I attended Laguna’s meeting about the village entrance on Monday.
I am rather disheartened by some of the responses I heard from John Pietig. I asked Mr. Pietig if there had been any market research done on the proposed garage to substantiate the contention that I have been hearing from certain members of the Chamber of Commerce that the proposed village entrance parking garage would benefit the downtown merchants year-round. Astonishingly, Mr. Pietig answered there had not been any such market research done. This is most troubling.
As a 30-year marketing professional I know that market research is the first essential tool used before any marketing or business endeavor. Not having marketing research is analogous to a real estate developer beginning construction without an architect. What I find amazing in all of this is that Chamber members who present themselves as businesspeople should now find themselves strangers to basic principles of market research before commencing business campaigns. They certainly don’t need to be taught the principles of real estate development.
When it comes to this parking garage a lot of assumptions are being made at our expense. Some of the business community would have us believe that because people like to park on the street in Laguna Beach, they would easily change behavior to park in a parking garage. But this is not apples for apples. Are they not aware that people often circle around the bottom level of parking garages before going up to the top level? Are they not aware that this is a common human behavior and it in itself is a cause of congestion? Just because the Chamber and or its members want us to believe what they are saying doesn’t make it so. That is why independent market research is so vital here.
The burden is on the Chamber and its members to provide the community with market research to substantiate their contention that a garage at Forest and Laguna Canyon would yield year-round use and would alleviate congestion. If no such information exists, then it is absolutely irresponsible to advance something so speculative as accepted fact. We need to see what they have in terms of research and if they cannot produce it, they need to back off on their claims or be held accountable to them.
Alan Boinus, Laguna Beach