The controversial 'parklets' are again up for discussion before the Belmont Shore Parking and Business Improvement Area Commission, this time at 8 a.m. Thursday, when the City of Long Beach Traffic Engineer is appearing to "learn any concerns."
It remains unclear why the use of public street parking for restaurant dining has been reintroduced before the advisory commission. It is not clear from the agenda who is proposing or pursuing the idea; the public parking is within the coastal zone, and there has been no discussion of where customers and residents would park rather than in parking spaces that would effectively be privatized.
The agenda reads as if the City of Long Beach is exploring the possibility, but the meeting has received no publicity.
City of Long Beach Traffic Engineer Dave Roseman was not immediately reachable when Patch called at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday for details about parklets in Belmont Shore.
Terry Enderson, vice president of the Belmont Shore Residents Association, strongly opposes the idea and stated his reasons in a Patch piece earlier this year:
“Parklets on 2nd Street would eliminate existing parking spaces and would ignore existing parking requirements for businesses,” Enderson said. “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.
That location 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, are not parking-impacted like Belmont Shore. On Second Street, 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.
Earlier this year, at a 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.
This month's parking commission meeting will be held at 8 a.m. Thursday at the Bay Shore Library, 195 Bay Shore Avenue.
The parking commission's role is 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 How the Belmont Shore Parking and Business Improvement Commission Works.
On the commission's agenda for Thursday, it reads as follows:
RECOMMENDATION: Recommendation to receive and file a discussion with City of Long
Beach Public Works Department staff regarding “parklets”.
On November 1, 2011 the City Council approved a request by Lola’s Mexican Cuisine restaurant
(2030 E. Fourth Street) for a permit to construct a “parklet” for the purpose of providing additional
outdoor dining space. A “parklet” is the temporary use of a curbside parking space for outdoor
landscape and seating. This is done by constructing a raised platform in the parking space at the
same elevation as the adjoining sidewalk, thereby essentially extending the sidewalk area into
the street. The City of San Francisco has been permitting these uses for sometime, and Lola’s
“parklet” was completed on January 20, 2012, making it the first “parklet” in Southern California.
Subsequent to the “parklet” constructed at Lola’s, another one has been installed at Berlin by
Portfolio, located at 420 E. Fourth Street. A third “parklet” location has been installed at the
restaurant Number Nine, which is located at 2118 E. Fourth Street.
In attendance at the November 15, 2012 BSPBIAAC meeting will be the City of Long Beach
Traffic Engineer to discuss City policy regarding “parklets”. The City of Long Beach would
respectfully appreciate learning from the commission any concerns regarding “parklets” that
would be specific to the Belmont Shore business district.