File photo

File photo

With the City Council’s recent approval of parking restrictions for 36 more mid-Wilshire/Montana (Wilmont) neighborhood blocks, parking for residents may actually become even more difficult.

I’ll have to hand it to City Hall. Officials and politicians alike realize that lack of neighborhood parking is a huge quality of life issue. The frustration of finding a place to park even in the off hours such as evenings and weekends has many folks stressed out and angry. How well City Hall deals with the problem is up for debate.

The blocks affected (maybe I should say “infected”) include Lincoln Boulevard and Ninth through 14th streets between Idaho and California avenues. Additional blocks include 15th, 16th and 17th streets between Idaho and Washington avenues and 18th and 19th streets between Montana and Washington avenues. Montana and Idaho avenues between 17th and 20th streets and Washington Avenue between Lincoln and 17th are also included in the new zone.

Restrictions for new permit parking blocks will call for “two-hour parking 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily with no parking 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily, except by permit” on some streets. Other streets will have “two-hour parking 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, except by permit.”

The above mentioned blocks were analyzed by City Hall’s transportation staff. The parking restrictions they devised to ease the parking crunch were approved by the City Council in March. At least two-thirds of the residents (one per dwelling unit) on each of these blocks must petition City Hall’s Transportation Management Division to have parking restrictions implemented on their block.

A few blocks in mid-Wilmont such as the 900, 1200 and 1300 blocks of Idaho and 800 blocks of 11th through 14th streets and 16th Street (between Montana and Idaho) have had zone restrictions for years. They limit non-permit holders to a maximum of two hours parking from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, Monday through Saturday. There are no evening or Sunday restrictions.

Residents of the 1000 block of 14th Street (between California and Washington) recently submitted their petition. It’s a block impacted by John Adams Middle School on the east side of the street and persons who work on Wilshire Boulevard a block south. This block, as well as blocks of residential streets immediately north of Wilshire from roughly Euclid to 18th Street, are also impacted by Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center employees and visitors. Implementing a “permit required” zone in the evening makes sense for these blocks.

I think it’s overkill to require a permit to park between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. in most of the newly “pre-approved” blocks in the mid-Wilmont neighborhood. For example, residents on the 900 block of Euclid (between Washington and Idaho) have submitted their petition and are waiting for the implementation of parking restrictions that will include needing a permit to park at all between 6 p.m. and 2. a.m., daily.

The 900 block of Euclid is six blocks from the nearest hospital. Sixteen blocks between Washington and Idaho qualified for 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. “permit only” requirements. They’re two blocks north of Wilshire and one block south of Montana and neither street has much night activity. So what’s the point? There is none.

Vehicles parking in the 50 street spaces on Euclid’s 900 block belong to the block’s residents as well as to neighbors residing on nearby residential blocks. I don’t see any hospital and little Montana Avenue parking there with maybe the exception of the Aero Theatre a block and a half away when a few movie-goers may park for a few hours two or three evenings a week

When restrictions are implemented in a few weeks, it’ll be fun to watch how the parking dynamic changes. Neighbors within two blocks with valid zone permits will still be able to park in new zones even if the restrictions are different.

Unfortunately, if the new changes exacerbate neighborhood parking problems, they will be nearly impossible to fix.

There’s not enough street parking for residents in many of the city’s neighborhoods. Many tenants use their garages for storage. This means more cars park on the streets. Some landlords are now leasing their on-site tenant parking garages for up to $225/month. In my mid-Wilmont neighborhood, some apartment garages are rented to outsiders such as Montana Avenue shopkeepers who use them to warehouse inventory.

Multiple occupants in even single and one bedroom apartments each have their own vehicles. This contributes to high street parking demand. And, a few residents have more than one vehicle; one for work, another for the weekends.

I’m willing to bet that three fourths of Santa Monica’s streets now have some sort of parking restrictions — and almost all of the Wilmont area. Unfortunately, all the restrictions and “fixes” haven’t improved the parking situation for most of us, yet.

Instead we get a crazy network of permit parking zones and confusing regulations. The latest scheme: parking meters on residential blocks adjacent to major commercial thoroughfares.

While city officials seem to think that meters will discourage shoppers from parking in residential neighborhoods, it’ll drive them deeper into neighborhoods where there are no meters. Let’s call this turkey what it really is: an attempt by City Hall’s finance department to scam more money from residents.

In light of all this, any thoughts of decoupling parking from housing in new construction or reducing parking requirements in future residential and commercial development is also a really bad idea fostered by dreamers and ignoramuses.

 

 

 

Bill can be reached at mr.bilbau@gmail.com.