Parking Problems

The project would have a tremendous impact on available parking on any street or side street in the project’s vicinity.

  • The developer is proposing to build an inadequate number of parking spaces for tenants. The current plan appears to provide 141 parking spaces. But 27 of those are reserved for commercial use, leaving only 114 spaces for 151 residential units. That’s 35 spaces fewer than would be needed JUST FOR 1 space per residential unit. And what is going to happen in those units where the occupants have more than 1 vehicle? Those cars will be parked on nearby streets.
  • Mindful of the ongoing transition to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and the emerging policy guidelines encouraging that transition (most-recently, the new California Executive Order requiring all new cars and passenger trucks sold to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035), it’s shocking (pun intended) that there are only 2 “EV capable” slots serving the entire 151-unit development. Note that recent high-density developments in SF have included roughly 15% EV-charger-equipped parking spaces.
  • Nearly all of this parking will be underground, requiring excavation of the entire parcel to a depth of about 20’, with as-yet-unknown impacts on sub-surface groundwater flows and geologic integrity of the site and surrounding neighborhood (see Hydrology and Geology for more information).
  • As if that isn’t bad enough, we pose the question: Will the on-site parking, already less than needed (and required by code), be provided as a free benefit to tenants? It doesn’t appear so. In fact, it appears that the developer is proposing “unbundled” parking for tenants that will cost — amazingly — $3,600 per year per space. [Iman Novin, developer, during YIMBY presentation, December 10, 2020]. While this relieves the burden of subsidizing parking from those who don’t own cars, obviously, many residents will instead opt to park on already overcrowded neighboring streets for free, rather than pay the parking up-charge.
  • Further, the tenant parking that is available is “stacked,” in racks that lift cars above each other. The proposed stackers are tandem – that is, two cars deep as well as two cars high. This is an unusual configuration that raises a number of questions:
    • Who operates this complicated system? Residents or a (presumably) full-time parking concierge?
    • How does this system function when the power is out? With public-safety power-shutoffs (PSPS) increasingly frequent, how will residents safely park or evacuate when there is no power?
    • How do these stackers accommodate larger-format work vehicles (large pickups with racks; vans; etc.)? Don’t these residents deserve full access to safe, controlled parking for their work vehicles (mindful of the valuable equipment that may be inside them)?
    • Finally, how do these tandem stackers accommodate EV charging and ADA compliance
      • While considering these important questions, please take a minute to view this video of the system proposed by the developer.
  • Adding vehicles related to residents’ guests, retail customers, bar customers, delivery trucks, etc., would only compound the problem.
  • Many of these folks will end up parking on neighborhood streets, further cluttering already narrow and heavily-trafficked Branciforte Avenue, which is also a bicycling artery. This will impact cyclist safety by pushing cyclists closer to traffic, due to the parked cars, resulting in more car/bike collisions and potential cyclist injuries.
  • Finally, with the city understandably encouraging a large number of Auxiliary Dwelling Units in recent years, there is less street parking available in many Santa Cruz neighborhoods. Picture, if you will, residents of this development circling neighborhood blocks — perhaps at an increasingly high rate of speed — in a futile search for a parking spot that often won’t be there and then ending up back at a near-failing intersection with nowhere to go (see Transportation for more information).
  • This quest for parking on nearby city streets could also be especially dangerous on Belvedere Terrace, the street closest to this proposed development. Not only would the street become the first place that tenants from this development go in search of a parking space, the street’s design as a cul-de-sac would mean that frustrated motorists would do a U-turn at the end and often speed off the street when no spaces were found. (This already happens with motorists who realize that the cul-de-sac is not a thoroughfare.)