Parking, or a lack thereof, should not impede construction of a field at the Civic Center site according to a new study.

Plans to build a field in the Civic parking lot require approval from the Coastal Commission and the City Hall said the study had been required by the Commission as a condition for hearing the application. Walker consultants released their report this week concluding there are ample options for parking and/or alternate transit in the immediate area.

“Walker’s analysis of the transportation options serving the Civic Center and broader Study Area, including the current and future supply of parking, demonstrates sufficient parking and transportation resources within a reasonable walking distance of the Civic Center to provide adequate access to the site and the broader area for employees, visitors, including coastal visitors, and other members of the public,” said the report. “Our analysis also shows a path for meeting the access needs of the Civic Auditorium in the future, and includes suggestions to facilitate all mobility options to maximize accessibility to the Auditorium.”

According to the report, there are currently 740 spaces available at the site as construction of the Early Childhood Lab School has already removed 230 spaces from the lot. The field will require removal of 644 spaces. With other construction concerns and restriping of the available land, the Civic Center surface lot will be expected to have 75 – 85 spaces once construction of the field is complete.

The report says transportation options will continue to increase but said for the purposes of the analysis, no reduction in parking demand was assumed by increased use of alternate transit in the area. However the report also recommends establishing a “mobility hub” that would allow companies like Lyft or Uber to use the space while creating space for future innovations.

“The recent growth trends in ride-hailing services (e.g., Uber, Lyft) and new mobility services (e.g., Breeze Bike Share, Waive Car, ZipCar), and automated vehicles in the not too distant future, open the possibility to rethink how visitors will access the Civic Center area,” said the report. “This presents an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a different mobility strategy that promotes smarter and integrated transportation choices for the public.”

To offset the reduced number of spaces, the report said some of the monthly parking permits issued for the Civic lot should be transferred to one of the five public lots that are within walking distance from the Civic. The report said employees that park in the area on a daily basis are going to be more familiar with the City and therefore better able to navigate the short walk to their destination. About 288 monthly parkers could be moved to other locations on a weekday. Short-term visitors could still use the Civic lot for their temporary business. Weekend parking is not likely to require alterations as the number of users is far less.

Staff said the report will be sent to the Coastal Commission as part of the application for the field and the timeline for the project remains on track with submittal to the commission by August 15 of this year.

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...