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.