Is it still ok for the City to allow building without adequate parking?
Here are some letters that people wrote to the City. They made a difference. The Planning Commission mentioned the concerns that people had expressed.
Email our city leaders! Tell them how the parking issue affects you and why you think solutions would help our City.
Send an email:
And/or write to your council member.
If you don't know your district, look at this map.
Then pick your councilmember's email address:
district 6 - write to Dee.Andrews@longbeach.gov
As you can see, we haven't collected and posted letters for a while.
You can read recent comments from many people on our petition, facebook, and the parking posts on nextdoor.com.
Dear Mayor Garcia and Council members,
I am writing today regarding the New Bike Share program that was just unveiled. My neighbors and I are very happy to have this new program installed in two locations so far, and look forward to the rest of the 48 stations going in around Long Beach. While we all can agree this is a great idea in helping to create a greener city, and will provide the many tourists who visit our city another fun, easy way to cycle around downtown, we must not forget to keep our eye on solving the continuing, persistent parking problem that plagues our neighborhoods.
As we all know, 60% of Long Beach Residents get up every morning and get in their cars to leave this city to go to work. Then come home every evening, and circle round and round looking for parking in many of our cities neighborhoods, especially downtown and surrounding downtown.
My neighbors and I continue to ask you and the council members to start Meaningful change when it comes to addressing our parking plight. We are asking for a "Parking Partnership" with the city and its residents. We are asking for concrete changes to be made to some of the cities arcane ordinances, especially when it's comes to Redevelopment / development. We are asking for Real parking solutions, other then trying to get residents to abandon their vehicles.
We think the Bike sharing program is great and all, BUT it does nothing to address the 60% of residents who wont be able to bike up and down the 710 and 405 to work every day, and circle for parking each night.... Not a thing.
We continue to ask for a Parking Partnership with our city to work together to solve this problem.
Regards, Jason Harris
My name is Don Wagner, and I’d like to comment on the parking problems in the area of Alamitos Beach and neighboring communities and flaws with the City’s parking requirements for new development in the downtown and surrounding areas.
I’ve owned a tri-plex at 128, 130, and 132 Cerritos Ave for the past 29 years, which is located several blocks away from Alamitos and Ocean Blvd.
Having owned property for 29 years in Long Beach, I can testify on behalf of tenants who have come and gone these past 29 years, and that public parking and public safety problems in Alamitos Beach are only getting worse.
I would like to first discuss 4 key points, and then discuss solutions.
1) Quality of Life
The residents of Alamitos Beach are land-locked. Residents often drive 45 min to 1 hour to find
parking, sometimes parking over 3/4 of a mile away from their homes. My tenants have parked
as far away as Cherry Park in the middle of the night! Even board members of the Alamitos
Beach Neighborhood Association have struggled to get a ride to HOA meetings because they
can’t find parking when they return home. If they could not find a ride, they stayed home and
were unable to attend the HOA meeting.
The City, local businesses, restaurants, bars, retail stores are losing precious revenue and tax
dollars because local residents refuse to leave their homes in the evenings and on weekends
because they cannot find parking when they return. The Pain of parking and risk of walking 3/4
of a mile late at night outweighs the Gain of going out for the evening. This goes back to the
quality of life issue.
3) The myth that High Rises provide adequate parking
It’s just NOT TRUE that there is adequate parking when high-rises are adjacent to residential
neighborhoods. High-rises target a demographic perceived as light rail users. But in reality, most
will own a car, many will work from home, many will have a partner, and many will need 2
vehicles. And especially in a downtown beach community such as Long Beach, most will want to
have family and friends visit on weekdays and weekends, and for birthdays, and for holidays
throughout the year. High-rise residents have testified they do park on residential streets to
save on the cost of renting another parking space. They park in residential streets to reserve a
spot for a friend, or for their roommate, and leave their high-rise space empty until their
friend(s) arrive. Simply put, more high rises mean more people, consuming local resident
parking, and causing a domino-effect parking shortage throughout all of Alamitos Beach. If my
tenants currently travel 3/4 mile to park…they are taking away a parking space that belongs to
someone else 3/4 mile away, who in turn, takes someone else’s space. How would you like to
drive around for 45 min, and then walk 3/4 of a mile to get home in the dark?
This leads me to:
4) Public Safety
I have easily lost 30+ tenants over the past 15 years because of parking and public safety issues.
When tenants must park 3/4 of a mile and walk home after dark, they risk getting robbed,
mugged, or even raped. The end result: Landlords get desperate, they don’t follow best-practices
for screening tenants, and background checks become less important. They may
crowd 3-4 people in a unit or establish illegal flop houses that create a nuisance for local
residents and law enforcement. Does anybody remember what happened in 2008 when 15
registered sex offenders moved into 1149 First Street? There were over 201 calls for police
service in 12 month and it took 2 years for the City to shut it down. The new owner had to
spend over $400,000 to renovate the building in order to sell and get out of Alamitos Beach.
This isn’t rocket science. The parking dynamics where high-rise buildings join with residential
neighborhoods in a beach community are simply not the same as high-rises in other downtown areas.
High-rise residents have friends and family who come to visit, they establish relationships, and they have multiple cars. This consumes parking in the surrounding communities. Why is this so difficult for City planners to understand?
Isn’t it time to implement real long-term solutions? Does the City want to see Alamitos Beach turn into a run-down crime ridden community with suppressed property values and possibly force homes into foreclosure? The City should start collecting funds from high-rise builders and other sources, acquire property and build parking structures for use by Alamitos Beach residents. We’re talking about building several aesthetically pleasing mini-parking structures throughout the community, not one big massive parking structure. Landlords and residents would gladly pay a monthly fee for guaranteed parking.
Mini-parking structures are a permanent long-term solution that will improve the quality of life for
residents of Alamitos Beach and surrounding areas, and invigorate and sustain the downtown economy.
Thank you for your time.
December 02, 2015
AP wrote to the Planning Commission
To those involved in this hideous plan:
The Planning Commission will, on Thursday (unless they postpone for a 2016 hearing) ramrod the new site plans for 101 Alamitos because they adhere to the Downtown Plan promulgated by city "visionary" Suja Lowenthal.
The addition of 8-10,000 people within a mile radius downtown does NOTHING to enhance quality of life for those already invested in DTLB, but building to code and code alone enhances the city coffers. And that’s all that matters, right?
As these cracker box edifices continue to be built to code and nothing more, parking becomes even more scarce and Ms Lowenthal’s dreams of extreme density become the city’s nightmare, please remember that the city has done NOTHING to adhere to the veracity of CEQA laws. That alone invites lawsuits, which our general fund has no financial preparation to fight.
Parking in Long Beach’s downtown is a horrible nightmare. Parking meter fees have doubled (and isn’t it sweet that the city must now pay to have all the meters lowered so people can actually see them???) and space is at premium. With all of the newly expected residents incoming, what happens to those of us in historic buildings where parking is not offered? Nothing, I presume. By neglecting those that have invested in DTLB, you hold yourselves to shame, ridicule and, even better imminent lawsuits.
Please remember, as you gleefully count the anticipated money you’ll be making from all the newly expected residents, that physical density promotes crime, the lack of parking will cause people to become angry - hence more crime - and just because you build new apartments and condominiums to code, with minimal parking available, it doesn’t mean those living spaces will be filled to your heart’s content. They may not be what people are looking for, and with the prices developers intend to charge for these units, I doubt occupancy will be swift and sure.
Building a ticky-tacky Long Beach with minimal parking sounds good for the bottom line, but I’m telling you now, it’s simply not right. I’m willing to bet that no one on the Planning Commission or Parking Department actually live downtown and have to hunt for a parking space day and night. Make it even more difficult and you’ll have trouble on your hands. Maybe even blood.
November 22, 2015
City Council of Long Beach
Dear Council Members:
I spoke before the Council prior to your approving the Hi Rise on Ocean next to the Long Beach Café. I graphically explained the extreme distress caused by the City of Long Beach’s changing the parking requirements for builders.
From 4 to 8 AM each Tuesday and Wednesday, numerous drivers have to move their cars on 1stStreet in order to avoid expensive tickets! We were assured by S Lowenthal that the time for street cleaning would be changed to the earliest 8 AM. This has not happened. S Lowenthal asked the builder to request that those who live in the hi rise and who do not have a parking space would refrain from parking on the street. She required nothing of the builder! (How naïve can one be!!!) There is also commercial space on the 1st floor. Where will those people park?
Now we have another situation (almost identical if not more grave) with the proposed “sister” hi rise.
It seems blatantly obvious that Long Beach authorities made a huge compromise to entice builders to build by lessening the parking requirements. I wonder how much money or benefits changed hands.
One of the speakers in favor of the few parking spaces required of the builder said that the owners of units are people wo take the train or bike to work so do not need parking spaces!
This whole parking dynamic reeks of “back room deals” or just… short sightedness??? Let’s have transparency!!! We haven’t as yet felt the impact of the hi rise nearly completed – a disaster!
Cc: Planning Commission
November 26, 2015
Subject: preventing air pollution with parking
I was pleasantly surprised to see this article about your pledge to the climate pact. http://www.presstelegram.com/environment-and-nature/20151109/long-beach-mayor-signs-climate-change-pact
The purpose of my letter is to remind you of an issue that, if not changed, will work against all of your other efforts to improve the climate change situation: Parking for downtown and Alamitos Beach residents (and other areas). Those of us who live here see people (including ourselves) driving around for long periods looking for parking. This happens most hours of every single day.
At a recent meeting with a Planning director, we were told that the city is researching the idea of sensors and phone apps that could tell people where parking spots are empty. The problem here is that, from my experience, there is someone waiting for my spot as soon as I get in my car. In other words, that spot will be taken before the person who saw the spot on their app gets to it. We need more parking.
The City has worked on many ways to improve the parking issues. Unfortunately, the Downtown Plan's parking requirements will cause us to lose much more parking than was found.
For decades developers were allowed to build without parking, partially because parking lots dotted the landscape and there was plenty of street parking. Those days are gone. In 2012, City Council passed the Downtown Plan, which lowered parking requirements. While the City repeatedly tells us that this level of parking is adequate, no parking study that I've seen supports this nor do the opinions of property managers. The City also repeatedly tells people that other cities have these standards. How does that matter if they wound up with air pollution and a much lower quality of life? Must we jump off that cliff, too, and ruin our beautiful city by the water? At the very least, we will wind up with residents who don't stay long, which brings its own set of issues. I'd like to see Long Beach be one of the many cities that have stood up to the pressure to provide developer incentives and wound up better off for it.
Let's say for a moment that the opinions from area building managers are correct. They say that the Downtown Plan's 1 parking space per unit (regardless of the size of the unit) will result in lots of parking overspill onto the streets. Our area is already heavily parking-impacted. These developments are coming fast. Since we appealed to City Council 2 years ago regarding the 2 hi-rises at Ocean and Alamitos (you were at that hearing), there have been numerous large buildings approved and built within a few blocks. Because these buildings were not required to provide enough parking for their own use, you, as mayor, now have 365 days per year of additional air pollution negating all of your other efforts toward climate change. There was an opportunity to require developers to install adequate parking. Now the only options to undo this additional pollution will cost the City a great deal of money.
PLEASE take a stand against these low parking requirements!
Friday, November 06, 2015
To: Mayor <Mayor@longbeach.gov
Jason Harris wrote:
Dear Mayor Garcia,
I am writing to you today to speak about the re-development projects scheduled at 101 Alamitos Ave. and the 40 town Homes near Elm and Broadway, and the cities lack of proper mandatory planned parking for these properties.
I am a Home owner in Alamitos Beach. I do not have private parking, I have street parking. Every day I come home from work and spend anywhere from 20 mins to 1 hour circling and circling thru my neighborhood looking for a place to park. There are days,if Im lucky and the the traffic has been good to me on the 405, I can find a spot in 20 mins ( or less on *some* occasions ), within a 2-3 block radius of my home. On days when I have to stay late at work, or the 405 has not been so kind to me, I can easily spend 1 hour circling a 5-7 block radius ( Including Bixby Park, which is planned to loose all of its parking slots on E. 1st and E. 2nd when those streets running thru the Park will be closed off, and made into part of Bixby Park), before finding a spot and then starting my walk home.
I understand that, as my council women Suja Lowenthal has said in the past, the days of pulling up and parking in front of my house are l o n g gone, however, I am at a loss for why My city leaders keep allowing these re-development/new development projects to proceed without the proper realistic mandatory parking spaces being required by the city...? ( Im referring also to the 2 projects, 1 under construction, on the corner of Ocean and Alamitos. I know you are aware, that those two projects I mentioned were allowed to be built without the proper mandatory number of parking spaces by the City).
Why are you, the city council and the Dept of Development Services allowing these new projects to proceed, when you all already know that parking is ' impacted' ( using the cities term used to describe parking in Alamitos Beach and its surrounding neighborhoods ) ?
My neighbors and I are feed up!
L o n g gone are the days when the city can keep allowing these projects to have ' over spill parking' in surrounding neighborhoods. You all know there is NO over spill parking left. This madness in the name of Re- development must stop.
I understand the importance of growing this city. I understand the importance of attracting more business ( esp. in the Tech industry ) to settle in this city and having the proper infrastructure and housing, I * loudly applaud * the Cities advancements, initiatives, focus groups, planning, re-development/new development, etc, etc, BUT I ask you at what Cost to the environment, the city and its residents?
I"m sure you know that we the citizens have hired lawyers to try and force you and the council and do the right thing. To fix the mess that has been allowed to be created by the city, when it comes to re-development/new development and parking. Its such a shame that its come down to this frankly, but since You, the Mayor, and the city council, again will not do the right thing, and require all new buildings to have the proper amount of parking spots, you really have left us with no choice, haven't you? Your own citizens have to band together, pool their money and try and stop the city. How truly sad. think of how You could harness that kind of energy and commitment and use it to build a stronger, safer, vibrant community in this city?
It"s not too late of course, given the sudden cancellation and rescheduling of the Public hearing on this matter on Nov. 5th 2015. You now have the chance to do the right thing for your city and its residents. You still have time to gather and fix this grievous mistake in policy. You still have time to require these developers to build and provide a proper number of parking spaces per development. You still have time to cut down the amount of extra exhaust emissions from hundreds of cars circling 365 nights of the year. You still have time to stop the added stress of our limited Firefighters/EMTS and police when responding to accidents caused by all these cars circling and the 'parking war rage' drivers experience. You still have time from making this problem worse.
I sincerely, humbly ask you Mayor Garcia to please change this. Stop the denial of Alamitos Beach and surrounding neighborhoods lack of parking now, while these projects are not even started. Change the codes,ordinances,laws and make sure that no re-development/new development housing project will continue to short change your citizens on parking. Help us.
Thank you for you time,
A proud Long beach resident,
Reply from Daniel.Brezenoff@longbeach.gov
Nov 10, 2015
Thank you for writing.
Parking in Alamitos Beach certainly is very challenging. However, the projects you refer to meet all the city's parking requirements and are providing sufficient on-site parking to meet all the development's parking needs. We do not expect any real impact on parking from these projects.
We do expect a positive impact on parking from the changes to street sweeping that are in the process of being implemented. We are reducing times from 4 to 2 hours, and moving the time from the middle of the night (2 or 4am) to a later time (around 8 for most locations). We think this will help a great deal.
I want to make sure you also know there is paid parking available in the Alamitos Beach lot.
I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have questions.
Daniel Brezenoff , Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Dr. Robert Garcia, Mayor
Reply from Jason Harris
Dear Mayor Garcia,
Your representative Daniel`s response is *Exactly* what I ( and my fellow neighbors ) are trying to get you and the council to address. CHANGE THE CITY REQUIREMENTS.
I, ( and my neighbors when I post this response ), are/will be, *insulted* at this pat response by the City. It was Not helpful in anyway.
You and I both know the cities requirements are the problem. As they stand now, the city and the developers ARE following , 'providing sufficient on site parking '. and thats whats WRONG.
We are asking you to actually *CHANGE * the Cities requirements for parking on re-developments and new developments projects.
You already know that parking is impacted and that these projects with their ` overspill parking` , WILL MAKE PARKING WORSE. The fact that you, city council and everyone else involved, remain steadfast in your denial of these facts, is beyond comprehension.
Why are you not acting on this?
Your *in action* on changing the cities requirements, goes to show my neighbors and I exactly where your loyalties lie. Clearly saving money for the developers/special interests of these projects is your 1st priority.
WE WILL REMEMBER THIS THE NEXT ELECTION CYCLE.
Reply from Daniel.Brezenoff@longbeach.gov
Nov 11, 2015
The standard downtown of 1.25 parking spaces per unit is consistent with the requirements in most cities in the United States, and was included in the Downtown Plan, which was adopted only after extensive community review, including many public meetings and public discussion over many months. We do believe that for the projects in question it is sufficient.
I also wanted to mention, which I omitted from my previous email, that your concern about Bixby Park seems to be based on incomplete information. The closure of 2nd street is not going to result in a net loss of parking spaces, and the closure of 1st street is only contemplated in the master plan. It has not been approved, and could not be approved without the addition of parking nearby to mitigate any lost spaces, and a further community review process. So at this point, no parking loss is planned for Bixby Park.
Please let me know if you have questions.
Daniel Brezenoff, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Dr. Robert Garcia, Mayor
Reply from Jason Harris
Mayor Garcia and Mr. Brezenoff,
Let me be explicitly clear to you, just as you appear to be steadfast in your view that there will be no negative parking impact in Alamitos beach due to the cities extremely poor regulations on parking requirements for re/new developments, my self and my neighbors are steadfast in our ** reality ** that we are not interested in what other standard requirements are ' in most cities in the United States'. We live in Long Beach CA, and OUR parking is impacted by the Mayor and city councils lack of interest in addressing and changing the laws on the books. WE ARE NOT INTERESTED IN OTHER CITIES, WE ARE INTERESTED IN THE ONE WE ALL CIRCLE AROUND LOOKING FOR PARKING IN EVER DAY. PERIOD.
Also, for the time it has taken you to point out the parking changes in Bixby Park and my Concern about lost parking being based on incomplete information, You yourself said at this point no parking loss is planned. Well Mr. Brezenoff, given that the 2 projects at Ocean and Alamitos were allowed to be built with 'over spill parking ', and that fact that the cities argument * continues * to be that the parking is following the current regulations and requirements in most cities in the U.S., is a * Crystal Clear * window into what will happen come time for meetings and discussions, the Mayor and city council will continue with their lack of interest in their constituents parking plight, and just close 2nd street in the park.
Unfortunately your point has a huge hole in it, its called a *track record*. Or rather, the lack of a track record of fixing a real parking problem.
I (and the people who have been following this discussion ) , are * so disgusted * by the mayor, city council and everyone involved, lack of making REAL changes to the cities parking requirements for re/new development, I am finally at a loss for words.
BUT, Since you asked, I do have a question. When are my Cities Elected Officials going to stop playing politics and TRULY FIX our parking problem?
Reply from Daniel.Brezenoff@longbeach.gov
November 11, 2015
As I said, the 1.25/unit ratio was arrived at through an extensive public process. I don't recall any member of the public raising this issue at the time. That doesn't mean no one did, but to my memory it wasn't among the main points of contention in passing the DTCP.
But let me ask, what ratio would you suggest? And what other suggestions for increasing parking do you have? We are certainly very interested in any feasible ideas.
Also, let me again clarify: 2nd street is being closed as a street. It will remain open to parking. Closing 1st street is contemplated in the master park plan, but that could not go forward without extensive community review.
As to your contention that the mayor and council do not care about this issue, nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, many of them face the same issue in their own neighborhoods, as do many staff, and all of them are very interested in relieving parking. Mr Garcia as councilmember created several hundred new spaces in the first district via removal of red curbs, addition of diagonal parking, and opening of private lots to overnight parking. And as I said, we are changing street sweeping times, despite the chance of reduced revenue, for only one reason: to make parking easier. These are not the actions of someone who doesn't care.
Thank you for the conversation.
Reply from Jason Harris
November 18, 2015
Mayor Garcia and Mr. Brezenoff.
Well, we were there complaining and trying to get the city to listen to its residents in the past, so ......? And thanks to Councilwomen Lowenthal's lack of listening to her constituents, our voices were simple ignored. Anyways, this 1.25/unit ratio is grossly inadequate and you all now it. Just because you cling to it as a benchmark from other U.S. cities and claim No one was raising concerns about it in the past, STILL doesn't fix the Impacted parking problem. IT JUST DOESN'T. THATS YOUR TRUTH.
As far as asking what other suggestions I/we have, the OBVIOUS place to start would be with CHANGING the 1.25/unit ratio requirements.... wouldn't it? As you know. this would *not* require the city to, dare I/we suggest, Building parking structures and spend money.
God forbid though you actually CHANGE the all precious 1.25/unit parking number and help your residents.
There is *no need* for a clarification on Bixby Park and 2nd street closer...... just as there is no need to clarify the Cities past record on listening and following the 'extensive community review'. The Cities record speaks for itself, or is it that no one even remembers us there speaking up about it.....
The fact that many of the employees in City Hall face the same grueling circling for parking game, 365 days of the year, Just makes my neighbors and I even MORE baffled at what are you all doing to think outside the box ( and inside the box for that matter, changing the 1.25/unit parking ), for different solutions? If you all are suffering as much as you say you are, why aren't you the ones leading this change of the 1.25/unit parking requirement? Aren't the elected officials the ones who are required to solve these issues for the people?
Of Course we are thankful about the created parking spaces, diagonal parking, opening of private lots, and changed, archaic street sweeping times. Of course. It STILL does not negate the fact that the Mayors, councils and commissions desire to change the 1.25\unit ratio, is NON-EXISTENT.
BOTTOM LINE Mayor Garcia, you, the council and the commission will screw us all. We will circle even more, spew out more emissions to negate all the ones your so proud of saving at the Port, stress the police, fire and EMTS more, and keep added money from being spent in our community because no one can move their car because there is no place to park when you get back.
Jason Harris letter to Mayor after 2nd Planning hearing continuance
November 19, 2014
One can only hope that YOU personally (and not your staff screening everything ), has been actually reading our emails, letters, messages, and listening to your constituents continuing growing anger over the Cities archaic 1.25/unit parking regulations farce.
While we, the citizens, would like to think these continued last min. Cancellations and rescheduling for this public hearing, are so that a RATIONAL, REASONABLE, REAL solution can take place between You, the Planning Commission, the council, the citizens and, unfortunately our legal council since none of you will act in good faith, I want you to understand these continued cancellations WILL NOT SLOW OUR ANGER,, AND WILL NOT SLOW THE GROWING NUMBERS OF RESIDENTS LEARNING AND JOINING THIS FIGHT AGAINST OUR PARKING BEING ERODED, DEVELOPMENT BY DEVELOPMENT UNDER YOUR ADMINISTRATION.
We are committed *as ever* in our efforts for someone, anyone, in City Government to finally admit this 1.25 parking ratio is not viable in OUR city, and to stop pretending this ratio for OUR city, is a continuing viable parking ratio for ANY future development in this city.