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DP logoPaul N. Wyatt, Dana Point

Adequate parking within the Town Center is critical for successful revitalization of this area of Dana Point. The 2008 Town Center Plan calls for a minimum of one and preferably two public parking facilities within the Town Center to be built at the beginning of the redevelopment project. These facilities were not built and currently there are no plans to build them.

Area residents have voiced concerns that the lack of central parking causes spill-over into the residential areas adjacent to the Town Center. These concerns have quickly become reality as evidenced at the June 21 City Council meeting where a family described how their dream home has been turned into a nightmare by the parking spill-over from two new restaurants that opened nearby. If the multi-use Town Center becomes the vibrant thriving area that we all hope it will be, the City Council will see many recurrences of distressed residents unless convenient central parking is made available.

The City hoped to avoid building parking facilities by finding a way to share the parking lots of the existing restaurants and businesses in the Town Center. This approach might provide some minimal short-term relief but parking places within private parking lots, with limited hours of availability, and scattered across the Town Center will not eliminate the need for central pubic parking. Attempting to encourage customers to seek out inconvenient Town Center parking by restricting or metering parking in the adjacent residential neighborhoods will not help the Town Center businesses and will do little to reduce the impact on the adjacent residents, in fact this approach risks increasing the impact on the neighborhoods.

For a successful Town Center: all new projects must not contribute to the parking spill-over, they must provide adequate parking for all their residents, and they must provide parking for the customers and employees of their restaurants and businesses by either on-site parking or preferably by contributing the required parking spaces in a public parking facility; and convenient public parking must be available that will allow customers and visitors to come on a moment’s notice and enjoy their experience.

Work on central parking cannot begin too soon. The City of Dana Point should be actively working to acquire property at both ends of the Town Center. The empty lot where the Bates Motel stood, the Post Office truck lot, and the empty lot at the corner of Del Prado and Violet Lantern are all ideal locations. Now that the contentious Measure H and Measure I campaigns are behind us, I urge the Dana Point City Council to initiate a project to provide public parking in the Town Center.

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comments (3)

  • Once the projects are “hopefully built hoping they won’t stay vacant or be held up for years” and they’re are people in the town center I could see how you would need more adequate parking, however NOW are you serious? with the two small restaurants the capacity of the restaurants should never have any Bering on the parking as they could only hold so much! On the weekend of the 4th the busiest time we had so many parking spots to choose from it was actually sad as our town should be bustling with people. As long as there aren’t any retail shops or more restaurants, to cater to people you will never have that problem and that’s the really sad part of it all!

  • Take a walk or drive around town center around 6:45 – 7:00pm and you will see just how little available street parking there is. I walked to the Shwack Friday evening with my family and all the restaurants on Del Prado were jammed. Coastal Kitchen had an overflow crowd and their lot was full, Luciana’s lot was jammed, Jacks was packed as was their lot and the Shwack the same. There were only two open parking spot on Del Prado on this stretch and the side streets toward Santa Clara were also completely parked up. Over on PCH the Craft House was full and parking on the street behind was full. And this is in the town center that the “doom and gloom” crowd says is empty and dead. If this is the situation with yet to be developed lots, like the Dana Marina Inn site, still open I can only imagine the what it will be like when responsible development takes place. The logic of “we will build a lot when we have a problem” is short sighted to say the least. A great infrastructure like the street improvements are an incentive to development and a necessity of a thriving business district and this includes adequate parking.

    • Right on DP Local! When the city granted a resident parking district to the homeowners on Blue Lantern at the June 21st council meeting they made residents happy but just ‘kicked the nuisance can’ further down the road to other streets that are already feeling the impact from Craft House and now Coastal Kitchen. Plus no one is addressing the noise and nuisance problems created when employees get off work at late hours and want to stand around talking and smoking in front of the residences where they park because there’s no on-site parking for their cars. Residential resale property values are going to damaged because of this situation and everyone says they want more restaurants but the residents pay the ultimate price for living near them.

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