Economic and Planning Systems (EPS), a contracted economic research firm, this week released the final results of the Reseda Opportunity Site Economic Impact Study. The study, which I funded through my discretionary funds, looked to evaluate the impact of City-owned parking lots on nearby businesses.
While all City owned lands, including these Reseda parking lots, are being looked at with regard to the feasibility of utilizing them for some form of homeless intervention or needed housing, and while these particular Reseda lots were identified by the CAO in 2016 for potential use, I wanted to make sure that these lots received an extra level of scrutiny before any projects would be considered. Specifically, I wanted to make sure that the economic impact upon local businesses and the local community that might result from the temporary or permanent loss of any of these parking lots would be considered. Without such a study, the impact of such a loss would not be part of the feasibility analysis that the City will do when considering potential projects.
You can read EPS’s full report at this link.
The study examined four City-owned parking lots: two adjacent lots on Baird Street north of Sherman Way (located in the study’s Parking Zone A), one lot on Baird Street south of Sherman Way (located in the study’s Parking Zone B), and one lot on Canby Avenue south of Sherman Way (located in the study’s Parking Zone C). It also looked at other parking options in the area, including on-street parking and privately-owned lots. The study consisted of two parts: data collection and stakeholder engagement. During data collection, the traffic consultants observed parking usage in City-owned lots as well as street parking. They also evaluated potential parking mitigation options that could alleviate any negative impact on businesses.
The results of the study show that businesses in the study’s Zone A and Zone B would be significantly impacted by partial or full removal of parking in the City-owned lots. Although the study also proposes several mitigation measures that could be used to help offset ramifications of parking losses, I don’t believe the proposed solutions would adequately alleviate the negative impacts to businesses within these zones.
The results of the study also reflect the feedback my office has received from community members. It is my belief that even a temporary or partial removal of off street public parking in either Zone A or Zone B could cause insurmountable harm to businesses within their respective zones and that redevelopment of the parking lots within either of these zones is inadvisable.
The study’s results for Zone C diverge from Zones A and B. Zone C has a higher availability of private and on-street parking options as well as much lower parking utilization rates, including in the City-owned off-street parking lot. Combined with parking mitigation efforts, the study shows in Table 13 that temporary removal of City-owned parking in Zone C would cause nearby businesses little to no harm.
While there are currently no proposed developments for any of the City-owned parking lots in Reseda, I believe that there is not enough evidence to eliminate the parking lot in Zone C from consideration as a future housing site so long as the development would require replacement parking and the nearby residential and commercial constituents continue to be consulted and their needs prioritized.
Combined with the recent amendment I introduced in City Council, the study provides an additional layer of protection for small businesses by ensuring that the commercial needs of the local Reseda community remain a priority in any potential housing development projects on these City owned parking lots. While the City remains in desperate need of additional housing units, development decisions should not be made to the detriment of small businesses. Pitting residential housing needs against small business needs does nothing to further the economic stability of a community or its residents.
As I promised when I commenced the study in 2019, I will use this study to inform policy decisions in a way that will promote economic growth and opportunity for Reseda.
I want to thank the Reseda community and especially our Reseda small business owners for their participation in the study. The insight and feedback provided by the community were critical in delivering a report that accurately reflects the importance of the City-owned parking lots to Reseda’s business community. I am committed to continuing open dialogue with the community. In that vein, I invite you to attend my next regularly scheduled Reseda Rising + update meeting on Tuesday, August 8 at 6:30 p.m. We will discuss the results of this study as well as provide updates on other ongoing Reseda projects. You can register for the virtual meeting by visiting https://bit.ly/resedaprojects080823.
Do you like this page?