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    Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal Agendizes Three-Item Package To Deal With 2nd District Parking Shortage

    (July 29, 2006) -- In a package of three agendized items for the August 1 City Council meeting, recently-elected 2nd district City Councilmember Suja Lowenthal is proposing to:

    • (1) Ask city management to research and return with options for creating a "Second District Parking Advisory Commission" (details below)

    • (2) Direct city management to negotiate for expansion of a joint-use agreement with the LB Unified School District to include the use of school parking lots for permitted residential use (details below)

    • (3) Direct city management to conduct a business & property parking survey for opportunities to enter into cooperative parking agreements that would let residents utilize unused business and other properties for overnight parking and ask the City Attorney to negotiate cooperative agreements with businesses and property owners identified as likely candidates (details below).

    The items confront an issue that arose repeatedly in candidate forums for the 2nd district Council seat vacated earlier this year by Councilman Dan Baker.

    In her agendizing memo seeking creation of a "2nd District Parking Advisory Commission," Councilwoman Lowenthal writes:

    There is a severe shortage of parking spaces in Second Council district neighborhoods such as Alamitos Beach, Bluff Heights, Hellman and Rose Park. It is not unusual for residents coming home from work to circle their block and outlying streets for nearly an hour looking for a single parking space. Young women, the elderly and residents returning from a long day of work are forced to walk home several blocks each night after parking their car. Many simply give up looking for a space and choose instead to park in red zones. As a result, a number of residents have confided in our office that they end up paying an average of $120 each month in tickets.

    Several factors contribute to the shortage of spaces 'including remnants of cracker-box housing that was developed decades ago, growth in two-vehicle households, increase in multi-family units without adequate parking onsite, illegally converted garages and split rooms. The prior council member and city staff addressed the shortage primarily through reducing red curb space and diagonal parking on wide side streets. These solutions have nearly run their course in being implemented, but the problem remains in crisis mode. It is clear that the Second District parking problem will require a spectrum of solutions, both short and long term, to make any difference in the quality of life for residents.


    Direct the City Manager to research various options for structuring a Second District Parking Advisory Commission charged with assessing the current status of parking in the district as well as identifying potential short and long term solutions that may include, but are not limited to the following: 1) reduce red curb space, 2) diagonal parking of remaining wide streets, 3) street hash marks,' 4) increased code enforcement of converted garages and split rooms, 5 ) neighborhood parking permits, 6) revenue raising strategies such as parking meters, 7) converting Broadway and 3rd Avenues into one-way streets and creating diagonal parking, 8) cooperative agreements with businesses and other property owners with multiple space parking lots, 9) converting undeveloped or dilapidated property into mixed-use parking structures, 10) changing street sweeping times.

    Direct the City Manager to return to the City Council with recommendations for structuring and staffing a Second District Parking Commission and delineating steps to creating a Second District parking master plan within (60) days of this motion's passage.

    And return to the City Council with the following: 1) The commission should be advisory in nature and include representation from a broad spectrum of second district property owners and businesses, and 2) the commission will be charged with' providing recommendations for revenue raising parking strategies and the creation of a Second District parking master plan.

    In proposing expansion of a joint-use agreement between City Hall and LBUSD, Councilwoman Lowenthal (a former LBUSD Board president) writes:

    The "Coordinated Municipal and Schools Recreation Program" is an agreement between the City of Long Beach and Long Beach Unified School District, enabling joint-use of parks, school playgrounds and other facilities in support of children and neighborhoods.

    In light of the severe parking shortage in the Second District, school parking lots could provide much- needed overnight parking relief to residents in impacted communities. Negotiations between LBUSD and Parks and Recreation concerning joint-use of facilities are already occurring in anticipation of the agreement’s term on December 3 1,2006. Therefore, it is appropriate to engage LBUSD on the subject of using school parking lots for permitted residential use.


    Direct the City Manager to engage Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) in negotiations for permitted residential use of school parking lots to enable overnight parking. Emphasis should be placed on schools located in parking impacted communities.

    And in her memorandum proposing the 2nd district parking survey, Councilwoman Lowenthal states:

    With most businesses operating during the hours of 8:00 am and 6:00 pm, several privately owned parking lots or spaces in the Second District sit vacant overnight. An opportunity exists to use those lots and spaces for residential overnight parking and enable businesses to serve as even better neighbors to those who patronize their business during the day.


    Direct the City Manager to research methods used by other cities to leverage private property for open and permitted public parking and return to the City Council in (60) days with recommendations for the City of Long Beach

    Direct the City Manager to survey businesses and other properties in the 2"d Council District for opportunities to enter into cooperative parking agreements allowing residents to utilize unused lots for overnight parking.

    Request the City Attorney negotiate cooperative agreements with those businesses and property owners identified as likely candidates.

    In a release, 2nd district Councilwoman Lowenthal said:

    "The Second District’s parking problems were decades in the making, and the parking crisis has impacted our quality of life at its core...This comprehensive Parking Relief Package brings all Second District stakeholders to the table. We’re initiating a coordinated response to a complex problem. We’re bringing all possible solutions to the table and we’re researching them fairly so that we can enact legitimate long-term and short-term solutions."

    In the release, Councilwoman Lowenthal encouraged Second district residents to attend the August 1 Council meeting and speak about the agendized items and their own parking experiences in the district.

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