The Beverly Hills City Council declined to grant a resident petition to restrict street parking on South Crescent Drive between Charleville Boulevard and Gregory Way to all but permitted vehicles. Residents seeking to limit access claim that traffic from Beverly Vista Middle School and employee parking from nearby businesses has impacted quality of life on the street. Citing low occupancy data, the Council opted to revisit the petition no sooner than six months and no later than a year.
Residents filed the petition in late 2019, with 25 of 38 households requesting the modification to the existing one-hour parking limit. The Traffic and Parking Commission reviewed the petition in February of 2020. Based on the support from the community and similar parking restrictions approved on adjacent blocks, the commission recommended that the City Council approve the request.
The City Council was scheduled to review the petition in the spring of 2020 before the Novel Coronavirus pandemic derailed the plans.
Residents who participated in the meeting described parking conditions worsening after Beverly Vista transitioned to a middle school, which resulted in changes to release times and traffic patterns. They also cited increased parking levels since neighboring streets on South Canon Drive had “No Parking Anytime” modifications approved.
City Transportation Planner Martha Eros said that available data showed no change since the switch to a middle school. Additionally, she shared the results of a parking occupancy study conducted during a 12-hour period on Jan. 14, 2020, a Tuesday. The city observed a total of 74 vehicles parked along South Crescent. The average occupancy over that stretch of time was 30%, with a peak of 42%.
Using a license plate reader, the study differentiated between commuter and resident vehicles. Of the 74 cars, 53 belonged to commuters, the study found. Eros also noted “high volume activity during the release of the middle school.” Spot counts conducted more recently in August and September found similar occupancy levels to the pre-pandemic study.
The petition was launched by resident Anoosheh Bostani, who spoke at the meeting. “The reason I initiated the petition was because we observed a significant increase in traffic on our streets, coupled by lack of available parking spaces for residents and their guests,” she said. She attributed this to a lack of enforcement, which enabled “commuters and shoppers” to park along the street for “hours at a time.”
Prompted by questioning from Vice Mayor Lili Bosse, Bostani said that she did not feel the petition would be necessary if the city enforced the one-hour limit.
Dr. Kelly Skon, Beverly Vista’s principal, spoke against the parking restrictions. “To date, neither myself nor my predecessor had been contacted or had the opportunity to meet the neighbors that have requested this parking restriction,” she said. “I am concerned and would like to understand why the recommendation is being made for all day no parking, when the report seems to focus on drop off and pickup times, which is a short window in the morning and afternoon.”
Skon committed later in the meeting to work with parents to address resident concerns.
The council members expressed discomfort with denying a petition with majority support of homeowners, though most felt that the occupancy data did not support approval of the petition. Council members voiced preference for more robust enforcement of the existing one-hour parking limit. As a compromise, the Council voted to extend discussion of the request to a future date to give the parties an opportunity to address the issues through existing mechanisms.
“Residential area streets are for residential parking,” Councilmember Lester Friedman allowed. Still, he added, “There needs to be some outlet for the parents.”
Friedman did not believe that the data indicated enough of an issue to warrant granting the petition. “I just don’t see that the parking impact of less than 40% during the day is a significant factor. I think that having the parking there, in fact, slows down people who are speeding through the street.”
“So, my real desire would be to see some sort of compromise worked out which would involve significantly more enforcement,” Friedman said.
“I’ve always been very supportive of resident generated petitions, because everybody is entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their home,” said Councilmember Julian Gold. “I’m unconvinced that if we do what’s been asked of us, we’re going to achieve that goal.”