April 2012 home page

Managing to Park
Nancy Fisher | 24th Street


Photo provided by Nancy Fisher

In an effort to alleviate parking congestion in both the residential and business areas of Del Mar, the Traffic/Parking Advisory Committee (TPAC) will be submitting a proposal to the Planning Commission at their April 10th meeting recommending a combination of solutions that have been successfully implemented in several California beach towns facing similar issues.

After reviewing the parking regulations of Capitola, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Laguna Beach, San Juan Capistrano, and San Clemente, TPAC is basing their recommendations on solutions that would allow the most people to access the beach, eat at local restaurants, and shop at local businesses, while addressing the complaints of adjacent neighbors overwhelmed by the overflow parking.

Acknowledging that Del Mar is different than some of the other coastal towns in that it has limited parking and year-round visitors, TPAC will suggest installing Pay-and-Display stations or meters with time limits on major streets in areas adjacent to the beach and to the central business district and on nearby and side streets. Depending on the needs determined for specific areas, time limits are expected to range from 2 – 4 hours, and to be enforced from 8AM – 8PM. Time limits, says TPAC, would serve to ensure circulation of parking spaces by preventing visitors from parking for the entire day and sometimes into the evening in one spot while others constantly circle the neighborhoods looking for a space.
In addition to managing the “growing parking dilemma for both residents and visitors,” TPAC also expects their recommendations, if accepted, to contribute to paying for the approximately $1M in services provided by the city each year, which includes lifeguards, facilities, and cleanup personnel.

Residents of Del Mar would be entitled to buy an annual permit at a cost of $200 per permit, one per registered vehicle with a Del Mar address, to be displayed as a sticker permanently attached to the vehicle. This permit would allow parking in any non-metered legal space in the city without regard to time limit (72 hours max) except within the central business district and at metered spaces/lots for the maximum time allowed. Permits would be 50% less (half of the normal fee) for residents 62 years and older.

Residents would also have the option to buy an annual “Cross-Driveway” permit for driveways approved by the fire department at a cost of $44, allowing vehicles not more than 18’ long to park at the end of, or across, an approved driveway entrance. This address-identified hanging permit would provide additional parking spaces not currently being utilized and would be transferable to various vehicles.
Permits will also be available, at varying costs and for varying periods of time, to local employees, construction workers, and others in need of regular parking or parking for a specific project.

At a March 13th meeting of TPAC, most recommendations unrelated to beach use were received favorably. Some beach and Stratford Court residents, however, objected to the enforcement of paid parking until 8PM, as beach use typically ends by 6PM. The extended hours, they argue, would force their evening guests to pay for readily available parking. When contacted about this issue, City Council Member Lee Haydu, one of the Council Liaisons to TPAC, said “we are definitely listening to this valid concern of Beach Colony and Stratford residents and still have plenty of time to make adjustments for areas with special issues.”

Some residents have also expressed confusion about how TPAC’s recommendations for neighborhood parking solutions will fit with the proposed Specific Plan’s “Park Once” strategy. The plans, one designed to address neighborhood issues and the other to address downtown parking, are meant to complement one another, and the Sandpiper will be following up as the details of both plans emerge.

Residents who would like to weigh in on this issue are encouraged to attend the Del Mar Planning Commission meeting at 240 10th St. at 6PM on April 10th or to contact a member of the Planning Commission with their concerns.


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