How We Got Here
The temporary parklets, OEPs*, and OAPs* were established to help the restaurants, bars, and a fitness gym survive during the pandemic when indoor dining and activity was not an option. It has been two years, and not one restaurant on 2nd Street has closed down because of the pandemic.
The negative impact to parking, traffic and public safety, accessibility, and ADA compliance is severe in our quaint community.
Belmont Shore has 37% of the city's parklets, despite less than 2% of the city's population. Parklets do not belong in a population-dense neighborhood on a busy thoroughfare. Parklets do not belong in Belmont Shore.
*OEP = Occasional Event Permit; OAP = Occasional Activity Permit
Parking has been a long standing issue in Belmont Shore. Now the parklets have removed 62 parking spaces. That is 17% of available parking spaces. Creation of permanent parklets means we will never recoup this lost parking. This creates difficulty for residents, and customers of 2nd Street businesses.
Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars have been spent on several third party consultants' Parking Studies in search of parking solutions for Belmont Shore. The Belmont Shore Parking and Business Improvement Area Advisory Commission (BSPBIAAC) has two goals, per their own documentation: 1) Recommend to the Mayor and City Council solutions to parking problems in Belmont Shore. 2) Recommend to the Mayor and City Council the best utilization of funds obtained from the parking meters in Belmont Shore. How can the BSPBIAAC in good conscience approve of the parklets?
Traffic and Public Safety
Making a right or left hand turn onto 2nd Street has become quite dangerous. The parklets occlude oncoming traffic.
There is a pronounced problem of visibility at crosswalks on 2nd Street with the existing temporary parklets. People with a low profile (wheelchair, mobility scooter, and children) are simply unable to see and be seen around the parklet structures that are situated at or near corners.
Traffic accidents with injuries have increased from 18.9% to 47.8% since Belmont Shore parklets were installed and several parklets have been obliterated by automobiles.
ADA and General Accessibility
Many restaurants and bars are encroaching on the sidewalk with physical objects (host and menu stands, standing umbrellas, standing heaters, sandwich board signs, large potted plants) and allowing just three feet of “walk zone” when the city permit and parklet documentation require five feet.
The cross traffic of servers, bussers, managers, restaurant customers on sidewalks has made it very difficult for people, especially those with mobility-related disabilities and people who are vision impaired, to visit 2nd Street.
Large delivery trucks cannot find legal parking now, so they are parking in bus stops causing people with disabilities to travel beyond their destination.
Concern with public safety for pedestrians and people with disabilities trying to traverse 2nd Street and cross the side streets with parklets blocking the view.
Public Land to a For-Profit Business
Once the city allows permanent parklets, public land will be turned over to a for-profit business. These businesses have increased their real estate at the cost of impacted parking and reduced traffic safety. There is very questionable legality in this move.
The move to permanent parklets will be irrevocable.
Quality of Life (petty crime, trash, noise, safety, vermin) has been greatly affected
Unsuitable and unprofessional appearance/environment: “artwork” on some parklets, sidewalk trees not being watered, crumbling parklet walls not replaced, standing water, outdoor storage of standing heaters/umbrellas which is against city ordinance. Most people just consider them an eyesore.
Some bus stops have been eliminated or moved; buses are impeded by delivery trucks illegally conducting lengthy unloading at bus stops.
The Pier Area
Three businesses — Belmont Brewing Company (BBC), Iconix Fitness and Primal Alchemy Catering — operating under OAPs and OEPs and not officially “parklets” — have dramatically encroached on public walkways, impeded neighboring businesses, imposed navigation hazards and created noise impacts
All three businesses are situated within the Coastal Zone and subject to Coastal Commission oversight and not exempted as part of Long Beach’s authority under the LCP. Protections of public access to the beach and waterfront are essential to this area, per the Coastal Commission and state mandates.
BBC installed permanent anchors and railings in violation of its permits in April-May 2020.
BBC vendors, suppliers, staff and customers now routinely park in the public plaza and walkways adjacent.
BBC OEP customers blare their own music 100 feet from neighboring residences.
Iconix Fitness took over an entire side of Olympic Plaza Drive (which the city then turned into a one-way street), one of the few metered streets servicing both beach visitors and adjacent businesses, resulting in the loss of some 21 parking spaces.
Iconix instructors use a PA system to loudly lead classes in the outdoor space, with the sound reaching high volumes and projecting more than 100 feet from the facade in violation of its OAP permit. This occurs immediately adjacent to a preschool, with the music at times containing offensive language.
Despite having a back parking space as part of its lease, Primal Alchemy Catering owners and employees routinely park their vehicles in the public walkway out front, impeding pedestrians and blocking the curb cuts for handicapped access.
Primal Alchemy Catering's owners and staff routinely and loudly unload service trucks and vehicles in the public walkway at all hours of the day and night, pulling out and dropping noisy lift ramps and dragging supplies 20-100 feet across the walkway to the business entry.
The Goal. The Ask. The Necessity.
End temporary and prohibit permanent parklets, OEPs, OAPS on Second Street and in the Pier area.