My name is John Petz. I have spent many years as an active community member working on a wide range of local issues and I love Santa Monica.
I am writing because I went to the Planning Commission meeting Wednesday night and was stunned by what I heard. Never, in all my 23 years of living in Santa Monica, have I ever heard such a radical presentation. The consultant, Jeff Tumlin, laid out a plan to transform Santa Monica into a community where people will no longer be able to drive because they will no longer be able to park (“Imagine Santa Monica with even less parking,” Feb. 1).
Taking parking privileges away from renters. It’s in the proposal. Eliminating parking spaces on Montana Avenue, Santa Monica and Pico boulevards, etc. It’s in there. Allowing developers to build without providing adequate parking. It’s in there and big time. It’s even highlighted as a way to inspire more development by lowering the cost of building.
It was stunning. If a friend had not mentioned the meeting to me, I would have had no idea that the city is in the process of moving in such a radical direction. Every speaker who spoke (15 of them) opposed the recommendations, but most of Santa Monica (like me a day ago) have no idea this is going on.
I hope you will follow this story closely and give it the front page coverage it deserves. “City considering taking away renters’ parking spaces” would be a bold and truthful headline — (they call it “uncoupling” the parking spaces from the unit, but the goal is to remove parking as an amenity and drive the price up so the cost of parking a car is so prohibitive people will choose not to own one).
This kind of “social engineering” is something City Hall staff tried a decade ago when they teamed up with the school district and created a new CREST “child care model” that included kicking children off school yard playgrounds then charging them $100 a month to play one hour a day after school so the kids would be “more supervised.” The program was designed and implemented without most parents having any idea their kids were losing the playgrounds. In the end, the community prevailed and the program was altered. But it took a year of dedicated effort on the part of community volunteers to get the city to reverse course.
It is my sincere hope that that does not happen here. I ask that you please inform your readers of the radical parking changes being considered, changes which will dramatically alter the quality of life in Santa Monica. It seems to me to be a worthy story, one with national implications.