Here we go again. The city council is looking for parking spaces. Geez, it feels like I’m a little kid again strapped into my childproof backseat with no control over where my parents take me. I remember this ride. It usually ends up at a fabric store, dry cleaners or dentist office. Yuck. That’s when I made my first grownup decision. I never wanted to be car jacked. I wanted the driver’s seat. I believe many Lagunans feel the same way. So let’s put the city council in the childproof backseats and day trip them to remote Mojave Desert parking lot F in Barstow. Water will be provided. We’re not savages here, in spite of what Oliver Stone wants the cinematic world to believe.
It was difficult to read the Indy article, “City Ramps Up Exploration of Public Parking” while circling downtown looking for a parking space. Don’t be mad at me readers. I wasn’t texting and driving. I was reading and going nowhere. This going nowhere is the reason that Laguna Beach does not have a minimum driving speed like other cities. I overheard a recent traffic exchange. “This is the police. Pull over.” Driver yells back, “I can’t pull over. I’m stuck in traffic.” Police responds, “You’ve been in Laguna’s only roundabout for three hours now. The neighbors have complained. This is your final warning. Pick a street out of the roundabout and move on.” Driver pleads his case. “My wife and kids aren’t back from the beach yet.”
To assure a recent city meeting began on time, council members’ cars were valeted to Dana Point near their village entrance, a municipal wonder Lagunans aspire to build one day. Staff presented eight potential sites on public and private property that could add up to 1,415 parking spaces in new or expanded parking structures and cost $100 million dollars or more. Each space would cost $87,000. Residents balked at the price. Emotions ran high and order wasn’t restored until one wise resident pointed out that the $87,000 price tag seemed high, but the amount of quarters to get there was astronomical. The wise resident explained, “That’s a lot of quarters to lug around. It would require 6 million Laguna day-trippers to roll and bag 348,000 quarters to park in Laguna. Today’s modern families do not have the car suspension or car space for that many quarters and all the beach toys, too.”
To pare back the price tag, council members whittled the site selection down to one parking structure candidate. The most viable location appeared to be Art-A-Fair on Laguna Canyon Road. The city owns the parcel next door. It would cost $20 to $25 million dollars and add three levels of parking for up to 330 cars. The selection was received with mixed reviews. Proponents believed it would keep cars out of the downtown area. Opponents disliked the idea of closing one of the three art venues in town. Rumbling continued between both sides. Valet drivers added to the fervor by shouting to council members it was time to take them back to Dana Point for their cars. Luckily, the one wise attending resident suggested that the Art-A-Fair structure remain outside the three-car parking structure. The name would only have to be changed to Art-A-Fare. Inside walls would be publicly commissioned for festival murals.
The meeting ended on a unanimous yes.
Crantz tells the Indy that he believes parking lot structures are like snowflakes. No two parking structures are alike. Getting in and out is never the same from one to the next. And yes, Crantz was the wise attendee who came up with the solutions.