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Changes Could Come to Preferential Parking Rules

Phil Brock For Council 2014

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Michael Feinstein for Santa Monica City Council 2014Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors BureauWhen one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

August 21, 2014 -- While many residents say the City’s preferential parking policy is essential to secure a space for their vehicles, several complaints have been made about the program that has seen few adjustments since it was created in 1980.

City officials will attempt to tackle some of the preferential parking issues at the Tuesday council meeting.

Since the council approved the preferential parking program nearly 35 years ago, it has grown to cover the majority of Santa Monica’s residential streets, according to a report written by Planning and Community Development Director David Martin.

Thousands of residents and 20 business employees are able to park within their zones at any time. In many of the zones, no vehicles without a visible permit can be parked on the street. Other zones allow parking without a permit for up to two hours.

“Overall, preferential parking regulations are valued by residents,” Martin wrote. “For the most part, the regulations make it easier for residents to park near their homes and the process works well once regulations are in place.”

He continued, “For visitors unfamiliar with parking in an urbanized area, preferential parking regulations can be a source of frustration. Similarly, the business community asserts that overly restrictive and confusing regulations hamper the ability to maintain businesses and avoid citations.”

Martin listed some of the major complaints about the program, and has asked council members to prioritize them. Among the complaints Martin wrote would require significant community outreach to address because “they would affect many permit holders in various neighborhoods and require [the] council to amend the Municipal Code” are:

-Regulations can vary from block to block, creating confusion.

-Preferential parking near schools impacts staff and volunteers; can interfere with pick-up and drop-off

-Non-residential uses such as religious worship and nursing homes are located on residential blocks, creating problems for employees and visitors

-Business employees and customers are often frustrated to see blocks of nearby preferential parking with few vehicles

Martin listed several other problems that could be addressed through a less-significant process. They include:

-Regulations stating no parking from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. are confusing

-One-day guest permits must be printed 24 hours in advance, making “spontaneous gatherings” difficult.

-Some residents have caretakers, nurses and other types of multiple visitors; this forces the residents to exceed the allowable number of visitor permits

-People remove chalk marks on their tires or move their vehicles a short distance to avoid violating time limit-restricted zones

-Residents on blocks without preferential parking are frustrated that people with permits for other zones are allowed to park on their street, while they are not allowed to park in the permitted area even if it is nearby.

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