The Pacific Beach Planning Group is forming a new committee to address the constant parking headaches in Pacific Beach. Among the options the committee is expected to explore greater encouragement of walking, biking, skating or riding transit options. Committee members said all options are on the table, and could even include the use of parking meters.
A new committee being formed by Pacific Beach Planning Group (PBPG) to study parking issues is hosting its first organizational meeting Thursday, April 17 at 6 p.m. at Discover Pacific Beach, 1503 Garnet Ave.
The response to the parking committee’s formation has been so positive that the new group will be larger than expected, said Elvin Lai, president/CEO of Ocean Park Inn, Inc. at 710 Grand Ave., who is spearheading committee formation.
“There are a total of 16 members, including myself,” said Lai, who is also president of Discover PB, the community’s business improvement district (BID). “We’re going to hit the ground running.”
Formed in 1997, Discover PB is San Diego’s second largest BID, with 1,300 member businesses in Pacific and Mission beaches.
“We had a lot of great candidates willing to volunteer,” said Lai of parking committee formation, adding the effort under way in Pacific and Mission beaches to create an eco-district promoting greener and more sustainable development is “really energizing” local residents.
The new parking committee also includes Dan Mazzella of Discover PB; Chris Olson and Paul Falcone of PB Plan Group; Adam Meyer and Robert Citrano of PB Town Council; and residents-at-large Katie Matchett, Richard Walwood, Ambrose Wong, Devon Arnold, Paula Ferraco, John Shannon, Linda Tarke, Billy Ramirez, Gordon Frohlich and Greg Daunoras.
“One criterion for moving the beaches forward was parking management,” said Lai, noting, “PB has a parking district already formed.”
Lai said having a larger parking committee will be an advantage.
“We wanted to make sure everybody was heard,” he said, adding that a bigger group means there will be “enough feedback and know-all.
“The more people we have, the more opinions we’ll have, and the better sample size we can get,” Lai said, adding, “We’re always trying to find ways to better improve the business district in order to better serve the community.”
The April 17 meeting is expected to be largely an informal, get-acquainted session, Lai said.
“We’re going to discuss what the needs are in PB for parking and traffic management, figure out where we want to go,” he said. PB, he added, is likely to benefit from the experience of other California cities that have dealt with similar traffic management issues.
“We have a lot of history on how other people have solved their problems, how it’s been done before,” Lai said.
He noted that the “possibilities are endless” for what the parking committee can achieve.
“Everything is going to be on the table” in terms of subject matter to be dealt with by the committee, he said.
Olson joined the parking committee because he’s been involved in the issue since he chaired the PB Planning Group Parking Solutions forums in 1998.
“I’ve learned a few things over the years, so I think I can contribute from a historical perspective,” Olson said, adding, “The parking situation needs to get to a certain ‘pain threshold’ before people want to consider paid parking.”
Olson agrees with San Diego planning director Bill Fulton that “We need to look at this as a system of multiple components rather than a single solution. I strongly believe that anything we can do to get people out of their cars and walking, biking, skating or riding some type of transit is a big component for a parking management system.”
Mazzella said he volunteered to serve on the PB parking committee because there’s a need to develop a parking game plan.
“Currently, there is no real parking or traffic plan in effect to mitigate the effects of traffic during the peak seasons,” Mazzella said. “I volunteered to help formulate a parking and traffic plan that will enhance the PB experience for homeowners, businesses and visitors. That can be done by creating more predictable traffic and parking patterns and expectations. The solution is to develop a plan for traffic and parking to reduce the chaotic effects of an impacted PB.”