The Mission Hills Business Assn. has developed what city officials describe as an innovative solution to a perennial parking problem in the business district near the intersection of Washington and Ibis streets and Washington Place--known by merchants and residents as the Washington Street Triangle.
The association hopes to raise more than $20,000 to transform the black-topped and weed-covered Washington Street Triangle into a landscaped, 11-car parking lot that will be maintained through parking meter revenues, according to association President Caesar Oriol.
Oriol, a Park West real estate agent, and Erick Ricci, a civil engineer, have been shepherding the novel, meter-financed maintenance proposal through various city departments for two years.
Although the City of San Diego did not object to transforming the triangle into a landscaped, metered lot, the plan stalled after the financially strapped Park and Recreation Department balked at absorbing the maintenance costs.
That's when Oriol and Ricci thought of financing the upkeep of the lot through parking meter revenues.
"It's innovative," said Dave Toomey, assistant director of city parks, who credited the association with developing a plan that would "make use of a public right of way that's being wasted right now."
Although parking meter revenues are funneled into the city's general fund, the association won city approval to divert about $1,200 of the $6,240 that the meters are expected to produce annually into a special maintenance fund.
Oriol and Ricci said the association now must raise the $20,000 needed to construct the parking lot and install the landscaping.
Oriol, a 36-year-old who remembers walking across the triangle on his way to Grant School, believes the landscaping is long overdue.
"This isn't Bel Air or Beverly Hills, but we can have something better-looking than that triangle," Oriol said. "After all, that triangle is the first thing people see when they come up Washington from the west."