Letters to the Editor

Side-by-side cycling

Self serving versus self preservation conduct.  There is no written law requiring single-file bike riding in groups.  Maybe there should be, since the self-serving urge to communicate side-by-side with one’s fellow riders, often puts the riders at risk and at same time causes the “car-cyclist separation requirement” to be violated by passing vehicles and their drivers.  I note that it’s happening with greater frequency too.

Cyclists, do you want to get the respect of vehicle drivers?  Then ride with a better sense of road courtesy.  If lines are painted for a bike lane, try to stay at least a foot inside the lane, not ride on the line.  We vehicle drivers gave up that valuable real estate to make bike riders safer.  Now many bike riders are taking full advantage of the lane and then some.

Why do they do it?  Two riders abreast is often the cause.   For solo riders, there might be a pavement smoothness factor.   Whatever it is, it irks us vehicle drivers a lot.  We know passing a slower bike is a legit reason.   Doing it without any other reason, just tells us that you cyclists become different persons from the time you leave your car and snap your shoes into those pedal pegs.

G. Lance Johannsen,



Halt In-Lieu parking program

Del Mar should immediately halt the In-Lieu Parking Program.  It was ill conceived and harms the community.

The program was created by the City Council to enable commercial properties to expand without having to provide the required onsite parking.

It allows property owners to pay a fee for each additional required space that cannot be provided onsite.

This fee is supposed to go towards building a downtown parking structure where those additional cars could theoretically park.

The first problem is the parking structure does not exist and may never exist.

As a result, these cars will be parking in the surrounding residential neighborhoods, increasing traffic and noise, and taking spaces away from the residents.

So far, the Planning Department has approved 18 In-Lieu spaces, and can issue a total of 50.

That’s a lot of additional cars looking for parking in a city that already has a big shortage of spaces.

The second problem is the program does not allow for input from the community and decisions can only be appealed to the City Council on narrow, technical grounds.

There is a substantial fee for filing an appeal and the City Council must vote to hear it, which they rarely do.

It is unconscionable that the City Council decided to silence the community.

Del Mar has a rich tradition of community involvement in decision making, especially when it comes to planning issues.

But in this instance the Planning Department and City Council don’t care what we think.

The third problem is the fee is too low.

The fee for each space was set at $30,000, which is the current cost to build a space in a parking structure.

But the City Council allowed property owners to pay this over 30 years at $1,000 per year.

This is an interest free loan to the property owner and shortchanges our city.

Thirty years of payments is worth less than $20,000 today and falls well short of what is needed to build a space in a parking structure.

The City Council needs to take a second look at the In-Lieu Program.

At a minimum, the process should be revised to allow for community input and the annual fee should be raised to cover the true costs of building a structure.

Mark Stuckelman,

Del Mar 


In lieu parking

Last week the Del Mar City Council voted not to hear my appeal of the planning director issuing 17 In-Lieu Parking Permits for $17,000/year, without providing 17 actual parking spaces.

They didn’t want to hear the appeal, which pointed out that the Director should have required the issuance of 10 more permits, for $10,000/year more, based on showing that the applicant had miscalculated the number required for Bull Tacos to open in that location, and spaces counted that were not permitted, per the California Supreme Court!

Why would they not want to hear the appeal?  As I’ve stated previously, it is because the Council wants the additional sales tax revenue from more restaurant/bars in downtown — even if their own laws are not followed.

All residents adjoining the downtown commercial area, please note— there are 24 more In-Lieu Parking Permits available that can be sold for additional restaurant/bars in the South end of town without providing 24 actual parking spaces!

This may be one area of the Community Plan that should be changed, or change the implementing regulations.  There seems to be a conflict!

Any questions, or support, email artiepek@prodigy.net.

Ralph Peck,

Del Mar



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