In only a few parts of Newport Beach can someone have trouble finding free parking. Balboa Village, the commercial district near the Balboa Pier, is one of them.
Often visitors cruise nearby residential streets until they find an open space, crowding out frustrated residents.
Some of that frustration has been worked out in a new parking plan detailed at a community meeting Tuesday. The Balboa Village Citizen Advisory Panel reviewed a draft plan that would make some residential areas permit-parking only, and would make all commercial street spaces metered.
The two ideas are intended to funnel people into nearby city parking lots.
This parking plan is part of the broader revitalization effort for Balboa Village and the city's other underperforming commercial areas.
"This is important for the business district, it helps with [city] revenues, and it helps the residents," said Bruce Brandenburg, a nearby resident who helped craft the parking proposals.
Counterintuitively, there is usually an abundance of parking spaces in the Village, except on the busiest summer days when the area's streets and lots actually fill up, according to a study conducted by transportation planning firm NelsonNygaard.
The problem instead is how those spaces are used, said Brian Canepa, senior associate at NelsonNygaard.
He recommended charging an escalating amount at meters, depending on how long someone parks in a space. That would encourage more turnover in spaces, he said. Street parking would be more than the lots: $2 per hour in the summer, compared with $1.50. Prices would escalate after two hours.
Some residents at the meeting complained that meters deter visitors from the Village, especially Newport residents who have other shopping or dining options with free parking.
"It's the nuisance of it," said Howard Hall, who lives a few blocks from the Fun Zone.
Residents like Hall would also have to buy parking permits under the proposed plan. It would establish a permit system for residential parking between Seventh and Adams streets.
The estimated prices are $20 for the first hang-tag permit, $40 for the second, $60 for the third and up to $100 for the fourth. Each household would be limited to four permits, but could potentially buy guest permits.
Any new revenues derived from the parking plan could be dedicated to neighborhood improvements through a special "parking benefits district."
The citizen group still has to formally approve the plans, and forward them to the Neighborhood Revitalization Committee, which could then recommended that the City Council adopt them. The council may not hear the matter until June or July.