COLORADO AVE — Come April, expect some changes along the residential roads branching off the Colorado Avenue corridor.
City Hall plans to reconfigure parking along Colorado Avenue to make room for the Expo Light Rail Line by axing spaces on Colorado and creating angled spaces along six residential streets and one largely commercial road.
Over half of the 183 on-street spaces on Colorado Avenue will go, including all 69 spots on the south side of Colorado between Fifth and 14th streets and 12 additional spaces on the south side between 14th and 17th streets, according to a city staff report.
The Santa Monica Fire Department is also requiring that 33 spaces on the north side be cut to make sure that emergency vehicles have access to buildings.
That’s a total of 114 spaces taken from Colorado Avenue.
The angled spaces would create 49 new spots in front of residences along Ninth, 10th, 12th, Euclid, 15th and 16th streets, but would result in an overall net loss of 33 parking spots by commercial areas.
Each of the streets in question currently have parallel parking on both the east and west sides.
Under the new plan, that would change so that one side of the street would be filled in with spaces at 90 degree angles, narrowing the road but increasing the overall number of spaces.
The repainting, which would be done by Skanska/Rados Joint Venture, could begin at the end of March or early April.
The plan actually exceeds the number of spaces that need to be replaced that was identified in the rail line’s impact report, although that may be of scant comfort to commercial businesses in the area that already fight for parking.
Businesses are having a rough time finding parking in the area because the majority of streets require preferential parking permits only available to residents, said Mel Gragido, the executive producer at The Joneses production company on 15th Street.
The Joneses is one of the lucky firms that managed to snag a small lot with nine spaces. When things are slow, that’s plenty to accommodate the traffic at the 1501 15th St. building, but when projects are in full swing, The Joneses becomes a zoo.
Parking spaces are allotted by seniority, with clients receiving first dibs and so on down the line until employees are parking far away from their offices or feeding the eight hour meters on Colorado Avenue that might not be there after the light rail comes.
“They’ve got to deal with the parking situation, or it’ll drive out all the businesses,” Gragido said, referring to a number of big-name production companies and other entertainment groups that have found homes in the area.
Producing more parking in preferential zones won’t help, and, as it happens, five of the seven streets included in the plan already fall into that category. Seventh Street doesn’t have any homes on it, and 12th Street, which does, is prequalified for preferential parking.
That means staff has already identified the street as available for preferential parking considerations, and residents would only have to pass a petition to institute the policy.
Even residents who qualify for preferential parking — and have their own driveways — aren’t sure how they feel about the change.
Mark Francis, a resident of 15th Street, was surprised by the news that anything was changing at all, which lined up with the staff report noting a lack of input from businesses and residents despite outreach efforts.
Although City Hall held meetings and sent out ballots to 480 businesses and 476 residents, very few actually showed up to meetings or mailed in their opinions.
The change in parking might be “weird,” Francis said, but the arrival of Expo was worth the price.
“I’m stoked on the Expo line, so anything it takes to make that happen,” Francis said.