Art Theater/Retro Row

The Art Theater is one of the big attractions on Fourth Street Retro Row.

Parking has been at a premium on Fourth Street through Retro Row literally for years.

But when a City Council-approved parking meter plan started to become reality, there was a groundswell of opposition from residents. Implementation, which was supposed to start this Friday, Nov. 15, has been put on hold indefinitely while city officials go out to talk to those involved.

"The Department of Public Works is in the process of re-evaluating the parking meter zone and will update residents and businesses in the area via mailer once the re-evaluation has been completed," a notice announcing the delay said.

The parking meter district, approved Nov. 13, 2018, by the City Council, stretches from Hermosa Avenue to Temple Avenue. There are blocks in that zone that have more homes than businesses, but none are strictly residential.

Second District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce represents that area, and promoted the paid parking plan last November. In an email to residents, Pearce said last week that there will be a community meeting before the meters go live, although no date has been set.

"The halt will stay in affect until our office and Public Works reviews the location of meters, hours of enforcement, and has further discussion of residential parking meters," Pearce wrote. 

She also offered a timeline leading up to the parking meter installation, noting that there were several discussions with the 4th Street Business Improvement District. She said the district's membership voted to support adding paid parking.

Under the agreement approved by the City Council, the business district would split meter revenue with the city once costs for installation were covered. The meters — actually multiple space pay stations — were scheduled to require payment from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except holidays at a rate of $1 an hour. The maximum time allowed in one space would be two hours.

The Belmont Shore Business Association and Downtown Long Beach Associates have similar revenue sharing agreements with the city. The money is earmarked for infrastructure and marketing.

"We pulled down the signs saying it would go live on Nov. 15," Public Works director Craig Beck said. "We will be putting signs up saying no payment is required at this time. The pay stations are not activated, so even if you tried to pay, it wouldn't be accepted."

Parking spaces have been marked off with T-marks and numbered, allowing use of the pay stations. The work was estimated to cost $197,000 when the project was approved.

Beck said he would meet next week with the business improvement district members. There is no timeline for meetings and a decision about the parking district, he said.

Harry Saltzgaver can be reached at hsalt@gazettes.com.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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