By Gene Felder
The City’s Parking, Traffic, and Circulation Committee will meet on April 22 to discuss a proposal by the Top of the World Neighborhood Association (TOWNA):
- Have marked parking spaces on north end of Alta Laguna Boulevard
- Have marked parking spaces throughout Canyon Pointe streets, Park Place, and Tyrol Drive
- Have paid parking in Alta Laguna Park parking lot, north end of Alta Laguna Blvd., Canyon Pointe streets, Park Place, and Tyrol Drive
- Have sensors installed and add pay-by-app parking
- Free parking for those having Laguna Beach Shoppers Permit
- Make no parking on north end of Alta Laguna Blvd. after sunset both sides to Park Avenue
This will not stop the hordes of visitors who due to social media and COVID-19 restrictions have inundated the Top of the World (TOW) neighborhood particularly at the Alta Laguna Park and the nearby entrance to the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. Particularly on Saturdays and Sundays, visitors come and park. If the proposal is adopted, they will pay to park providing additional income to the City of Laguna Beach.
I have heard no feasible solutions to stop the visitors from coming, but one of the allures via social media is that there is free parking here. TOW taxpayers already pay plenty of taxes deserving of police and fire protection, but if the visitors pay to park significant additional revenues can be provided to the City.
To deter visitors hanging around into the evening, all parking on Alta Laguna Boulevard after sunset should be prohibited on weekend nights.
There’s no need for lots of poles and meters. The City can install a sensor identifying each parking space. There may be pay stations, but importantly people will be able to pay just by the parking app using a smart phone. The collection of the funds paid via the app is more efficient.
Day-trippers typically pay no taxes. One estimate is that this would produce an additional net income to the City of $150,000 per year. The Parking Fund revenue should be used to increase police resources and presence. With smoking, fire is a concern and parking revenue could be used to increase fire department resources. The Parking Fund is discretionary allowing the City Council to spend for any purpose, and in the past, this has included police and fire department positions, transit, open space, etc. Laguna Beach residents should expect that the Parking Fund be used to protect the quality of life of Laguna Beach residents and to mitigate problems caused by visitors.
The paid parking system design should minimize posts and signage, being as aesthetic as possible. We do not want individual meters or poles or pay stations that would interfere with sidewalk movement. Ideally, the City would initiate a pilot Pay-By-App only program. The City’s parking app is much better than last year; under settings, one can choose to “Save Bay Location Automatically”.
Visitors already park on adjacent neighborhood residential streets, but now park for free. If this proposal is recommended by the PTC and adopted by the City Council, the visitors will then pay for parking. It may actually deter a few of the visitors from coming, but, of course, it may cause some to park further into the neighborhood to find free parking. Please voice your opinion at the PTC meeting via Zoom or by emailing [email protected] ahead of time.
Gene is president of the Top of the World Neighborhood Association.View Our User Comment Policy