To ease the strain on communities impacted by parking shortages the city could look to reducing red painted curbs to create more space for vehicles.

The idea will be considered the Long Beach City Council at its Tuesday meeting when the council is expected to ask the city manager’s office to conduct a red curb evaluation in parking-impacted neighborhoods in search of spots where red paint could be safely removed to create more parking.

Long Beach’s parking issues span the entire southern stretch of the city with the city identifying portions of six of the nine council districts as parking impacted. The most severely impacted districts are in the Downtown sector where the entirety of the 2nd District and nearly all of the 1st District are considered impacted.

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The item is being supported by a group of four council members who represent communities impacted by parking issues including Councilwoman Suzie Price, who represents the area that includes Naples and Belmont Shore, two of the neighborhoods considered to be parking impacted.

A memo sent from Price’s office to the mayor and rest of the council noted that while the city has taken steps to address parking in the past, many obstacles like zoning restrictions, the number of spaces required by new development and red curb space—some of which could be eliminated—have led to residents continuing to struggle with finding parking spaces.

The study could look at the necessity and benefits of existing red curb space in parking impacted neighborhoods with the aim of reducing or removing it. She said areas with unobstructed view corridors, neighborhoods with slower speeds or four-way stops could be areas where red curb space could be reduced.

“Managing our available parking spaces in Long Beach more efficiently is a priority and could go a long way to improving our communities as well as reducing the numbers of cars on the road circling blocks only because they cannot find a parking spot,” Price wrote.

Councilman Daryl Supernaw, whose district runs from East Long Beach to just west of Cherry Avenue, said that parking related concerns regularly make their way to his office. He said that, while the city is regularly adding red curb space for safety, there are likely portions that can be removed.

He referenced a new strip of recently painted curb near the intersection of Redondo Avenue and Anaheim Street, where a new right turn lane was added in recent months. The curb was painted red in part for a bus stop but residents have complained of its length. The result has been a “double whammy” he said as business owners and residents have had to deal with loss of parking spaces.

“You’re taking away parking all the time,” Supernaw said of the intersection’s new red curb.

The city has explored a number of solutions to try and alleviate parking issues in recent years. It instituted a citywide overhaul of street sweeping times in 2016 and sought to free up some parking spaces by getting residents to clean out and park in their garages.

It explored extending metered parking into residential portions of Belmont Shore in 2017 and looked to an app-based solution where residents could list and rent available parking spaces. It has even reduced some streets to one lane in an effort to squeeze in additional diagonal parking spaces.

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However, parking issues still persist. And despite being classified as parking impacted, almost all of the city’s preferential parking districts—streets that require a permit to park on them—fall outside the the areas the city has determined are parking impacted. Removing red curb space could free up some additional spaces in areas that need them most.

Jennifer Carey, an executive assistant in the public works department, said that the cost and timeline for any audit of the city’s red curb space is still to be determined. The initiative set to be discussed by the council is new and has given staff little time to reach out to consultants about cost and length of time needed to complete the audit.

Carey said that there’s probably an opportunity to reduce red curb space but the department won’t know how much could be removed until an audit is completed. However, she added that actions the department has taken in the past like changing the angles of existing diagonal parking or replacing parallel parking with diagonal spaces could prove to be more fruitful.

“On First and Second streets we were able to add over 100 spots just by changing the angles of parking spaces,” Carey said. “Removing a few feet of red curb here and there…I don’t know that we’ll get similar results.”

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.