Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Three Changes That Would Improve the Proposed N Parking District (210)

This post is the text of a letter I have sent to the City of Davis Safety and Parking Advisory Commission regarding three changes that would improve the revised Old North N parking district.

June 11, 2013

Commission Members
Safety and Parking Advisory Commission
City of Davis

Dear Commission Members:

I have read Brian Abbanat & Roxanne Namzai’s staff report on modifications  of the Old North N Parking District (item 5.A., 6-13-13) and I would like to suggest three changes in the proposed configuration that would make it less prison-like and constrictive for me and I assume for other residents.

l. Allow Residents to Purchase Two N Permits. The initial, 2004 district configuration allowed only one N permit per address. But residents found this highly restrictive and successfully campaigned in 2006 to allow purchase of a second N permit two months into the permit year. That is the current practice and, in my experience, works very well.

The current proposal does away with second permits. The first reason for this offered was that it caused a shortage of those permits. This turns out not to be true. (Only something like half are sold.)

So the new reason for ending the practice is to stop “neighbors occupying N-spaces other than the one intended for their parcel.”

Because N spaces are explicitly available to any resident with an N permit, this cannot be a valid reason for prohibiting second N permits. (It becomes a kind of backdoor mode of creating private N spaces--a practice the City clearly prohibits.)

2. Make O Permits Vehicle Transferrable Placards. Restricted parking creates awkward problems of how visitors to one’s home are going to be accommodated. The N permit movable placard begins to provide the needed flexibility and a second N permit provides more.

But in my experience even this is not enough. I sometimes have projects at my house that require my driveway to be clear and require that I accommodate four or more vehicles in the streets.

In order to facilitate these occasions, the new O permits should be, like the N permits, placards that can be moved from vehicle to vehicles as needed.

It is critical to appreciate that I (or any resident) can accommodate four or five cars under the present system because much of the parking is unregulated.

The proposed system is retrograde in the sense that if O permits are not movable placards, I will have less access to street parking than I do now. It is hard for me to believe that City officials would expect residents to support a system that constricts this kind of access to street parking.

3. Increase the Number of N Spaces. In the period since establishing the N District in 2004, three new, City-certified-for-occupancy residences have been constructed on my face- block, the E-500s. This means that we have the original 19 N spaces geared to the 19 residences at that time, but we have grown to 22 residences.

Because the policy is to provide one N space per residence, my face-block should get three additional N spaces in any district reconfiguration.

The 2000s was a period of active second unit construction in the Old North. I assume similar changes should be made on some other face-blocks.

(A puzzle I might mention: There are 174 N spaces on our Old North streets but, everyone agrees, there are 200 residences and some 35 organizations. This a shortfall of some 60 spaces. Does a one-space/one residence/organization policy require some major changes?)

Many thanks for your time and attention.


John Lofland