18th Street Access Parking Changes
This past week, at the direction of the City Commission, Pubic Works Staff removed seven vehicle parking spaces at the 18th Street Access, installing four new bike racks (total now five), and setting aside two spaces to make trash cans more accessible. They also redesignated three additional spots as Low Speed Vehicle use only.
This change is counter to the City’s Comprehensive Plan Policy D.1.4.2 The City shall maintain all beach parking existing as of the date of this Plan, and reduction in the number of public parking spaces available at beach accesses shall not be permitted unless such eliminated spaces are replaced in equal numbers and within similar proximity to the beach.
When questioned about this conflict, the City Manager responded that the City has “several locations that we are looking at to pick up spaces that should meet this provision”. I take this to mean there is an actual reduction in beach parking spaces while the City thinks about where to move these seven spaces that are no longer available.
The City Manager included in his response that “the interventions we are trying are low cost and easily reversible. We will observe how they work and how the residents respond. If they prove ineffective and/or if the residents don’t like them, we can go back to the current situation with minimal effort”.
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As I have previously stated, I am against reducing the number of parking spaces at the 18th Street Access from the existing 51 spaces. There is no arguing with the fact that the demand has risen dramatically over the last several years, but reducing supply is the wrong answer. We should instead be looking at ways to direct more beach goers to use the beach and other facilities in Hanna Park.