May 2012 home page

Parking Pushback
Nancy Fisher | 24th Street


Photo provided by Nancy Fisher


At the April 10th meeting of the Del Mar Planning Commission several residents, many from the North Beach area, expressed their opposition to the Traffic/Parking Advisory Committee’s (TPAC) “paid parking” proposal. Some, however, believe that these recommendations are one of the few ways that Del Mar residents and visitors can fairly share the costs of maintaining the beach for all of us.

Although TPAC presented their proposals as a way to keep traffic circulating and provide funds to help pay for the roughly $1M in beach-related services provided each year, many in attendance said it “feels like another tax to the residents,” and urged the city to look at different revenue-generating options. Others worried about the inconvenience of having their guests and children pay to park, or about the aesthetics of having parking meters or pay-and-display machines near their homes.

Residents opposed to paid parking felt that the program would unfairly target and impact those living near the beach by requiring them to purchase annual parking permits, while those in favor pointed out that residents who could park in front of their own homes free (on the hill, for example) would not be able to park in the beach community unless they purchased a permit or chose to pay-and-display. So, ultimately, everyone using the beach would contribute.

Most residents agreed, however, that parking congestion is at least a seasonal problem in the beach area, and some offered solutions from other beach cities. At least two cities in the L.A. area, for example, allow neighbors to decide if they want paid parking and then ask the city for it. This provides relief to the most impacted areas without placing a burden on nearby neighborhoods. Public parking lots were also suggested, including looking into the purchase of the “King” lot as a site for a parking structure.

After listening to the concerns of the residents, and with assurances that the plan would not go forward without a great deal of community participation, TPAC’s recommendations were forwarded by the Planning Commission to the City Council to be looked at more comprehensively along with parking plans being developed for the business district and for the proposed Village Specific Plan.
In closing the discussion, Planning Commissioner Robin Nordhoff called for North Beach residents to organize an effort to find a solution that works for all.


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