Op-Ed: Montecito Businesses Want Parking Spots Back
By Coast Village Road and Coast Village Circle Businesses
Dear Mayor Rowse, City Council Members, Rebecca Bjork, and Ariel Calonne,
We, the undersigned, are writing in support of restoring equity to all businesses on Coast Village Road (CVR) and Coast Village Circle (CVC). The rationale for this is simple; the conditions that created parklet’s temporary existence, namely, indoor dining restrictions haven’t been present since June 15, 2021 and thus are no longer required. Businesses on CVR and CVC do not have the benefit of public parking structures to support themselves as businesses downtown do, resulting in a pre-pandemic parking shortage. Businesses on CVR and CVC count on public street parking to support them, including restaurants that do not have parklets. Therefore removing 20% of the available public street parking spaces on CVR, to build a handful of 'temporary' outdoor parklets, was never sustainable for; most businesses in the area, has exacerbated the preexisting parking shortage, and compromises public safety.
The parking problem on CVR and CVC is compounded when you consider the impact of adding 253 restaurant parklet seats, many of which are in violation of the sizing guidelines posted on the city’s website. Using the city’s own municipal code requirement of one parking space per three restaurant seats, 84 parking spaces are required to support this added seating. Rather than adding 84 parking spaces, parklets have subtracted 28 parking spaces resulting in a net deficit of 112 parking spaces. To put these numbers in perspective, there are only a total of 117 parking spaces available on CVR today. The overall parking problem is further exacerbated with the reduction of parking on Coast Village Circle caused by the ongoing 101-freeway construction. Has the impact of the upcoming roundabout construction at Olive Mill Road and CVR been considered?
The public safety issues noncompliant parklets create are numerous. Alleys, bike lanes, sidewalks, and driveways are being blocked; cars are double, and triple parked on a daily basis. At least two serious automobile accidents have resulted directly from parklets on the 1200 block of CVR. Bicycles are constantly being forced from established bike lanes and into traffic lanes due to noncompliant parklets extending as much as 21 feet from the curb. The substantial reduction in parking enforcement also compounds the problem, and further differentiates CVR and CVC from downtown Santa Barbara. The negative environmental and public safety impact of distracted automobile drivers circling the block looking for parking must also be considered.
The quantifiable infrastructural differences between Coast Village Road and downtown Santa Barbara detailed above require different treatment with respect to parklets. Extending parklets on CVR to the end of 2023 with only half of the parking required by the city’s municipal code is unacceptable. Doing so will continue to negatively impact the majority (92%) of businesses, continue the current inequity on the street and further jeopardize public safety. We understand that adding 112 required parking spaces is impossible in the short term for many reasons, thus we request for the removal of parklets from the public right of way on CVR.
Ingela Pagliassotti - Property owner CVR
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