Resolving PB’s parking woes still no easy task
by DAVE SCHWAB
May 29, 2014 | 1933 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Pacific Beach Parking Committee – a group made up of various interests — that is looking into parking and traffic management issues continued with its needs assessment of the busy beach community at its May meeting.

The committee’s goals are to explore ways to improve transportation moving people in and out of Pacific Beach more efficiently, while integrating walking, bikes, cars and improving the streetscape.

Committee members said their goal is not necessarily to endorse the use of parking meters as a traffic-management tool, despite what flyers being distributed recently are suggesting, said committee chairman Elvin Lai, president/CEO of Ocean Park Inn, Inc. and president of Discover PB, the community’s business improvement district.

“There’s no agenda here. We’re not trying to put forth any plan,” said Lai. “We’re looking for the traffic problems and doing a needs assessment. Our goal is for a solution for parking, for traffic management and for safety at signal lights, pedestrian cross-walks, kids’ safe routes to school, etc.”

Lai said the committee’s objective is to find a solution for parking and traffic management in the congested beach community, which experiences a huge influx of visitors during the peak summer tourist season.

“Parking meters don’t have to be part of that solution,” Lai said. “We’re looking for a solution for the entire traffic management system.”

So far, the needs and issues, among others, have been considered by the PB Parking Committee:

• getting people into PB’s business corridor safely to and from the trolley stations;

• accessibility;

• safer sidewalks and walking conditions;

• accommodating bicycles in the business community that are currently not safe for them;

• traffic congestion and flow;

• making the community more walkable and bikable:

• addressing infrastructure needs, like bike and skateboard racks;

• code enforcement of signage and right-of-way issues.

Among ideas for addressing those traffic and circulation issues are building a parking structure, using reverse diagonals, traffic-calming and instituting one-way streets.

PB’s Parking Committee is composed of community representatives from the Pacific Beach Planning Group, the PB Town Council, Discover PB and interested residents at-large.

During discussion of Bikeshare short-term cycling rentals coming to town this summer as a new transportation alternative with nearly 20 proposed stations in Pacific Beach, committee member Paul Falcone expressed concern about Bikeshare competing with existing bike-rental businesses.

“Are they going to be taking away (vehicle) parking spaces?” Falcone asked.

Sara Berns, of Discover PB. replied, “On Cass Street, they are (proposing) taking away (some) parking spots.”

PB planner Chris Olson suggested the committee also needs to take a look at the local housing mix, examining who lives and works in Pacific Beach. Studies have previously shown that the majority of people who live in PB do not work there.

Berns said it would be wise to focus on “slowing traffic down on Garnet Avenue,” which she said has become more like Main Street along the business corridor.

Noting there’s even been some discussion of “closing Garnet down to vehicles completely,” Berns suggested there needs to be more discussion of “creating some more livable work space along Garnet and increasing that.”

The Pacific Beach Parking Committee’s next meeting will be Thursday, June 19 at 6 p.m. at the office of Discover PB, 1503 Garnet Ave.
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