The summary for you busy people...
Tuesday night at about 11:30 pm, City Council approved KOA as the firm to do the parking study. KOA should be under contract within 30 days. According to their proposal, they will have an outreach meeting early in the process that will include the City, residents, and businesses.
While City Staff chose the parking consultant, TAPS researched and participated as much as we were allowed to do so. We agree that KOA is a good choice. There was a big difference between the proposals. Some geared their studies toward supporting city policies and used public meetings to "educate" the public. Others like KOA planned to review all aspects including City policies. KOA used public meetings early to gather information.
It's important that people continue to speak up. The City did not agree to this parking study until after lawsuits and we have no real indication that our city leaders will advocate for change.
City Council approves parking consultant.
Wow. What a meeting Tuesday night. We couldn't get in. There were 2 other items on the agenda that attracted a huge crowd. (Those 2 items were about mental health and more eco-friendly trash handling.) TAPS hadn't encouraged our supporters to come to this meeting but we felt it was important to speak in support of the parking consultant. After waiting in a long line, we were told they couldn't let more people in until some people left (and there was still a long line behind us)!
They did get to our item 6 1/2 hours into the meeting. (11:30 pm?) City Council unanimously approved KOA as the firm to do the parking study. KOA will be under contract within 30 days, then KOA plans an outreach meeting early in the process.
KOA outreach meeting
This is from their proposal: KOA will conduct a meeting/focus group meting with City staff and other members of the business and residential community to further define key issues, concerns, how to balance parking demand across multiple users, and desired study outcomes to be addressed in this project.
Some comments from the City's staff report on KOA
The expected result of the Study is a comprehensive on-street and off-street parking analysis that involves developing a public and private parking system inclusive of parking users in portions of the Downtown Long Beach central business district and Alamitos Beach.
KOA Corporation provides the relevant experience and local familiarity necessary to prepare a comprehensive study. The firm's focus and emphasis on up-front data collection as the driver of potential solutions was exemplary. KOA Corporation also recognized and articulated the potential need for individualized solutions to specific subareas within the overall study area. Furthermore, the firm has subcontracted with RS&H to provide expertise in pricing strategies, parking funding and financing.
About those other parking study proposals
The order of our preference for study firms kept changing as we looked into them more. Many statements in those proposals were ambiguous. The goal of some proposals was to support city policies, collecting data toward that end and dealing with public protest. One even had $10,000 budgeted for the one meeting that was required with TAPS at the end of the study. They repeatedly emphasized their ability to provide the City with legally defensible documents. Our main concern with that was that it didn't approach parking as an issue to be solved.
As one of our reviewers said, "I reviewed all 5 proposals and was generally dismayed that most believe the problem is visitor/tourist related and they would base their studies within the constraints of City code and plan constraints."
After checking further into the study firms, their experience, and propensity for independent creative thinking, we gave our list of preferences to City Staff with our evaluation. Again, we don't know if they listened or if we just got lucky because they also liked KOA. We're hoping they are listening because they aren't required to implement any solutions. For now, we are grateful one of those other firms wasn't hired.