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Parking Commission to Consider 2nd Street ‘Parklets’

The raised platforms that fill two parking spaces to add additional outdoor seating along Second Street is seen by some as hampering an already bad parking problem.

Home to a bustling business district well-known for its plethora of cafes, boutiques and shopping opportunities, Second Steet is also known by locals as home to something else -- a challenging parking situation.

And while the Belmont Shore Business Improvement and Parking Commision exists to address the issue, rumors of the commission’s plan to introduce “parklets” in Belmont Shore’s busiest locale is a cause of concern for some, including Terry Enderson, vice president of the Belmont Shore Residents Association.

“Parklets on 2nd Street would eliminate existing parking spaces and would ignore existing parking requirements for businesses,” Enderson said in an email to Patch. “Each parklet would possibly add 20 seats. Where are these additional patrons to park in this parking impacted neighborhood?”

Originally designed to add landscaping and greenery to the streets of San Francisco--where streets and public rights-of-ways comprise more area than public parks--the “Pavement to Parks” program has already been adopted in Long Beach and altered to increase restaurant seating, making it the first Southern California city to do so.

While recently implemented on Fourth Street’s Retro Row at Lola’s Mexican Cuisine and in the East Village at Berlin by Portfolio, where the parklets are expected to provide increased business, it may be a different matter in the Second Street neighborhood, where about 250 businesses are crammed snugly into a thoroughfare and the 15 side streets that intersect it.

While it’s unclear how enthusiastic Second Street business owners are about removing any of the already scarce parking, not all are opposed to the idea.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Belmont Shore Business Association, Demetrios “Jimmy” Loizidesone, one of the owners of George’s Greek Cafe  located at 5316 E. Second St., expressed interest in installing a parklet, sparking a "heated debate," according to the Gazettes.com.

The parking commission is expected to discuss the matter of parklets at their monthly meeting held at 8 a.m. Thursday at the , 195 Bay Shore Avenue.

Parklets may conflict with the goal of the parking commission to "[recommend] to the Mayor and City Council solutions to parking problems in Belmont Shore and the best utilization of funds obtained from the parking meters in Belmont Shore," according to the Commission's web pages, quoted in a previous Patch article  by Mary Lou Fulton.  

While parklets would effectively shrink the number of available parking spaces -- which are in such great demand that the parking commision is paying for Long Beach transit district to provide free rides for workers in hopes of reducing the exiting parking crunch run a shuttles  providing--it's not the only reason many are opposed to them.

Despite providing a possible boon to local businesses looking to expand the number of customers it serves, parklets also require the privatization of public space, a notion that doesn’t sit well with Enderson.

“[That's] not even going into the safety issues of serving food/alcohol across the already restricted pedestrian walkway, health issues of sitting next to idling exhaust, or safety of patrons seated in the parklet so close to traffic," Enderson said in an email.

How do you feel about parklets? Good for business or bad for parking? Let us know in the comments section below.

Panglonymous August 16, 2012 at 06:11 AM
I love parakeetlets. Just like adorable miniature doggies, really tiny parakeets are *darling*! Bring 'em on, cars will find places to park if sufficiently motivated. Jr. Staff Commodore Lorbeer has decreed, and that's good enough for me!
Carrie White August 16, 2012 at 02:47 PM
I don't think they are needed. People walk second st. Only coffee drinkers sit and hang and they already have seating. By the bars would be bad as well, it would just encourage a better smoking place.
Johnny Utah August 16, 2012 at 03:04 PM
2nd street is getting ghetto by the minute anyways. We have no more rights on what to say. It will happen and the traffic will back up, the parking will be bad...etc etc... Just keep it the way it is...
Gorbi August 16, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Ridiculous. What will they come up with next. The roundabouts were a bust, the green bike lanes have slowed 2nd Street traffic significantly, last summer's street repairs during the peak beach traffic was incomprehensible, the new "parks" classification for the center divider down Broadway now makes it so narrow you can't open your parked car door if a car is driving down the street. So now we are taking away parking places on 2nd Street where residents have to jockey for a spot all the way down to 1st Street. What are you thinking?
Dave Newell August 16, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I must be CRAZY for suggesting this... Create a shuttle/trolley which runs from Ocean and Granada North along Ocean, turns right onto Quincy, then turns right onto 2nd Street, and lastly turns right onto Granada. Create stops along Ocean and 2nd Street.
Joe Vanderhoof August 16, 2012 at 03:30 PM
A really bad idea. Many of us who have to drive to get to 2nd St. don't do it during high traffic times because there is no place to park. The high cost of parking in LB downtown is keeping locals away now.
Jennifer August 16, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Terrible idea - while I love the idea of more outdoor seating, we residents are already highly impacted by the parking issue. We need to address the possibility of getting parking permits for residents so we can park in our own neighborhood!
Mandy August 16, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Hate to sound super negative, but it just sounds like a more inviting place for all the homeless to hang out. Sounds like a bad idea on so many levels. There's already fight about how there isn't enough parking zoned for the amount of restaurants, anyway. Why don't we quit trying to be fancy and put this money towards education??? Our grade schools, high schools, city colleges, and universities are suffering right now due to budget cuts, yet we're spending frivolous time and frivolous money discussing frivolous subjects. Knock it off!!!
jeanine August 16, 2012 at 04:41 PM
AMEN
Johnny Utah August 16, 2012 at 05:11 PM
This city has become an absolute failure...
John Palmero August 16, 2012 at 05:45 PM
The city should concern themselves with keeping greedy property owners from running businesses out of the Shore with rent hikes. Just as the bike lanes are a nuisance, parklets will be another way to add to the congestion on 2nd. There are so many important issues the city should be addressing, this is not one of them.
BSResident August 16, 2012 at 05:49 PM
The interesting part of this story that no one has commented on is that Bill Lorbeer is the Parking Commissioner and his father owns the building George's Greek leases. So you have Bill putting forward this idea and he is recommending that one of his dad's tenants be used as the pilot. For those that know how the BS parking commission operates (acting as a governmental body with little oversight) this conflict of interest will come as no surprise. Parklets are a cool idea and I enjoy the one outside Lolas. However this makes absolutely no sense in Belmont Shore.
Er August 16, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Love Parklets but not sure 2nd Street is the place for them.... only because it's very congested as it is... Berlin Parket rocks though.
Concerned resident August 16, 2012 at 06:42 PM
True. Terrible idea. Where do the residents park when they get home? 8,9,10 blocks away from their homes since there's no street parking, because traffic from 2nd got diverted to the side streets? Lame.
AR August 16, 2012 at 06:45 PM
What if we allowed residence to park free in the mostly unused beach parking lots on Ocean 24/7 with a permit. Might this free up parking for everyone?
Nancy Wride (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Residents should not park on their own street to free up parking for visitors? Could I take a pedicap from there to pony my groceries from Albertson's? :D
Nancy Wride (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Pedi-cab vouchers or maybe transit district shuttle for residents? :D Seriously, though: What if the parklets went in the ocean lots? Anyone?
Shawn Pearson August 16, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Not surprised about the Bill Lorbeer conflict of interest, if substantiated. Parklets are totally unnecessary. That's why the sidewalks were widened in the early 90's in the first place, so all of the business owners could expand "rent free" into the sidewalk. Haven't heard from Delong on this.....still waiting for someone to stuff his pockets, before he commits.
naples August 17, 2012 at 02:00 AM
This concept is also being pushed in Naples and is equally as bad of an idea.Too much congestion too little parking.
Sunshine August 17, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Bill Lorbeer stated at a previous commission meeting that the cost to add a parking space (as part of a lot) was $64,000 (this was associated with the high price purchase of the Colonna Parking Lot on Park Ave). If I as a property owner, I wanted to added space to my house (and increase it's value) I would not ask the city of Long Beach to pay for it. Therefore in my estimation one two space parklet with 10 chairs (4 cars) should cost to the PROPERTY OWNERS $384,000 in parking fees. One parklet should be enough money to administer a resident parking sticker program.
Viking 24 August 27, 2012 at 03:44 PM
You wonder what motivates the thinking....bad idea....between pedestrian traffic, especially on the busier days...safety issues abound here. The obvious is the parking but there are quite a few other issues here. Money would be better spent policing the general safety of 2nd street from the skateboarders and bikers that ride on the sidewalks...now add servers avoiding that to serve in a parklet....I remember the days when we had a "beat" cop on regular days to look out for the safety of pedestrians and the community in general....
naples August 29, 2012 at 01:56 PM
This is a bad idea for all of 2nd st., Belmont Shore through Naples.Same parking problems, safety issues, etc. We need the support of all the residents to call/ email Gary DeLong and we inivite you to sign our Stop The Parklet petition at 5606 e 2nd st or 5610 e. 2nd st.
Nancy Wride (Editor) August 29, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Hi Naples, is there an e-mail or website to which like-minded people might go, or is that a business where you're saying they need to visit to sign in person? Thanks.
naples August 30, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Hi Nancy, I own Ruth Waters Fashions @ 5606 e.2nd st. and 5610 is Dr. Lisa Hopkins Optometrist. Along with other business owners we are very concerned with the "parklet concept" and the constant attack on public parking in what is considered parking impacted areas.We have started a signature drive in order to get the community involved in this process before they end up being installed. We need to get the word out to the residents. Any help you can give us is greatly appreciated. Vicki
Nancy Wride (Editor) August 30, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Vicki, does the Naples Business Assn. have a position on the parklets?
naples August 30, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Nancy, the NIBA does not want to take a position however, the NIBA was being pressured to support the parklets prior to all of us getting involved.
Archie Leach September 04, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Guess I'll be the devil's advocate here: In the cities where the parklets have been implemented, the resulting impacts have seen businesses with no parklets in front of their businesses beseeching city hall to allow them to build their own parklets. All the arguments showing up here on the comments have been made in San Francisco, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Vancouver, etc. and that hasn't made a dent in the demand for MORE parklets from businesses/neighborhoods once the first few THRIVING ones are put in place.

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