Council Moves Forward With Parking Restrictions Surrounding CdMHS

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Parking may soon be much easier on one Corona del Mar street.

City council voted unanimously 5-0 Tuesday in approval of a resolution restricting Aralia Street, near CdM High School, to permit-only parking.

Councilwoman Leslie Daigle recused herself because she owns property within 500 feet of Aralia Street. A portion of the item regarding parking issues on nearby streets was continued so Daigle could participate. Those areas aren’t a conflict of interest, she explained, because there are more rental apartments rather than homeowners in that area and the issues are different. Mayor Keith Curry was absent.

Residents will be allowed to purchase up to three permits, which would allow them to park on the street unrestricted. All other vehicles will be subject to a one hour time limit that will be enforced between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. during school days.

All residents will be notified before the ordinance takes place. City council will have a second reading of the item again at the next meeting on Nov. 12 and residents will have another opportunity to speak. The rule will not be enforced for 30 days following the second reading.

Time limits would reduce or eliminate student parking on streets since student schedules generally only allow a break every two hours or more. Streets surrounding Newport Harbor High School have longer limits so students can move their cars during the break.

“What we’re trying to do here is say, ‘Let’s make it a one-hour period, let’s take out that possibility of students being able to leave the campus and move their cars around,’” explained traffic engineer Tony Brine.

Brine went over the history of the issue, which started in late 2011 when the Eastbluff Homeowners Association asked the city for permits or some kind of parking restrictions on Aralia Street, according to Brine.

Since then the city has done a review of the area, discussed ideas, held meetings with school officials and more, he explained.

Our Lady Queen of Angels has also been involved in discussions since their parking is also affected.

Ideas that have been discussed previously include altering the lunch schedule, issuing parking lot permits to junior grade students, and assigned spaces in the school lot.

Lunch creates congestion in the school’s Eastbluff lot, Brine explained, so many students park off-site so they are able to quickly leave and return to the area.

This is an issue that needs to be addressed by both the city and school district, councilman Tony Petros said.

There is a high demand for parking by the students and there is sufficient supply onsite, Petros said. A week’s worth of video found that there were between 30 to 60 spaces available in the school’s lots, he explained. The demand should be parked onsite, he said.

It’s not about there not being enough of a supply to meet the demand, Petros said, it’s about efficiency and utilization.

The school district is also taking action to encourage students to park onsite, Petros emphasized.

A potential issue is that students may get unauthorized permits by either copying or borrowing valid permits, Brine said.

Other issues were raised by several public speakers.

Aralia Street resident, Tara Reilly-Tung, said residents have been discussing the issue with the city and the school for several years.

“We’ve tried everything,” she said.

There is zero parking during school hours, she said.

It’s not just that they are taking up space, but also what the students are doing while in their cars when parked there, said Phil Milner, former president of the homeowner’s association.

“High school students sometimes like to do things off campus they can’t do on the campus parking lot,“ Milner said. “I think you can all imagine what they might be… It’s not something you’d want anybody doing out in front of your house.”

Loitering and litter are also both problems, he added.

“We’ve exhausted other possibilities,” he said.

Other residents also noted that students often park and block driveways.

Another resident also noted that they don’t often carpool and arrive early for activities.

Several other Aralia residents mentioned that street sweeping is very difficult to nonexistent during the school year.

Another longtime Aralia Street resident, Denise Lamb, 70, called the situation a “nightmare” and said some students are arrogant and verbally abusive. They have taken mail as well as cones she put out on the street.

“I hope to God we get some peace,” she said. “It sucks.”

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