Five Problems And Five Solutions To This Parking Problem in North Manhattan Beach
Chill out. You’re at the beach.
And soon, you’ll be on the beach. Unless you lose your temper and drive off in disgust.
The situation is parking and the location is the El Porto parking lot in north Manhattan Beach, CA. It’s a small one-lane lot that holds about 150 cars. And in the summer – particularly on weekends and holidays – it gets crowded. It backs up and entering cars have to line up and wait with the hope a spot becomes available.
And as the cars back up, the drivers lose it. Their tempers flair like fireworks on the Fourth of July. They yell out the window, they honk their horns and sometimes just lay on their horns. They are ignorant to the fact that there are residents living here and this is more than an annoyance to them, it is something that often prompts calls to the police to put a stop to the noise and commotion. No fights have broken out, but it’s would not be surprising were it to happen.
The situation has really heated up this summer. It boiled to the point one Saturday afternoon that someone just laid on his horn for more than a minute, then did it time and time again. In response, a resident got out her house, stuck her head in the driver’s side window and blew a whistle into the guy’s face. This was met with wide applause from others in the neighborhood. The anger is boiling on both sides of the Strand.
Perhaps it’s the fact that in our quick-action society, people are expecting instant results. But there’s no App for opening up a parking space. Drivers need to show more patience because, eventually, they will get through and well, they are at the beach!
There are five problems with the beach lot:
1.) It’s inadequate in size for the popularity of this beach and there are no alternatives for driving to El Porto. There’s virtually no residential parking – forget about this on weekends – and no other lot within walking distance.
2.) The city could instantly add a dozen spots – at very little cost and with tons of revenue potential – simply by putting in parallel spots at the south end of the lot near Rosecrans Ave. There are already a few, followed by some motorcycle spots, but there’s room for more. In fact, either get rid of, or move, those motorcycle spots. There are far more cars that need to park than motorcycles.
3.) Drivers often stop at the first sign a car may be leaving, when in fact there may be spots open further down the parking lot. Unless a car is actually ready to back out, keep driving!
4.) The lot is not wide enough. The city repaved it a few years ago – and the company did such a crappy job it was quickly repaved again – but it should have added width to it. When a car stops to wait on a spot, there is no extra lane or even any room for them to pull over, so the other cars must wait. And wait. And wait. Just a little extra room is needed, but we’re talking a pretty big expense here to extend it by widening the seawall or cutting into the wall along the Strand.
5.) The people who are are leaving do so at such a methodical pace it seems as if they are never leaving. They go back and forth to from the driver’s door to the trunk, towel off half a dozen times, then just pause and stare at the ocean. They need to step up the pace because every minute they delay, and another two or three cars are entering the lot causing cars to get backed up with those short-tempered drivers.
The El Porto parking lot provides parking to the El Porto beach, one of the best surf spots in L.A. It’s also away from the Pier, so getting to El Porto is easier than putting up with all the traffic, stop signs and pedestrians downtown. The Manhattan Beach Police have set up a tent at the entrance on weekends to turn drivers away when the lot is overcrowded, and do come down to lecture unruly drivers, but this does not solve the above five problems.
But it’s also close to Dockweiler Beach, so if people continue to lose their cool in the El Porto lot, that is where Surfside Sam suggests they take their temper and their towels.