More than 300 concerned residents were on hand last Thursday, May 23, at Long Beach Yacht Club to hear the city's plan to resolve parking problems around Alamitos Bay.
City officials said before the meeting that they were looking for comments to help create a master plan for parking and traffic circulation in the area. Attendees at the meeting focused on the increased business traffic that will be generated by 2nd & PCH shopping center and San Pedro Fish Market.
Technically, the Marine Advisory Commission (MAC) conducted the public meeting to hear about the Alamitos Bay Parking and Circulation Master Plan presented by Economic Development and Public Works officials, and to hear public comment.
No specific plan was offered but staff presented goals regarding a parking plan: “To improve customer experience to boat owners and visitors and enhance access to Alamitos Bay by maximizing parking spaces, enhancing mobility, and improving circulation.”
The eight-slide presentation listed development in the area and potential changes being considered to improve traffic circulation, including parking stalls design, ADA improvements, modes of transportation (e.g., trolley, scooters, etc.). time limits and paid parking.
Then commission members asked questions. Past MAC Chairman Dr. Tom Mayes asked if boat owners will be charged for parking in the future. Sergio Ramirez, deputy director of Economic & Property Development, said parking is included in slip fees and that would be protected under new plan.
Commissioner Colin Kelly asked if there are plans to relocate the Sunday Farmers Market, now in the lot south of 2nd & PCH; city officials answered they are “exploring all options” and nearby locations have been discussed with market management.
Kelly also asked about a spot for scooter and bike rentals and returns as well as Uber and Lift zones. Landing areas will be included in the plan, officials said. Talks continue with Long Beach Transit about adding a trolley route along Marina Drive and possible changes in AquaLink.
About 40 boat owners, business operators, and residents commented, with the over-arching theme there isn't enough parking. Some said the city allowed 2nd & PCH to build without enough parking — but no official figures are cited.
Boathouse Restaurant managing partner John Morris said parking issues in the commercial center and beyond started soon after Ballast Point opened, along with the increased popularity of Aqualink. The impact will be multiplied by the anticipated Labor Day weekend opening of the San Pedro Fish Market, followed by the 2nd and PCH shopping center opening in October with paid parking.
“We have experienced a 30% increase in our business since Ballast Point went in,” Morris said, people riding the AquaLink park at the center and in the marina lots. Morris also said the city should run a pilot program testing ideas before taking a plan to the Coastal Commission.
Current BOA Director of Public Relations Eduardo Limon said he did his own study showing 2nd & PCH had a major shortfall of parking and 94 spaces of diagonal street parking would not solve the issue.
Residents near Basin 4, including Karen Brennan and Booey Kober, said adding metered parking will cause people to try to park in their already impacted neighborhood and cited the removal of meters in the Mother’s Beach lot.
Others said the Second Street to Studebaker stretch of Marina Drive should stay four lanes, even though the rest of the road to Alamitos Bay Landing is two lanes already. Boat owner Dee Schumacher expressed concerns regarding the safety of those on bikes with changes along Marina Drive.
At the end of the meeting Ramirez said again it was designed to collect feedback to share with the city’s parking consultant.
“We will be back in a couple of weeks with a follow-up presentation,” Ramirez said.
NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the identity of the person who said he did a study about parking at 2nd & PCH. It was Eduardo Limon, not Alfredo Fernandez.