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Traffic Bottleneck on Coast Highway

November 21, 1985

Your Pacific Coast Highway article (Nov. 7) clearly identifies the cause of the evening bottleneck--Hermosa Beach officials and Pacific Coast Highway merchants.

I've suffered through the Hermosa Beach congestion on Pacific Coast Highway for 30 years. The purpose of strangling traffic flow in this area is so blatantly obvious that I long ago vowed that I'd never patronize a merchant along that strip. I'm sure many others feel the same.

Opponents to opening the west-side parking lane to rush-hour travel drop hints of their thinking, like "limited access highway" and "turning Pacific Coast Highway into a freeway." If they believe a freeway is the solution, where would they like it built, on Prospect Avenue or Valley Drive?

Let's face it, if a tunnel under or bridge over Hermosa Beach were proposed, these same merchants would scream that their drive-by trade volume would be destroyed.

George Priamos claims that limiting parking will "take money out of the merchants' pockets." In fact, it would be ending a public subsidy these merchants have enjoyed for decades. Most of their competitors have long ago shouldered the business cost of providing off-street parking for their patrons. But the Pacific Coast Highway merchants insist on a continuation of free, curbside parking that is costing the motoring public $530,000 annually. That's over $8,000 for each of the 66 parking spaces. And many of the spaces . . . are occupied by nearby apartment residents.

It's interesting to note that when Hermosa Beach found that parking problems were strangling their "major commercial district" in the heart of town, they found both the funds and the space to build public parking lots. But their concern never extended to merchants along Pacific Coast Highway. Now, when there is talk of restricting parking on Pacific Coast Highway, that area is labeled their "major commercial street," after they've ignored it for years.

Priamos threatens to organize merchants along Pacific Coast Highway to show "that opposition to parking restrictions transcends city borders." Hopefully, that will cause commuters to organize a Pacific Coast Highway Users Committee to show that imposing such restrictions has appeal that transcends city borders.

A highway user group might suggest a boycott of all Pacific Coast Highway merchants. If successful, it might drive them to their knees. Conversely, if it had no effect on their business, it might prove that commuter patrons contribute so little to their overall business that imposing parking restrictions would have little effect.

Finally, I would suggest a couple of corrections to the article. First, the customer in the accompanying picture will not be affected by the proposed parking restrictions on the west side of Pacific Coast Highway because he's legally parked at mid-day on the east side in the newly striped third lane created by restricting morning parking.

Secondly, there's frequent reference to Pacific Coast Highway serving Torrance, Redondo Beach and "the Hill" (Palos Verdes Peninsula). There's no mention that it also serves the burgeoning residential population of Hermosa Beach. Since they don't all work within their city, they too must drive to work, through their own and other cities.



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