LB commission does not support plan for paid parking

Commissioners want more information about proposal to have paid parking in marina lots

The Long Beach Marine Advisory Commission is advising Mayor Robert Garcia that the commissioners cannot currently support a proposal for paid parking in three Alamitos Bay Marina parking lots.

The Long Beach commission approved the draft of a letter to that effect on Thursday, Feb. 10.

The Seal Beach Lions Club and Seal Beach Yacht Club are among the local groups that could be affected by the proposal. Boaters who have slips in Alamitos Bay Marina would also feel the impact.

Commissioners debated some of the language of the draft of the letter, ultimately changing the word “scheme” to “plan” in reference to the paid parking proposal. Space does not permit the reproduction of the entire five-page letter, but some quotations from it appear below.

The letter cited, among other things, what the commission letter called “incomplete and misleading data” in a report by Walker Consultants, concerns about contractual obligations that might be affected by the proposal, concerns about the California Coastal Commission, and potential parking problems.

According to the draft of the letter, the Marine Advisory Commission is interested in knowing more about the proposal, but has received “little” information since Walker Consultants gave a presentation to the Marine Commission last November.

“Unfortunately, the presentation delivered to the MAC did not anticipate several questions posed by commissioners and members of the public,” according to the letter.

“Significant public concerns remain, and outstanding questions asked by commissioners remain unanswered,” according to the letter.

“Consequently, the MAC cannot support the plan’s findings or recommend deviating from the status quo concerning additional fees for parking in ABM [Alamitos Bay Marina] basis 1, 2, and  3, at this time,” according to the letter.

“The MAC remains interested in the proposal and will be requesting additional presentations be made on the subject,” according to the letter.

“The maps of the Alamitos Bay parking areas used by Walker were not up to date,” according to the letter.

“For example the 2nd & PCH development is shown on these maps as an undeveloped property that might not affect ABM parking demand, except for use by construction workers. See Walker Report pgs 12, 13,” according to the letter.

“Also, car counts were done before significant contributors to parking demand were online,” according to the letter.

“Specifically, the adjacent 2nd & PCH development, and San Pedro Fish Company,” according to the letter.

The letter argued that the former Marina Shores shopping center is expected to be converted into 500 residential units.

“The Walker Report’s reliance on a narrow off-season sample size to represent ABM parking demand, and their reliance on that data to project peak summertime parking occupancy is speculative,” according to the Marine Advisory Commission letter.

“The City has lease agreements with local tenants that detail the allocation of specific numbers of parking sports for each tenant,” according to the letter.

“These lease agreements affect restaurants, small businesses, and other business entities, such as yacht clubs and other groups,” according to the letter.

“Representatives of these stakeholders have presented evidence that these agreements that provide the ‘free’ parking is a term of the lease,” according to the Marine Advisory Commission letter.

“Since the City will honor its existing contractual obligations under various lease agreements, the MAC is unsure how the conversion of the ABM basing parking lots will occur,” according to the letter.

“Also, it is not clear to the MAC whether the Walker Report’s recommendation that leases no longer provide for ‘free’ parking has been relayed to existing tenants, and whether that negatively affects the attractiveness of those leased areas,” according to the letter.

“Presently, parking lots in ABM basis 1, 2, and 3 are not subject to any fee structure. This allows for a cost-effective opportunity for residents and visitors to Long Beach to access the Coastal Zone regardless of income levels,” according to the letter.

“The conversion of the parking lots to a pay-to-park system will reduce the availability of free parking in the Coastal Zone. The Coastal Commission could reasonably conclude that this burden would affect those who are least able to afford this expense and discourage them from coming to the beach,” according to the letter.

“The City suggested to Walker that paid parking is the best method for solving parking problems and that assertion may have constrained Walker’s approach to its study,” according to the Long Beach Marine Advisory Commission letter.

“Alternatives to charging for parking should be analyzed and presented to the MAC,” according to the letter.