In a continuing effort to address safety and traffic concerns on Crenshaw Boulevard near the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council at its Tuesday, March 16 meeting permanently eliminated 14 parking spaces on the busy street.
A recent traffic analysis recommended removing the spaces because sight lines for drivers pulling out of parking lots were obscured.
Council approved the removal of these spaces on Crenshaw:
- Three parking spaces 155 feet north from the center of Park Place;
- Two parking spaces at a distance of 105 feet north from the center of Valley View Road and
- Nine spaces, 115 feet south and 105 feet north, off the St. John Fisher Catholic Church's driveway at 5448 Crest Road.
"I think that has been one of the issues that we've continued to see up there, especially out of St. John Fisher," said Mayor Pro Tem David Bradley.
Though Mayor Eric Alegria said he did not disagree with the traffic engineer's assessment, he was worried about removing too many spaces used for church attendees and for Preserve users.
"It just feels like we're chopping a lot or cutting a lot of spaces out of an already pretty limited area and that's just a concern, but the end of the day, safety is the primary focus," Alegria said.
Public Works Director Ramzi Awwad said the determination of how many parking spots to remove was based on a "standard calculation in traffic engineering."
"It depends on the ability of a vehicle that wants to perform a new maneuver, out of that driveway, to be able to see oncoming traffic and for incoming traffic to be able to see the vehicle, recognize what is occurring process that information and have time to brake adequately," Awwad said.
Katie Lozano, senior administrative analyst, said city staff will implement the parking restrictions with red curbing and signage.
According city spokesperson Megan Barnes, 11 of the 14 parking spaces will be red-curbed in May after the ParkMobile app is implemented by the city. The three spaces near Park Place are already red-curbed.
For months, the city has been approving different programs to alleviate the impact of visitors, caused in part by the pandemic and social media, to the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve which has created growing concerns by residents of noise and other issues while visitors enjoy the picturesque Portuguese Bend and Del Cerro Park.
The ParkMobile app-based parking system, various parking restrictions, the use of parking ambassadors, and a pilot weekend shuttle program were some programs that the City Council has approved to tackle issues that residents have voiced their concerns about for years.
At its Tuesday meeting, the City Council finalized a MOU with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Transit Authority to run the shuttle program for three months.
The shuttle, funded by grant money, will run Friday through Sunday and on holidays. The shuttle, which is expected to launch in early April, according to Barnes, will have four stops including Alta Vicente Reserve/Civic Center, Point Vicente Interpretive Center, Abalone Cove Shoreline Park and the Portuguese Bend Reserve. Also approved was an appropriation of $20,000 for the pilot program.
Councilmember Barbara Ferraro said she wondered why Del Cerro Park was not one of the shuttle's stops.
"I thought we were going to use the City Hall property as a place that they could park and then the shuttle could take them up there," Ferraro said.
Cory Linder, the city's director of Recreation & Parks, said the genesis of the project was to relieve traffic congestion near Del Cerro Park.
"Having a shuttle going up there every 20 minutes or however long... was going against that initial proposal of trying to reduce the congestion up there and this will take (visitors) into the same area just through a different door," Linder said.
But after the initial pilot program, city staff did say a stop at Del Cerro Park could be looked into.
The City Council at its Tuesday meeting voted not to request for proposals (RFP) for a consultant to conduct a capacity management assessment at the Preserve to "help access impacts of public access to the Preserve, develop management recommendations to improve current conditions, and develop metrics and standards by which to evaluate future conditions."
Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on another study, Councilmember John Cruikshank said it was best to have a wait-and-see approach while the city looks at the impact of the programs they have recently approved and the city completes current studies that could answer the same questions a consultant could.
"We believe we're getting closer to a finish line... I think that what we've seen is an anomaly, I'm hoping for that," said Cruikshank in regards to the significant increase in visitors. "But at least I like to have that proven before we start doing additional studies."
Editor's note: Because of a reporting error, information about how the number of parking spaces were calculated and a quote about vehicles maneuvering out of driveways were incorrectly attributed. The story has been updated.