Some Pacific Beach residents upset with pilot parking meter program proposal
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 02/03/21 - 08:00 AM | 3557 views | 4 4 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Now that a year-long pilot parking meter program on Garnet Avenue is in the City’s hands, opponents are calling for final action on the proposal to be postponed arguing the public hasn’t had proper time to weigh-in on it.

At their December meeting, Pacific Beach Parking Advisory Board voted to forward their proposal to District 2 Councilmember Jennifer Campbell’s office. The proposal would put 321 high-tech metered, two-hour-or-less-time-limited parking spaces on Garnet Avenue. The pilot plan would be limited to the densest part of Garnet’s commercial district.

“There is no timeline yet,” said Joshua Coyne, Campbell’s director of policy, on when PB’s parking meter proposal will be heard by the City Council. “The Parking Advisory Committee needs to vote on a budget, and it will go to City staff for review. We think it will need to go back to the committee one more time, and then eventually to City Council.”

Paid parking, meters, in particular, have been a hot-button issue in PB for years.

“There are many people in Pacific Beach who oppose parking meters and have good reasons,” contends Gordon Froehlich, a PB Parking Advisory Board member representing residents and a dissenting voice on the board. “The parking committee meetings and membership are dominated by representatives from Pacific Beach nonprofits. They control everything and allow little if any, input from anyone who is not a nonprofit representative.”

Paid parking proponents and supporters of the proposed year-long metered PB pilot study maintain paid parking is a management solution and tool that will help solve traffic problems. They say it will provide a continuing revenue stream for Pacific Beach that stays in the community. They argue benefits of paid metered parking include reinvesting PB parking revenues to fund community-improvement projects, increasing turnover for prime parking, increasing space availability, reducing traffic congestion, and enhancing pedestrian safety.

“This is not about parking. This is about money,” said Warren Barrett. “There is a small group of people who have been trying to enact paid parking in PB for almost 20 years. Now they are trying to sneak this through during a pandemic when people are not paying attention. The Parking Advisory Board is telling the City Council that they have the support of the community.” Barrett does not believe that to be the truth.

“I don't see the benefit of this proposal and lots of reasons to oppose it,” said Dieter Wirtzfeld. “It will clog up parking/traffic on Garnet and just make congestion on adjacent streets.”

“I am opposed to placing parking meters on Garnet and surrounding streets,” said Stephen A. Luskin. “This is a bad idea, and the fallout from folks trying to save a couple of dollars on parking will impact the residents that live nearby, pay taxes, and attempt to keep the neighborhood clean.”

“I don’t think this was given a lot of thought,” said Derrick Williams. “It doesn’t seem like they had residents’ best interests in mind when this idea came about.”  

Supporters of the metered parking pilot program point out that every Pacific Beach community group that has voted on the proposal has voted in favor of it. The parking pilot program has been supported by PB Planning Group (9-3 vote on Nov. 11, 2020), beautifulPB (unanimous), Discover PB's board of directors (one vote against), and PB Town Council, which also voted unanimously in favor of the proposal.

“I have been a resident of Pacific Beach for 26 years and strongly oppose parking meters,” said Irith Abada. “Discover PB has been trying for years to get the meters installed and received strong feedback from residents and businesses opposing it several times. Now they are doing it during a pandemic and all residents I have asked strongly oppose it and did not know they are manipulating a way to rush this for approval by the City Council.” 

The Community Parking District was established in Pacific Beach by the City Council in June 2005. It was charged with addressing ongoing traffic concerns and identifying issues with PB parking inventory and access, especially during weekends and prime business hours on Garnet, the center of the community’s business district.

The Parking Advisory Board overseeing the parking district is drawn from PB Planning Group, PB Town Council, Discover PB, beautifulPB, and at-large neighborhood delegates.

The next meeting of the Pacific Beach Parking Advisory Board will take place at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 9 on Zoom.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88534144691? pwd=NHBNSlNBMVhHb0pXa1ZRalRycjFHZz09

Comments
(4)
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Jbettles
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February 21, 2021
Hello! I’m on the Parking District Committee and first would welcome all interested residents to attend our meetings and consider joining. I thought I would share some more information to clarify a few points in the article. 1) no committee is an employee of a non-profit other than Sunny Lee who is the president of Discover PB, although many of us are volunteers in other local non-profits working onto improve the community. 2) the committee has not made the decision to limit spaces to two hours (but you can help us make that decision ), this may be in reference to the fact that the metered spaces will only be in current 2-hour spots. 3) meetings have been open to the public and have been noticed in the Beach and Bay Press and we collect all community feedback. Personally I have been involved for two years but the effort goes back much longer. I have not heard or seen any attempt to rush the proposal. Finally, as for the fears that it will create congestion and other problems in the surrounding streets, I think that is the good thing about doing a one year pilot, we can gather information and make a decision as a community whether or not to move forward. It is a big new thing and that will always create concern, much of which is valid and can be addressed in the design and budgeting of revenue. It is PBs parking district, and we call the shots! Thanks for the coverage Dave!
Henish Pulickal
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February 16, 2021
https://www.vox.com/2014/6/27/5849280/why-free-parking-is-bad-for-everyone
Frank J
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February 04, 2021
Don't over look the fact that PB also stands for Pig Beach. If 40% of the revenue comes back to 92109 it is worth it.Nine months of the year all streets are bumper to bumper with parked cars anyway. That won't change. It won't be the visitors looking to save a $, it will be employees forced to park and walk to work. Or bike, walk,& scooter from home.2 hour parking may discourage long term drinking. I would like to see clean & repaired sidewalks, greenery, a reason for businesses other than tattoo parlors, smoke shops, and nail parlors to thrive. Garbage cans that look good & work. The present formula does not work. Improvements cost money.
Steve Luskin
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February 03, 2021
Good article Dave. I have lived here for 38 years and I ran a business in PB for 30 years. The parking meters are going to ruin the side streets--watch
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