Restored parking gets mixed reviews

Bluebird Canyon residents are at odds again — this time about whether to ax some parking spaces, not trees.

The City Council voted at the April 3 meeting for the restoration of six parking spaces on Bluebird Canyon Drive, with thanks from some neighbors and no thanks from others.

"This has pitted neighbor against neighbor," said Morningside Drive resident Mary Fegraus.

Fegraus said the proposal, which kept parking on narrow, curvy Bluebird to a minimum, forced residents there to find new places to park.

"Residents who can't park in front of their homes on Bluebird are parking on Morningside Drive," said Roseanne Bean.

A letter to the council signed by Bean and her husband, William, requested the council restore all the parking for residents who used to park in front of their homes for the full length of Bluebird Canyon Drive.

"The parking situation worked since we moved here in 1976 and back to the 1930s before that," according to the Bean's letter. "What has changed? Have there been a large number of accidents caused by parking in this area? No, there have not."

Parking began shifting when the city replaced missing "No Parking" signs on both sides of Bluebird Canyon Drive from the 1500 block to Rancho Laguna Road, as established by the council in 1992.

The Bean letter stated that the council passed the 1992 resolution, but it was never implemented and "No Parking" signs were never installed until last August.

Residents concerned about vehicle access for the public and emergency equipment in some of the narrow stretches of the road advised the city that no signs were posted, Public Works Director Steve May said.

However, a large number of residents asked the city to preserve parking. Meetings were held and city staff identified spaces to be forwarded to the Parking, Traffic and Circulation (PTC) Committee for review and recommendations.

Ten to 15 residents showed up at the PTC hearings to support restored parking, and 25 residents signed letters of support or a petition, May reported.

The committee recommended nine parking spaces. About 10 residents opposed the restoration, as did the Laguna Beach Fire Department.

"After reviewing the nine spaces recommended by the PTC, the Fire Department reevaluated and recommended six spaces," said May.

City Manager John Pietig said Fire Chief Kris Head is still concerned but can live with the six spaces.

The committee, which May said did not review the elimination of the three spaces, was directed by the council to look at parking on Morningside Drive and consider it on a regional basis, rather than as a one-street issue.

In other action, the council voted to adopt a resolution changing the time limits of the six, one-hour parking meters on the easterly side of the 1200 block of South Coast Highway to three-hour meters, and a resolution prohibiting parking for six feet in front of 1960 San Remo Drive.

All three council votes were 4-0, with Councilman Kelly Boyd absent due to illness.

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