By Eric Gray (LBLN Contributor)
One quality of life issue heard often around Long Beach is parking. Many areas around the city have been plagued by poor planning decisions decades ago which allotted for little or no parking per apartment unit. As a result, parking in areas such as Alamitos Beach cause frequent misery to many residents who after working a full day, tend to drive around close to 45 minutes looking for a parking spot.
Over the past decade, there has been a trend in city leadership favoring alternative forms of transportation with less reliance on automobiles in part to combat parking and to increase walkability among residents and those who work locally. This is not to say Long Beach hasn’t worked to create more parking. Across a number of city streets, parallel parking has been replaced by head in diagonal parking to increase parking density, hash marks have been created to ensure a car does not take up two spots, and recently 2nd District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce has brought Pied Parker to Long Beach, where residents can rent out their parking spaces for a fee to others.
In addition to all of this, Long Beach TAPS (Transportation And Parking Solutions) a community based group, has been working diligently to ensure an independent parking perspective gets a voice on citywide parking issues. Last week, the City of Long Beach gave TAPS a big win.
Parking Consultant Approved
At Tuesday night’s Council meeting which ran late into the evening, City Council approved the parking consulting firm KOA, to study aspects of the city’s current policies. According to TAPS, comments from City Staff around this agenda item include:
“The expected result of the Study is a comprehensive on-street and off-street parking analysis that involves developing a public and private parking system inclusive of parking users in portions of the Downtown Long Beach central business district and Alamitos Beach.
KOA Corporation provides the relevant experience and local familiarity necessary to prepare a comprehensive study. The firm’s focus and emphasis on up-front data collection as the driver of potential solutions was exemplary. ”
Pro or Against Parking?
It’s important to note that some urban planners and urban revitalization advocates tend to cringe when hearing about additional parking. Arguments may include, the reduction of future affordable housing development due to increased parking requirements on a developer, a less pedestrian friendly city, and a concern that empty lots will stay empty. Others in the community counter argue by stating the need for better more time efficient transportation options citywide, and the desire for a higher cluster of jobs available to local residents to reduce the need for a car.
No matter what your take is on parking, you can rest assure there will continue to be strong dialogue in the city around this important issue and hopefully, solutions created will benefit people on both sides of this issue.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Follow Eric Gray on Twitter: @EricGrayLB