I have envisioned how my street (Catalina) would be different with the pay-for-use parking spaces proposed by Jim Danziger for all streets within six blocks of the beach. There would be lots of white paint from marking and numbering the spaces. There would be pay kiosks and additional signage. My street is already full of parked cars, every day, mostly from restaurant workers and some tourists. So, the net result of paid parking would be aesthetic degradation of the neighborhood. It would make our residential street look more like Glenneyre. I think that’s too high a price to pay.
I like the idea of congestion pricing as a way to charge tourists their fair share of city expenses. Congestion pricing is a fee levied on a vehicle when it enters a particular area. With its three points of access, Laguna is an easy area to define. Pricing could use the Toll Road transponders. Laguna residents could be exempted electronically. Commuting workers and regular delivery trucks could receive a discounted rate. The city would get a predictable revenue stream. There would have to be negotiations with Caltrans, the Toll Roads and the Coastal Commission, but the city is no stranger to these. Congestion pricing is currently used to diminish traffic in many cities around the world and is currently being studied in Santa Monica. It encourages alternative modes of transport such as shuttles, bikes and walking.
Like Danziger, John Thomas, and columnist J.J. Gasparotti who have written in the Indy on this issue, I think we must do something to correct the imbalance of resident versus tourist costs to the city. But further degradation of our residential neighborhoods, already packed with parked cars, is not the answer. The introduction of iPhone Frogparking, which could lead to the removal of parking meters from our skinny sidewalks, would also enhance the walkability and aesthetics of our city.
Chris Reed, Laguna Beach