Consultant proposes paid parking on Main

The city’s parking consultant argued in favor of having paid parking on Main Street at Monday’s council meeting.

City Council members took no action on the proposal.

Parking by the numbers

Julie Dixon, of Dixon Resources Unlimited, gave her presentation at the end of the Jan. 23 meeting.

As part of that presentation, Dixon showed the council a slide of Main Street Parking data from June 2021 to June 2022. For example, the slide showed that the 100 block lot reached 100% occupancy from 6 to 8 p.m. in June 2022. The 200 block reached 85.65% occupancy from 5 to 6 p.m. and 96.1% from 6 to 8 p.m.

Dixon said when you hit 85% occupancy, it basically means you are at capacity. Dixon said one of the conversations they’ve been having is to consider introducing paid parking to Main Street.

She acknowledged that the data was based on the presence of parklets. (Dixon didn’t say it, but the parklets are scheduled to go down Jan. 31 and many Main Street dining parklets have already been torn down.)

Dixon provided projections of potential paid parking revenue in the first year that she described as conservative. The revenue projections were, according to Dixon, based on different prices for an hour of parking: $1 an hour, $2 an hour, and $1 an hour with $3 an hour after two hours.

The projections ranged from $214,287 (at $1 an hour) in the first year to $612,972 (at $2 an hour) to $435,698 (at $1 an hour with $3 an hour after two hours).

Dixon also discussed parking fees charged by what she described as comparable cities, which included Hermosa Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, and Santa Monica. Huntington Beach, according to one of her slides, charges $1.25 an hour; Laguna Beach $2.75 to $4.95.

Dixon also discussed the possibility of a parking garage in Seal Beach. According to Dixon, Seal Beach would need to do preliminary soil and geology testing to determine whether a garage would be viable. Based on her company’s work with another city (which she did not name), Dixon put the cost at $64,000 per stall.

That figure did not include the land, according to Dixon.

Council reactions

In a Tuesday, Jan. 24, email, Councilman Moore argued against paid parking. “I know that revenue was a concern at the budget discussions, however I believe that charging for parking on Main street is the wrong place to look for revenue,” Moore wrote.

“There are many Seal Beach residents that go to Main street restaurants and shops because they do not have to worry about paying for parking. As the parking consultant admitted on Monday, the data that was presented was flawed because the parklets caused parking issues during the summer with less spots available. Also, the data shows the problem really was only in June and July. If part of the reason for this is based on the data that was presented, then it might make sense to wait a year or two until we have accurate data,” Moore wrote.

“One of the things people enjoy about Seal Beach is not having to worry about paying for parking on Main street and the way that it keeps a small-town feel vs other cities like Newport Beach or Laguna Beach where you have to pay for parking everywhere,” Moore wrote.

Councilwoman Massa-Lavitt said she had always been in favor of parking meters on Main Street.

District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick said when he owned a Main Street business he “vehemently opposed paid parking.” He said ugly meters in front of every car was no longer an issue. He also said he had not wanted to stop whatever he was doing to give people quarters. He said that was no longer an issue. “We’re here we’re kind of fighting the urge to keep things the way they were versus what where we are in sort of reality today,” Kalmick said.

He said that what he was hearing from Dixon was that you can increase the turnover of parking spaces.