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CdM BID Tackles Parking Problem

A group of Corona del Mar leaders discussed a popular hot topic for the village this week: Parking.

Corona del Mar Business Improvement District held their monthly board meeting Thursday morning in the CdM conference room at the Newport Beach Civic Center.

Parking was among the various CdM-related topics the group discussed.

Chairman of the board, Bernie Svalstad, said he wanted to “zero in on all the aspects of what we’re trying to achieve.”

There have been studies, ideas, draft designs and more, but they need a solution. It just keeps going in circle, Newport Beach Mayor Ed Selich noted.

They’re just not there yet, Svalstad said.

“We know we have a problem,” he said. “We’re working on it.”

The implementation of all of their parking goals is not easy, Svalstad commented.

They need an expert to not just collect the data and do a study, but to take that information and create a plan to solve the problem, said Corona del Mar BID board member Scott Laidlaw. Someone with planning knowledge, strategic skills, and similar background experience, he explained.

“I can see a way to get there,” Laidlaw said. But, “it would take somebody to devote a tremendous amount of time and energy to figuring out that strategy.”

There are a lot of factors at play here and they don’t have the power or the money to just go out and do something that would actually mitigate the parking problems, said Jim Walker, another BID board member.

“I feel, as everybody (does), frustrated,” Walker said.

They need a “deal guy,” Selich added, a person to talk to the businesses and all the different parties involved and put together, at the very least, Memorandum of Understanding agreements regarding possibility of a shared parking plan.

A more specific program needs to be prepared before approaching the property owners, Laidlaw pointed out. They need a clear and simple four-point strategy, he noted.

“Then we just go out and we work the strategy,” Laidlaw said.

If one point is failing, they can adjust the strategy as needed.

There also needs to be incentives for the property owners to share their parking, he added.

The shared parking idea is just a portion of the overall plan, not the entire solution, they all agreed.

“That’s not going to solve all of our problems,” Laidlaw said.

The idea of shared parking needs to be looked into further, Svalstad added.

Several property owners have expressed interest in creating additional parking and the possibility of a shared plan, Laidlaw said.

Walker mentioned that he was looking into open a dialogue and finding common ground with Sherman Gardens.

At a previous CdM BID meeting, the group discussed the possibility of building a parking structure at the corner of Dahlia Avenue and E. Coast Highway.

Board members also discussed using the parking lot near Bandera.

After gathering information from the city, BID member and CdM Chamber President Linda Leonhard found that the parking lot adjacent to Bandera is underutilized.

It’s a big lot and could somehow be better utilized, Svalstad said. That lot is often used by employees, Selich noted.

There might be other lots available to purchase and use how they need, others agreed.

Shared parking was just one of the ideas the group mentioned, other parking-related topics included using credits for on-street parking for businesses and metered parking.

The group also discussed holiday decorations, the landscape and hardscape improvement project, tree maintenance, website design, marketing and more.

For more information, visit newportbeachca.gov/i-am-a/business/economic-development/business-improvement-districts-bids/corona-del-mar-bid and cdmchamber.com/cdm_bid.

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