It’s a situation that should be on a final exam for aspiring public planners.
Residents of the neighborhood where The Alameda curves around SCU are unhappy about traffic, parking, litter and noise spilling over from commercial businesses on The Alameda.
The businesses in question have no off-street parking for customers. That’s because they were built in 1925, when none was required, and are thus exempted from current parking requirements.
And both sides of the argument are arguing, “We were here first.”
Businesses say that residents knew full well when they moved into the neighborhood what the parking situation was. Residents say it’s irresponsible for businesses to lease space without parking for customers.
At the May 33 Council Meeting residents painted a lurid picture of unchecked vandalism and affronts to public decency regularly inflicted on them by patrons of Alameda businesses.
“The wrong kinds of businesses are moving in there. You have to change your zoning laws,” said another resident, who also complained about friends getting tickets when they parked on the street in front of his house.
Businesses owners, unsurprisingly, characterized a proposed street parking changes as an iron-fisted anti-business move that would drive hard-working mom-and-pop businesses to bankruptcy and ruin.
The real thorn in the neighborhood side appears to be the Smoke This hookah lounge. Or rather, its patrons.
“They change their clothes in the middle of the street,” complained resident who had lived on the street a year and a half. But given the highly emotional public commentary at the Council Meeting, the police record is surprisingly silent on tobacco-fueled hooliganism in the neighborhood. Instead, the City Attorney reported that the complaints on record don’t rise to the level of the legal definition of a public nuisance.
The city surveyed the neighborhood about “resident only” street parking off the El Camino, but not enough residents – the simple majority required – signed on to the measure.
The City’s next solution was a two-part change in parking regulations: reducing parking on The Alameda to 30 minutes between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and increasing it to two hours after 6:00 p.m.; and limiting side street parking to one hour between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and 30 minutes between 6:00 p.m. and 8 a.m.
The discussion went on for an hour until the Council voted unanimously to adopt the new parking recommendations and revisit the subject in six months. “We are just putting a band-aid on this,” said Council Member Lisa Gillmor, noting the Council was at some point going to have to take up the thorny issue of out-of-date codes.