A plan under study by the City of Santa Monica to alter traffic flow and create diagonal parking in the trendy Montana Avenue business district has met with opposition from residents.
Homeowner Mackenzie Waggaman this week initiated a petition drive against a plan being studied by the city's Parking and Traffic Engineering Department that would narrow Montana Avenue from two lanes to one each way between Lincoln Boulevard and 20th Street. The area gained on each side of the street would be used for diagonal, metered parking and would give the crowded commercial center an additional 100 parking spaces.
Waggaman, whose petition drive has received support from Concerned Homeowners of Santa Monica, said that he and his neighbors fear that diagonal parking would add to congestion on Montana Avenue and that many drivers would turn onto side streets, creating hazards for pedestrians, especially children.
"I don't belong to any organization," Waggaman said. "I'm not out to beat any drums. I just want to make a safe place for my kids."
According to City Manager John Jalili, merchants along the thoroughfare asked the city to investigate ways to alleviate the Montana parking problem. Santa Monica's director of general services, Stanley E. Scholl, said: "We believe that almost 100% of the merchants want (diagonal parking).
"Support by residents is unknown. A few are supporting it and a few are against it. Most have not been heard from yet, and we haven't had time to contact them."
Jean Sedillos, co-chairman of Concerned Homeowners said: "We don't feel they should try to solve a commercial parking problem by dumping it into the residential neighborhood."
Scholl said that similar parking designs have been successfully implemented in San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Palo Alto, Oxnard and on Larchmont Boulevard in Los Angeles.
He emphasized that the plan is "strictly under study" and would become a proposal depending upon "whether residents and merchants want it."
A key element, he said, is the amount of through traffic that would filter onto side streets. If it appears to be substantial, he said, "we would not recommend the plan."