Parking management plan drives forward in Del Mar

Parking management plan drives forward in Del Mar
In a report presented at the Feb. 2 meeting, Councilmen Terry Sinnott and Dwight Worden outlined the goals and measures of success for a parking management plan. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

DEL MAR — Councilmen Terry Sinnott and Dwight Worden, tasked at the Jan. 5 meeting to bring back within 30 days an analysis of the parking user groups, presented their summary at the Feb. 2 meeting.

Last month city staff provided a draft downtown parking management plan. Council members deemed the 85-page report a bit overwhelming and created the ad hoc committee of Sinnott and Worden to help guide implementation.

The goal is to organize the information in the report so it can be presented in a manageable way to the city’s advisory committees.

Worden said the first step is to identify the goals, which are included in the report he and Sinnott created.

In defining overall success, the councilmen noted Del Mar would have a citywide, integrated parking management plan that would allow residents and their guests to park near their homes.

Business customers and recreational users such as beachgoers will be accommodated, as would destination visitors going to places such as the library without “poaching” on residential or business parking.

The costs would be shared in a fair proportion between businesses, residents, visitors and the city.

“I was troubled by this concept that the residents should pay an equal amount,” Councilwoman Sherry Parks said. “My belief is that a resident sort of is entitled to parking in some place.”

Worden noted the goal is to pay in fair proportion. “Maybe the residents’ fair share is zero,” he said.

To accommodate business parking goals, the ad hoc report noted that business customers would have convenient parking options and a shuttle service would be available.

A target maximum walking distance from parking to shopping should be established. Parking occupancy should not exceed 85 percent. Programs would be tailored to the neighborhood and time of year.

As for residents and their guests, they should be able to park within a specific distance from their homes, although a number was not identified in the report.

Realistic goals for accommodating resident and guest parking will be set by each neighborhood. To keep on-street employee parking out of residential areas — currently on ongoing issue — a specified number of workers will be required to park in designated employee lots.

On-street parking for residents would not be time-limited, but it could be for their guests. Permit parking programs will only be considered if there is a benefit to residents.

Estimates for major visitor destination users other than the beach will be prepared to accommodate their needs. These destinations include the Shores property, City Hall, the post office and library, Powerhouse Park and Community Center and Seagrove Park, to name a few.

Beach parking will be addressed so beachgoers have a variety of options that include parking, transit and shuttles. A specific percentage of residential and commercial parking that could be used by beachgoers will be established.

A certain percentage of estimated employee parking needs that will be accommodated in the areas generating the employment must also be set. Workers will be discouraged from parking in residential and visitor areas by a variety of yet-to-be named strategies.

Worden said the next step, which will be a bit more difficult, is to create a spreadsheet or graph that shows where the city is now in terms of parking, where it wants to be and incentives and disincentives that can be used to get from one to the other.

After that, specific questions that will be presented to the city’s advisory committees will be created.

“We can’t just go to any committee and ask them what the solution is to the parking problem,” Sinnott said. “We’re going to try to do a little bit more structured facilitation.”

“I think this is a good first start,” Councilman Don Mosier said. “Historically the committees have not been able to deal with this so I think you’re going to have to ask some very specific questions … and the council is going to have to distill that and take action.”

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