Letter: Proposed Parking Structure

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If we build the proposed parking garage, residents will view it as a costly white elephant. Why? Because it will not be used in a way that meets the stated goal of its supporters; which is to benefit the residents of Laguna by reducing visitor parking in beach neighborhoods and downtown.

The parking structure (paid for by the City) will benefit the art festivals and the Pageant of the Masters; but it will not cure the village parking problem or neighborhood issues caused by visitor parking.

Imagine a family entering Laguna to spend the day enjoying our village and beaches. The garage will not be their first choice for parking. They will see if they can find a place closer to the beach or in downtown. Earlier arrivals will find parking on neighborhood streets and in downtown until all such spaces are occupied. Later arrivals will not find a space so they will opt to use the garage. So the garage will serve the overflow from the usual parking areas.

Issues due to visitor parking will be the same after the parking structure is constructed as they are now. The parking structure will only benefit visitors and residents who arrive too late to get the “good spots”.

Another point to consider is that the easier it is to park the more the people will come. The number of people visiting Laguna will increase until the limits of parking are reached.

The shortage of downtown parking for residents and the negative impact of visitor parking upon our neighborhood streets are important issues; but the parking garage will not mitigate them. Perhaps, given the attractions of Laguna, and the growth of the inland population, there is no feasible solution.

We have lived with the parking problem for many, many years. The benefit of living here outweighs the burden of parking insecurity, and reduces the pain of neighborhood congestion. As a resident, you learn how to cope. It is what it is.

Norman Powell, Laguna Beach

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