There is a new park in West Newport Beach: Sunset Ridge Park, on the northwest corner of Superior and PCH, on the opposite corner from the strip center with the Jacki in the Box. There are ocean views from the park that includes fields for youth sports.
You probably assume that the city built the new park for youth sports with an adjacent parking lot. No! They did not build a parking lot with the park.
So where is the parking for visitors to Sunset Ridge Park?
There is a paid city parking lot across Superior with limited spots. The park is at the corner of a very busy intersection. Other corners include a strip mall that tows cars of drivers who park there and leave, and the back wall of a private community.
There is no free street parking anywhere near the park. There is no safe area to stop a car and drop off children and their equipment either.
In the best case scenario, this forces children and their parents to park in a paid city lot across the street, drag their equipment across a busy street with heavy traffic, and climb stairs to get to the fields. The children may not need warm-ups after running that gauntlet.
The more likely scenario is that on a warm day, beachgoers may fill up the paid parking lot and parents bringing children will have to park a country mile away and haul their equipment to the game and back.
What if an emergency vehicle such as a paramedic, ambulance or police car needs to get to the park to handle a problem? Too bad! No parking lot, and a hill to climb from the street below.
In real estate, a poorly designed property that doesn’t maximize the efficiency of use is called functionally obsolescent, even if it is not near the end of its useful life. This omission endangers child safety, and is a monument to government inefficiency.
I asked Councilman Peotter, who is an architect and developer in his day job, why the city would build a park for youth sports without adequate parking.
Peotter said that the original design of Sunset Ridge Park called for access off of PCH, and new signal to be installed. This would have allowed cars orderly entrance and exit into the parking lot to be built next to the park.
Peotter said that the Banning Ranch Conservancy opposed the light and the parking lot, with the Coastal Commission. The Conservancy people thought that a parking lot entrance off of PCH would be the first step to building streets into the Banning Ranch area and then developing it. Peotter added that the Coastal Commission Staff didn’t want any approval of the parking lot to facilitate approval of a Banning Ranch development.
Newport Beach citizens shouldn’t be surprised that the Coastal Commission and Banning Ranch Conservancy ignored child welfare in favor of an anti-property rights, anti-taxpayer, anti-efficiency agenda. But the old city council should not have capitulated. Instead they should have prioritized child welfare and pressed for approval of a parking lot with the park. The Banning Ranch issue is separate.
So now, the city needs to prioritize child safety and get an adjacent parking lot built as soon as possible.