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City addresses parking concerns

SOLANA BEACH — With improvement projects complete on Coast Highway 101 and the Cedros Design District, city officials are working to address traffic concerns in those two areas.

Residents, city leaders and business and property owners at an April 14 meeting of the Highway 101/Cedros Avenue Development Committee discussed about three-dozen potential solutions.

Recommendations that will be presented to city council at the July 9 meeting for further discussion include adjusting parking times, reducing parking requirements for restaurants, creating a valet parking ordinance, allowing rooftop parking on Cedros and paid parking options.

Attendees had mixed feelings about varying time limits, especially along Cedros, where the maximum used to be two hours. It was increased to three in 2010 so visitors would have more time to dine and shop, but it also made it more convenient for employees to park along the roadway.

Linnea Maddox, owner of Ta Dah Home Décor, said when she comes to work at 9 a.m., most of the spots are filled even though the businesses aren’t yet open.

She said workers have figured out ways to avoid being ticketed, including wiping the marking chalk from their tires.

“These employees aren’t stupid,” she said.

One suggestion was to have longer time limits in some areas and shorter ones in others.

“That would be too confusing,” Leaping Lotus owner Cindy Cruz, said. “You need to be consistent.” As summer approaches, she said, “We want visitors to be happy and not leaving the city with a ticket.”

As for paid parking, there was general agreement that no one wants to see parking meters installed throughout the city.

“I don’t think anyone wants meters in front of every space,” resident Peter House said, noting that “sooner or later” the city would have to build a parking structure, especially to accommodate employees.

He recommended a trial period at the distillery lot.

There was also discussion of allowing businesses to pay a fee in lieu of providing the required number of parking spaces. Money collected would go into an account that would be used to fund a parking structure.

“I like that idea conceptually but it needs a timeframe attached to it,” Sean MacLeod, president of the Cedros Avenue Design District Association, said.

There is interest in developing a valet parking program, but MacLeod said while it may be a good solution, there may not be a demand. He said it may only work for restaurants.

Carl Turnbull noted the business community provides millions of dollars to the city in sales tax revenue. “It would be great if the city could use a portion of those dollars to create parking that will increase sales tax and not impact residents.”

“That’s the overarching goal,” Councilman Mike Nichols said.