Our Laguna: Parking management meeting yields suggestions

July 26, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • Community members attend the Laguna downtown and canyon parking management plan workshop July 18.
Community members attend the Laguna downtown and canyon… (Courtesy Monica…)

If you have a pet peeve about parking Downtown or in Laguna Canyon, and who doesn't, city planners want to know about it. Better yet, contact them if you have ideas on how to make it better.

The city hired RBF Consulting to work with city planners and the public on a parking management plan and the first step is identifying the concerns of residents, business owners and visitors. A public workshop was held July 18 at the Third Street Community Center to kick off the project.

"This is not a new issue," said consultant Susan Harden. "People in Laguna have been talking about parking for a long, long, time."

"Parking is part of what makes a place attractive to business and visitors."

Not to mention folks who live here.

Parking management doesn't necessarily mean more parking spaces. It is a term used for strategies to make better use of existing parking. There is no simple solution to address all parking concerns, according to the consultants. The goal is to come up with solutions that will be accepted by the community, and that takes collaboration.


The city is in the process of equipping a "tool box" of options than can be implemented in the Downtown and Laguna Canyon Parking Management Area, which runs from Cliff Drive to Legion Street and from the ocean to Laguna College of Art & Design — the same area as the Downtown Specific Plan after it is extended to the college.

Folks at the July 18 workshop were given participant survey/feedback forms to complete. The first item was main concerns. The second was locations in the specified area where the participant would most like to see parking strategies considered and thirdly, a list of strategies, including other and none, from which participants could choose.

Design Review Board Task Force Chair Matt Lawson joked that a gate across Laguna Canyon Road would work.

"Do we really want to be more attractive to all those day-trippers?" Lawson asked. "They don't spend money; in fact they cost the city money."

Perhaps a neon sign: "Last parking until Dana Point" might make the point that parking in the Act V lot, Mission Hospital or Pavilions, which are terminals for trolleys and buses, beats circling clogged downtown streets looking for those elusive spaces and making it worse.

More seriously, Lawson suggested the city rent private parking spaces.

Among the strategies listed by the consultant:

*Shared parking — for instance spaces that are used by a business during the day that could be used by the public after hours.

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