Costa Mesa considers how to improve city’s parking and pedestrian landscapes

Visitors walk along a path at the artificial wetlands at Fairview Park in Costa Mesa. The city is moving ahead with crafting a pedestrian master plan.
(File Photo)

Costa Mesa is looking to improve two top quality-of-life issues for its residents: walkability and parkability.

On a pair of 5-0 votes Tuesday, with members Allan Mansoor and Sandy Genis absent, the council approved funding to move ahead with crafting a pedestrian master plan and conducting a citywide parking study.

For the parking study, which is expected to take about six to nine months to complete, the council approved a $132,000 contract with Dixon Resources Unlimited — a company that has previously completed similar studies in Anaheim and Laguna Beach, according to staff.

The study will assess Costa Mesa’s residential permit parking program, which restricts street parking to those with resident or guest permits in neighborhoods that successfully lobby to participate.

The effort will entail collecting stakeholder input, analyzing existing and future parking conditions and identifying alternative parking management strategies, according to a city staff report.

While he supported the study, Mayor Pro Tem John Stephens emphasized that areas with known parking issues should be prioritized and addressed immediately.

“Phooey on the studies,” he said. “Let’s solve the problem.”

Other council members clamored to support the study and point out problem areas in town, such as near Paularino Elementary School and Vanguard University.

“Parking is a big part of quality of life,” Councilman Manuel Chavez said. “It will make everyone happier.”

The pedestrian master plan was cited as another way to tackle a quality-of-life issue.

By approving a contribution of $75,000 to match a grant from the Southern California Assn. of Governments, the council took the next step toward its goal of making Costa Mesa a more walkable city.

“There’s a crying need for a pedestrian-friendly Costa Mesa,” said Flo Martin, a longtime resident and member of the city’s Bikeway and Walkability Committee. “Sidewalks are dangerous — they’re cracked and they’re broken. ... Many streets don’t have sidewalks.”

Council members agreed and said such a plan would check many boxes for designing a resident-friendly pedestrian infrastructure. The scope of the plan will include “preparing and implementing a public outreach strategy, public workshops and stakeholder engagement, walk audits, recommended pedestrian improvements and creating an implementation strategy,” according to a city staff report.

Purchasing power approved

The five council members present also supported giving more authority to the city manager with the goal of clearing hang-ups in the city’s purchasing and project processes.

The council voted to give the city manager signing authority on purchases under $50,000. Anything above that threshold will be subject to council review and approval.

In another 5-0 vote, the council also agreed to allow the city manager to be the final authority on whether to accept that a public project is finished.

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