parking into our neighborhood. Today our multifamily streets are not merely an option for business visitors but the only option. Restricting Canon in the same fashion will only add to existing impacts.
- Lastly, single-family properties by law already provide sufficient parking for their occupants and guests. They are required to by the Municipal Code. In contrast, multifamily areas are ‘under-parked’ (in planner’s lingo) because the city allows older rental properties to continue to operate despite the shortage of parking. These are ‘legally non-conforming’ when it comes to parking. If Canon Drive is a necessary relief valve for under-parked multifamily areas, why would transportation staff recommend reserving those 200 and 300 blocks for just homeowner use?
We made some of these arguments to the commissioners and emphasized that multifamily interests have to be a part of the discussion.