Consultant to give council a parking update in mid-January

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The city’s parking consultant expects to give the City Council a presentation on the state of the Seal Beach parking program at the council’s Jan. 22 meeting.

Julie Dixon, president of Dixon Resources Unlimited, said they were working on the staff report right now.

The biggest obstacle, according to Julie Dixon, is the lead time on getting the program going. She said the goal is for the infrastructure to be in place, especially in the beach parking lot, by spring break. Dixon said her business is working closely with vendors to expedite that.

Her business is also working on getting a mobile payment system so you can set up a parking account with a telephone app. According to Dixon, a mobile app would allow visitors to extend their purchased parking time, but not beyond the designated time limit for that space.

According to Dixon, the new program will include a new pay station in the beach parking lot, parking meters on Main Street itself and license plate reading technology.

City officials have been working on upgrading the parking system for some time. In 2015, Finance Director Victoria Beatley told the Sun about an electronic parking placard system. In 2016, then-Police Chief Stilinovich told the City council that the vendor of the electronic permits “over-promised and under delivered.”

In July of 2017, the council was told that the Seal Beach Police were working on implementing a parking system that is linked to a car’s license plate.

Dixon said she couldn’t speak to the past. “It does appear that we’re on the path to LPR,” Dixon said.

On Friday, Dec. 22, she said, “I actually have contract documents in my hand” for a license plate reading system.

She hopes the license plate reading system will also be ready in the spring.

Dixon said Seal Beach Police are currently selecting a parking enforcement vehicle.

She said license plate reading technology will help parking officers to be more efficient.

She pointed out without license plate reading, an officer would have to mark a car’s tire and then come back to be sure the car hadn’t moved.

(In 2013, the Sun reported that Seal Beach Police had warned merchants against erasing chalk marks from customers’ tires.)

Dixon Resources Unlimited will also be recommending changes to the Municipal Code, including a potential ordinance against “re-parking” to address those individuals who shuffle their cars from one space to another.

Dixon said that you have people complaining there’s no parking when often the spaces are occupied by business owners and their employees. She said the ideal is to make sure there is parking available for customers on Main Street.

She also said they would be looking at overnight parking of oversized cars.

Dixon is not concerned about issues with the California Coastal Commission because Seal Beach will be swapping “like-for-like” technology. She said Coastal Commission staff indicated they would require a permit to switch from parking meters to a parking station in Main Street lots.

She said the goal is not to go to the Coastal Commission.

In addition to the expeted Jan. 22 City Council presentation, Dixon Resources will be continuing community outreach programs. She expects the next community parking meeting would be be scheduled in March.

Consultant to give council a parking update in mid-January