Tempers flared at a meeting in Pacific Beach Thursday night over a proposal to possibly have to pay to park at the beach community.
A group known as the Parking Advisory Committee met to discuss paying for permits and metered parking in Pacific Beach. Protest signs in hand, some locals sparred with members of the committee over the idea, arguing that living in Pacific Beach is already expensive as it is, without parking fees.
“You’re going to throw in extra parking meters for all of us to pay?” frustrated resident Caroline Thomas said at the meeting. “Get real!”
“It’s ridiculous,” another resident added, holding up an opposition sign.
Opponents say metered parking in PB would stop them from visiting the area or spending money at local shops and eateries along busy Garnet Avenue.
Currently, locals and visitors can park for free for two hours in the coastal community.
Many people lashed out at members of the Pacific Beach Parking Advisory Committee, venting about the inconvenience parking meters would present.
“It would force me to almost play a game of ‘Musical Chairs’ if they were to put parking meters in there, because I’d have to move my car every two hours,” said Mackenzie Colt.
PB resident John Cocozza argued that metered parking just doesn’t fit in line with the laid-back lifestyle many residents of the beachside community know and love.
“I don’t think that’s the type of environment we want to live in. That’s downtown – that’s not the beach. And every once in a while they try to bring downtown to the beach. We don’t want it. We like our community the way it is,” Cocozza said.
A draft of map plotting the proposed area for parking permits and metered parking was presented at the meeting. Marked by red lines, metered parking would run roughly three square blocks from the beach to Cass Street, and all the way Garnet Avenue to Lamont Street.
Many neighbors are worried about parking spillover into the residential areas.
Katie Matchett, a board member of the Parking Advisory Committee, said the group has been brainstorming ways to curb that very issue.
“That’s why we’re looking at maybe having residential parking permits that would limit some of the parking in those areas to the people who live there,” Matchett explained.
A portion of the money collected from parking meters typically stays within the city in which the meters are placed. Committee members said they’re hoping to use some of that money as a source of funding to help improve the commercial district along Garnet Avenue.