A right-sizing parking lot study for Marina del Rey was presented by a Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors consultant to the Marina del Rey Design Control Board on Thursday, July 23rd at Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey.

The “Right-Sizing Parking Study for the Public Parking Lots in Marina del Rey” was presented by Srinath Raju of Raju Associates, Inc. The study assesses the public parking needs within Marina del Rey through 2030 to satisfy current and anticipated parking demand identification, said Raju.

Past surveys and observations of utilization of these public parking lots revealed that they are all greatly underutilized to varying degrees throughout the year except for a few holidays and pre-holiday weekend days, even when the gate arms are up and no fee is charged, Raju said.

PUBLIC PARKING LOTS/ACTIVITY AREAS —

A total of 13 public parking lots and five activity areas were assessed within the study area for this project.

The five activity areas are Mothers Beach, Admiralty Park, Burton Chace Park, Fiji Way and the North Channel area.

The parking lots include:

Lot 1 (13737 Fiji Way);

Dock 52 (13501 Fiji Way);

Lot 2 (13477 Fiji Way);

Burton Chace Park

(13650 Mindanao Way);

Lot 4 (13500 Mindanao Way); Lot 5 (4545 Admiralty Way); Lot 7 (4350 Admiralty Way); Lot 8 (4220 Admiralty Way); Lot 9 (14110 Palawan Way);

Lot 10 (4101 Admiralty Way); Lot 11 (14101 Panay Way);

Lot 12 (14151 Marquesas Way); and Lot 13 (4601 Via Marina).

The following information is from the study:

Parking supply surveys were conducted at each of the public parking lots within the study area by Beaches and Harbors staff and verified by Raju Associates in 2008 and 2009.

Based on the field inventory surveys, it was determined that the total public parking available within the studied Marina del Rey area was 2,699 spaces.

This is different from the number of spaces noted in the Marina del Rey Land Use Plan (LUP) due to restriping of various lots after publication of the LUP to accommodate handicapped spaces and to improve efficiencies.

Parking demand surveys at each of the public parking lots were conducted during the busiest weekends (Friday through Monday) between 2005 and 2007.

Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends, including the holidays, were chosen to conduct the parking demand surveys. Parking demand surveys were also conducted for the Holiday Boat Parade. Additionally, a typical weekday and weekend day were chosen to conduct parking demand surveys to reflect typical conditions prevailing in the Marina for most of the year as it relates to parking.

In addition to the demand surveys noted, specialized surveys were conducted on a weekday and weekend day at all of the parking lots where sharing of public parking spaces for private commercial uses are currently occurring. These were later utilized in determining the public parking demand component of the overall parking demand at these lots.

A letter dated April 8th from Christopher King to Los Angeles County Counsel Raymond Fortner, Jr. and Peter Douglas, executive director of the California Coastal Commission, was read by Steven Cho, former president of the Marina del Rey Outrigger Canoe Club. King, the president of the Marina del Rey Outrigger Canoe Club, was unable to attend the meeting.

At the request of Design Control Board chair Peter Phinney, King’s letter will be available in its entirety on the Beaches and Harbors Web site for review.

KING’S LETTER —

King said he is writing as vice president of the Los Angeles Rowing Club and also on behalf of the Marina del Rey Community Boating Council, including the Marina del Rey Outrigger Canoe Club, the United Marina Rowing Association (UMRA, of which he is a member), and the Fairwind Yacht Club, whose youth sailing program serves groups including the Boys & Girls Club of Venice.

King said these organizations are the principal public recreational boating groups at Marina (Mothers) Beach, located on Palawan Way near Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey.

“The proposed massive, multi-story commercial/residential Waterfront Project [to be developed at the former Harbor House/Edie’s Diner location and currently Organic Panificio] will have significant adverse impacts on Marina Beach recreational use, parking, traffic, water quality, density, sailing wind, boat access, among other things, at what is the single Marina hub of small boat usage, including public access rowing, kayaking, youth sailing programs, and outrigger canoeing,” said King.

“It is only one of four such hubs serving the entire Los Angeles County along with those in Long Beach, King Harbor and San Pedro.”

King said that despite numerous significant environmental impacts, and despite the fact that the Waterfront Project is advanced in planning and discretionary approvals, no environmental impact report (EIR) has yet been planned under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and that an EIR must be prepared before the project proceeds further.

The Waterfront Project is a “some 32,000-square foot commercial development plus some 292 residential units, consuming a large public parking lot and requiring variances and Local Coastal Program (LCP) amendments,” King said.

King states in his letter that “in general, we believe the true usage and potential impact of any changes to parking in the area is not sufficiently addressed through the parking counts in the study, including how recreational boaters access and use the beach; what their needs are; how they use the area and how changes will affect the future use and access of the beach.

“We feel the study inaccurately portrays the parking needs and usage of our members based on three key areas — assumptions made on typical days and times to be used for parking counts; determination of lots included in the Mothers Beach Activity Area; and reliance on the study purely on numerical parking counts without any context on beach usage and access,” said King.

King said that typical usage by club members who are heavy users of this recreation area differs considerably from the study’s definition of “typical” as described by the study in parking counts taken during “typical weekday and weekend times.”

Parking counts in the study were taken at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. King said that picking a few days to study parking and extrapolating through the whole year is inadequate to determine parking usage, especially in light of the existing adjacent lots which were not counted in the totals. He added that stakeholders who are the actual daily users were never interviewed to determine if the times and dates were adequate to capture the parking usage.

“Several lots were used to determine the total inventory of available parking spaces to be included in the Mothers Beach Activity Area. These lots are aggregated into the Mothers Beach Activity Area which may be in the general area of Mothers Beach, but each serves very distinct purposes including different user needs, and need to be looked at independently,” King said.

“Therefore, the total inventory for the area is very inflated, and does not address specific user group needs and access. This is especially important since all these lots are in the process of or proposed to be developed.”

“It should be noted that the study makes a note in Appendix A2 that Mothers Beach activity area public parking demand also includes parking demand associated with kayakers and other recreational users parking in Organic Panificio and Casa Escobar parking lots.

“This note is listed in all parking surveys, which took place in 2005-2007. Since the county was only recently made aware that recreational boaters utilized that parking, this statement is suspect, and calls into question the veracity of the study. There is no real data regarding the actual usage of recreational boater parking patterns,” King said.

The certified LCP specifically states that “no public parking lots are permitted to be converted to uses other than for public parking purposes,” stated King in his conclusion.

During public comment, speakers said that planning for up to 2030 is too short a period since existing leases will extend farther into the future, and that 2060 might be more appropriate.

David Barish of the group We ARE Marina del Rey said all of the parking in the Marina needs to be looked at on a spreadsheet — public, private and commercial — to evaluate the use and to see how much is needed.

He said county officials have stated they want to use some of the parking lots for possible development, and that each space is worth $170,000 based on numbers from the American Planning Association regarding square footage.

Another speaker said a public meeting on the subject should be required to enable the public to fully participate on such an important subject.

Santos Kreimann, director of the Beaches and Harbors department, said the county is not requesting action by the Design Control Board but is seeking input from the public.

Kreimann said that the report and documentation by the county had already begun before he became director. He said he and county staff would review all of the comments by the public and include them in an appendix to the report.

He estimated that the process would take 30 to 60 days to complete and said the revisions would be brought back to the Design Control Board and also presented to the Small Craft Harbor Commission.

The report is available on the Beaches and Harbors Web site at

http://beaches.co.la.ca.us/.

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