Manhattan Beach Downtown Residential Override Parking Program

To my neighbors, please read this article in its entirety, it is in response to a recent email that was sent out to MY walkstreet neighbors, it gets good I promise and is worth the read.


Hi gals,
Take a look at the petition we are trying to override the valley 2 hr parking and permits. If this goes through we are going to have a BIG problem with no parking available to friends, family and our kids.
I am walking around Wednesday night to get walk street people to sign our petition. We also need people to e-mail Eric that we don’t want this and we are part of downtown. We have no parking ourselves. Valley residents are petitioning to have permit parking available only to them then ardmore will probably do the same. 9th and 10th street in the Hill section already has permit parking. Please pass on to all WALKSTREET residents.

“Pitting neighbor against neighbor”, the EXACT phrase I used in an original email I sent weeks ago (early February 2015) and directly to David Lesser (our city council member) and Eric Zandvliet (city traffic engineer).

I’ve highlighted a few key phrases from the above email which I’d like to address before going any further:
1) no parking available to friends, family and our kids
So let me get this straight.  You the “walkstreet residents”, who do not live on any associated street, want your friends and family and kids to have priority parking over the neighbors who actually live on the street, and who are struggling with parking in front of their own homes?  Seriously?
2) We have no parking ourselves
Again, seriously? You live on a WALKSTREET, and you signed the deed to your home that says so, with no provisioning for any additional parking whatsoever.  The city owns the streets, not you.  And you relinquished all rights to ANY additional street parking the minute you signed that “oh so precious and coveted WALKSTREET” deed.  Walk the walkstreet … pun intended. 
3) only to them (referring to a specific group of neighbors taking advantage of the program)

The city council and engineer, you know – the members you approved in the last elections?  They have provided a program for residents to take part, and we (the ones you are pointing your fingers at) have simply sent in our paperwork as allowed.  And now somehow we are the bad guys???

I’m going to come back to this and other points of fact but I’d like to turn the attention toward what it is we are all fighting for.

There is not enough available public parking in downtown Manhattan Beach to handle the amount of traffic that comes with it. As a result, overflow parking has been pushed onto the local Manhattan Beach residential areas. This overflow of parking is causing our own residents to find additional parking away from their homes when their own garages are full or if/when they have additional parking needs. The  “Downtown Residential Override Parking Program” (DROPP) was designed and put in place by our city council and engineers to relieve the residents of the surrounding downtown area from the overflowing and congested parking.  As the local residents take advantage of this program, the overflow traffic and parking finds its way further and further into the surrounding residential areas that are not, or were not, designated nor included in the original city plans.  As a result, we now have residents from adjacent streets or within very close proximity taking the brunt of this parking debacle. Petitions are being circulated in many surrounding neighborhoods to confront this problem, ranging from the DROPP petition itself to be imposed further out and onto surrounding neighborhoods outside the designated area, to petitions designed to stop the program altogether, as well as petitions to stop those who are trying to take advantage of the program itself. What a mess!

Petitions to stop our neighbors from taking advantage of this program?  They are NOT YOUR ENEMY and NOT THE PROBLEM to your lot in life!  These ill advised short-sided “petition to overthrow a petition” (yes, as ridiculous as it sounds, not to mention unbelievably offensive) has raised its ugly head just as predicted, I could not have put this together and timed it any better if I’d drafted it myself.  And to blast out emails with no explanation to the details behind the program, asking for signatures by those not paying attention, shame on you.  But all things being equal, and to explain the problem in more detail, here it goes.

Several of your local neighbors from 8th AND 9th street sand section, were very upset when the 8th street hill section took advantage of the “Downtown Residential Override Parking Program”, in effect pushing the overflowing downtown traffic further down the proverbial parking pike, and now encroaching on our very limited Valley and Ardmore PUBLIC parking spots. Valley and Ardmore are now impossible to find parking, as it is now the default parking lot for all of downtown.  I personally used those spots along Valley and Ardmore for our second car (we only have a single garage with no additional spaces), so I leaned on 8th street above Ardmore for relief.  But now we’re being pushed out and forced to park blocks away from the home I’ve owned for nearly 20 years.  So your neighbors decided to to do something about it, put our collective hats together and complained to the city that this program, while solving the immediate and very local parking issues, fell short in its implementation as well as the definition of how and whom qualifies as the petitioned “RESIDENT”.

We tried desperately to include our 9th street neighbors (the authors of the above email, our so called friends) to see the bigger picture.  We wanted to help them understand where the “CITY” has gone wrong, not our neighbors who’ve done nothing more than take advantage of the program our very own city council members (whom you all have appointed) have provided.  But our 9th street neighbors, in their infinite wisdom, turned against the very petitions WE had all set out to draft – making sure to include all sand street residents in the program as well as get the signs posted on the very street that THEY live on.  So in spite, they drafted two petitions – one stating they want to be included in the parking program, as well another stating they want to block Valley and Ardmore from enjoying this very program.  HUH?  That’s what I said … nothing like sending conflicting petitions to the city.  Not to worry, the council members will read between the lines just as I have (and you will as well).

Signing the original DROPP petition (taking the advice of our council members) is the obvious and simplest solution which would include all the neighbors as well as help relieve all parking from Valley to Ardmore and all surrounding areas already included.  The permit system can and will be overhauled to include everyones concerns, and yes, to include family and friends.  The city council simply told us to take advantage of the program and they will fix its shortcomings … seemed simple and reasonable.

The Valley residents, the Ardmore residents, the hill section 8th street neighbors who’ve just recently successfully petitioned their street, and ALL OF OUR NEIGHBORS from 9th street to 17th street above Ardmore (a large swath of surrounding downtown realestate, see included map) who want to, or are enjoying the benefits of this program for the past few years, have done absolutely nothing wrong. It is the CITY COUNCIL and the PROGRAM THEY DESIGNED to blame, simple and true.

Throwing sticks and stones, pointing fingers at your neighbors and crying “there’s your problem in life” does absolutely no one any favors, reduces the argument to a third grader crying over spilled milk, not to mention stirring frustration and anger toward the very persons whom you sit right next to on the beach, in the restaurants, and who your children play with on a daily basis. The city doesn’t want to see it, our neighbors don’t want to see it, as it will surely invoke thoughts of hatred and revenge, the very thing our city just recently rallied behind to abolish. We live too close to one another to make such foolish mistakes, especially in this day and age of emails and social media, where mistakes are amplified and etched in stone.

Want to solve the parking problem??? Here’s a thought … lets put together an intelligent, coherent and comprehensive parking solution for the city, have them amend the downtown parking program, making sure to include EVERYONE’S point of view.  The city would want nothing more than to have it’s own residents come up with the solution to solve their difficult issues – this one is giving the city a headache – that much is true. We’d end up looking like rock stars, would gain recognition for clever reasoning, and could potentially put to rest any parking deficiencies that we ALL are experiencing, now and in the future.

Here are some points to consider, whether drafting your wish list, providing an overall solution for the city, or you just want to consider for yourself what to sign and/or ignore (my own fact gathering and interpretation of course, to be shared and adjusted as my neighbors see fit).

– We the residents DO NOT OWN THE STREETS, the city does or the county, doesn’t really matter, WE DON’T.
– It is a privilege to park on the streets that the city provides, if they decide to take parking spots away for any reason, they have and they will, period.
– Walk street residents: You gave up your right to parking the minute you signed the deed to your home. You know, the very expensive home you purchased located on the ever so coveted “walk street”, 30×90 shoe-box … WITH NO STREET access. Additional parking was not included in your deed! Not my words, I had to ask this of the city and was set straight, brutal.
– Single car garage and Valley/Ardmore residents: SAME AS ABOVE, you signed the deed (that would be me), so walk the walk, brutal, etc.
– We CAN ASK for changes, NICELY, and the city may grant our wishes. Throwing sticks and stones and pointing fingers IS NOT THE WAY TO DO IT. The city council will read between the lines, they didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.
– The awful parking issues our city is facing goes much deeper than this offensive “petition to a petition” (again, really?), much deeper than the parking program, it is a real concern for EVERYONE, business owners, patrons, residents, etc. Fact.
– The parking program is not going away but will most likely expand, not my words, make the call. But I get it, it does solve the immediate problem, albeit incomplete in its implementation. If it does go away by some act of congress, it will surely bring turmoil and a firestorm of unwanted petitioning, the very thing the city doesn’t need.
– This parking program has now in fact “pitted neighbor against neighbor” just as I predicted and etched in stone with my earlier emails to the council. And I dont mean just those included in the emails from above, other residential areas all along the defined program are bickering as well.
– If you have spare time, talk with the council and parking engineer, gather your own facts and help them out, they need it and would welcome your thoughts.
– Go to the meeting and leave behind your dagger. Prove yourself useful, provide insight and a solution. Our neighbors who have the streets already enforced will be there as well, most likely defending their decisions and turf.   Its going to be fun.

I’m frustrated, we all (who have experienced this parking debacle) are frustrated.  The city has already heard us loud and clear (I have this in writing from Erik himself), who now has in fact stalled the program on 8th street and bagged the signs, just long enough for us to come up with our wish list, solution and organized response. I look down the streets and see doctors, lawyers, successful business owners, Ivy league residents who certainly can read between the lines with even more clarity than I.  Lets not stir up the already murky waters that this program has caused the city and the community.  Rather, lets put our collective Ivy league solution to the test, perhaps look to our city neighbors just south of us (Hermosa), and look beyond to what so many other cities have done all up and down the coast (just google it).  This is not rocket science and not the first of its kind. Lets help Erik and David and the rest of the city council solve the problem.

Signed, your NEIGHBOR

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