City Council extends hours of parking enforcement in downtown Alhambra

Lola Armendariz addresses City Council on Jan. 27. | Photo by Alfred Dicioco1Lola Armendariz addresses City Council on Jan. 27. | Photo by Alfred Dicioco

Alhambra City Council voted Tuesday to extend parking enforcement times in downtown Alhambra to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Extending the hours of parking enforcement will result in faster turnover of cars, according to Assistant to the City Manager Chris Paulson, and help meet parking demands once the lot on First and Main streets closes for the construction of the Mosaic Parking Structure, scheduled for the end of January.

Parking enforcement will be extended on First, Second, and Fourth streets between Woodward and Commonwealth avenues, and Third Street from Woodward to Main. Staff will be evaluate the parking limit times again one year after the completion of the new parking structure.

Director of Public Works Mary Chavez and Administrative Services Director Martin Ray also updated Council on the city's Strategic Plan, a set of three-year goals and six-month objectives for city staff. Chavez gave an update on historic neighborhood signs — 23 of 27 have been installed — while Ray presented a beautification plan for Alhambra Golf Course on Almansor Street, which involves an online resident survey.

Resident Lola Armendariz addressed City Council on Monday and asked why council members have not yet discussed a disaster preparedness meeting for residents, an item on the Strategic Plan. Armendariz also added that the city's last disaster preparedness meeting was in 2007. 

"You're not keeping us properly informed on emergency preparedness," Armendariz said. "You're falling down on the job on that as far as I'm concerned."

Mayor Stephen Sham said he was present at the 2007 meeting and that the event had a low turnout. "Participation is very low. That is why maybe we'll consider going to neighborhoods, going to the areas to give out information," Sham said, adding that he will meet with the police and fire chiefs in the upcoming weeks to discuss the meeting.

Weren't able to attend the meeting? You can watch it here. City Council usually meets every second and fourth Monday of the month on the second floor of City Hall: 111 S. First St., Alhambra, Calif., 91801. The next meeting will be a study session on Feb. 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the on 101 S. First St.

 

About the author: Alfred Dicioco

Alfred is a regular contributor for Alhambra Source, Inquirer, and Rappler. He graduated with a degree in Theatre and Film from the University of Southern California. Follow him on Twitter: @freddieknows

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"Chavez gave an update on historic neighborhood signs — 23 of 27 have been installed..." While this is great, it does no good if the historic homes are demolished without having ANY protection measures. Currently, there is a beautiful, 2-story American Colonial Revival home that was built in 1924 was purchased in October of last year by the adjacent retirement home, and is fast-tracked for demolition thanks to our "business-friendly City (i.e., contribution$ by local intere$t$). They took down 2 massive, fully-mature trees on the property and, with the cooperation of our City government, have told surrounding residents (at least those still on single-family properties) "tough s***."

No, I wasn’t implying that. I just wanted to know if you were familiar with the peculiarities in and around the Main St. area. Living here would give one that insight. Suggesting that this parking structure is unnecessary tells me you probably aren’t (familiar). Many people who support this project (residents near Main St., business owners, city officials/staff, commuting patrons, Alhambra PD Traffic Enforcement, etc. etc. etc.) are very familiar with the parking issues here. It would help if you took the time to learn more about the issues. Working behind the scenes may be a good strategy, but it helps to know what's in front as well...

Where I live in the city is immaterial. I am sure you are not implying that I must live in the CBD Main St. area to have a valid or the right to an opinion.

We may have spoke in person before. Some people call me an agitator. I prefer to call myself a stimulator. I bring up things that the "establishment" does not want the citizens of Alhambra to know. I work behind the scenes. As you well know, we are not always informed as to where and to whom all our city money goes.

I find it interesting that someone would conclude that it will increase business in Pasadena. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they just blurted out a city.

I don't live in or near Main St., but the times when I do visit this area I never considered parking on Main St. or in surrounding residential streets. I've had luck finding parking at one of the structures (by Edwards or by City Hall). It's not that far of a walk from there; my wife and I watched movies at Edwards (Garfield/Main) and afterwards walked to Fosselman's to get ice cream. If I were a resident in this area, I would want visitors to park in designated lots or structures. Every Halloween my street is FILLED with cars parked on the street and sometimes they leave barely enough room for my car to access my own driveway. So I feel some empathy for the residents near Main St.

Pasadena is considering expanding the sidewalks of Colorado Blvd in Old Town (thus narrowing the street) to make it more walkable and allow for improved outdoor dining. This will push all street parking, which are metered to begin with, to the parking garages dotted around, all of which are paid. The trend seems to be towards expanded sidewalks and bike paths and less room for street-level parking (or pushing them to structures). Whether these ideas or projects will work, I'll wait and see, but setting one's arguments in proper context goes a long way towards civilized discourse.

Short memory? No, you haven't answered. Or maybe you are misunderstanding me. Do you live in or near the CBD Main St. area? Yes, I understand you are an Alhambra resident as you mentioned a week or two ago - but I didn't ask you if you live in this city, I asked you if you live near this area.

Actually I answered your question a week or two ago in a previous post. Short memory?

A Friend,

With all due respect, I’ve asked you several times if you live in this area and you never answered. It’s clear that you probably don’t live here or consider this question even relevant. Regardless, I live in this area and walk the streets enough to know that what you are saying doesn’t reflect the whole reality here. For every empty store you claim to “pop up”, I can say there has been new ones to replace them and even more coming our way. For example, the crowded Gen Korean BBQ has taken over the empty corner where Tony Roma once served. Dip’s Grill has moved in and replaced Medium Rare. In addition, several weeks ago I saw two banners at the storefront located at The Main St. Collection (mixed-use built by City Ventures) showing two new eateries coming our way: Nancy’s Pizza and Al’s Beef Sandwiches. Their websites are:

http://www.nancyspizza.com/index.asp

http://alsbeef.com/

What’s interesting is that according to the websites, these chains are from the east (Illinois), and the closest stores here in California are in Chino and San Jose. So basically, unless I’m mistaken since new locations “pop up” often, this Alhambra location will be the first for Los Angeles County. About two days ago I walked by and two workers were working on the interior framing for these restaurants, so they are definitely on track to open. Oh by the way, I didn’t even mention the new All-State office, new tour/vacation agency, and Chase Bank that has already opened here. And at this new bank, I talked with one of the workers and he told me Chase is ready to expand to the adjoining space should business grow more.

Furthermore, once Alhambra Pacific Plaza and Casita Zen opens up, there will even be more businesses along Main St. Each project will have the required parking spaces for the commercial/retail stores, but this amount will not guarantee that every patron who shop/eat/entertain/do-business here will have a parking spot reserved for them. That’s where this new structure will come in, especially for the businesses on the northwest corner of Main St. and Garfield Ave. If you had paid attention to the city council meeting on December 9th, 2013 the property owner, David Wong presented his project at this corner called “Plaza Leon”. His proposal will include demolishing the existing building and constructing a two-story building. During the meeting, the current tenants of Mr. Wong (Crane Sushi, Honey Badger Café –read the Yelp reviews on horrendous parking here, etc.) gave support for this project as Mr. Wong stated they were willing to move back in once the new building was completed. More important, this new parking structure will also finally provide the much needed parking for the corner restaurant space (where Hop Woo was). With the new proposal by Mr. Wong, the additional second floor of restaurant/retail space will substantiate the need for this new parking structure further.

This isn’t even the end of it, A Friend. I’ve been mainly discussing the West Main St. Corridor along Main St. west of Garfield Ave. Sure, there are empty stores east of Garfield along Main, but there are changes coming up in the pipeline. Many people have complained about the closed stores at the Alhambra Place (old Mervyns site), well… Shea Properties last year presented to the city their project to redevelop the area with retail and housing. I was there at this meeting which was held at the Alhambra Library at the Ruth Hall room. The renderings, although preliminary, illustrated a project much better than the huge parking lot and closed stores existing now. Will you find another reason to hate this project too? Following Shea’s presentation, property developer Norman Chang presented his 4-story mixed-use project at the corner lot where Wells Fargo once operated. This bank relocated on Main St. where the Hollywood Video store was located. Hopefully, with the city council’s suggestions, Mr. Chang will have a great project that will promote more walkability in the areas around Main St.

As you can see, the city isn’t perfect, but it runs on parallel dimensions that must address housing needs, business opportunities, and a tax base for city services in a growing community. Parking is only one element and hearing you talk-down on the downtown parking issue only tells me you are not seeing the entire picture. I see your concerns about the city “not listening” to you. Perhaps it’s more of “not following” your wishes or desires. I too have wishes and desires, but all of us must work together to focus on addressing the needs of everybody. If you have time, you may want to attend the city council meetings and talk with other stakeholders – share your concerns with different people (not just within your sphere of influence) and participate in city activities. A while back ago, I attended the Envision Alhambra 2035 event at Almansor Park. At this event, I participated in surveys/questionnaires and talked with the mayor and city manager regarding my concerns and ideas. I don’t know what active-role you take to address your concerns A Friend, but there are various opportunities out there. And remember, getting your voice “heard” also means working with others who may have different needs.

Given that there is a new empty store front popping up every week in downtown Alhambra, I find it hard to believe that there is a parking problem.

A Friend,

I'm sure no one is a big fan of parking tickets. Did you go to the city council meeting and address this? Our CBD is growing, just like the rest of L.A. and the entire world. While I agree parking tickets may not be the best answer, it is still a mitigating measure that perhaps needs to be done. Do you have a better idea? The parking issues here are the reason why the new parking structure is being built in the first place; to provide more parking for customers and prevent more illegal parking as our downtown grows.

As I asked you before, do you even live in this area to understand what's going on here?

Once again the city council manages to make things more difficult for citizens awhile simultaneously adding money to the city coffers. I'm not sure how more parking tickets will enhance evening business downtown. Perhaps it will increase business in...Pasadena.

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