Saturday, September 20, 2008

groucho marx is against it

Our neighborhood block captain (and other NBCs in Lincoln Park, as I understand it) is canvasing the block for opinions on two proposals:

• To restrict overnight parking to those with permits

• To close permanently the restrooms in Lincoln Park and to require permits for a group to use the park.

I believe I've aired my thoughts on the first proposal. Just a wee bit.

As for the second, I confess I don't have strong opinions, mainly out of ignorance. We're far enough away from the park not to have firsthand evidence of evil-doings, and I never know which of the incommensurate reports to believe ("Father-rapers right there on the Group W bench!!!" vs. "There's no crime in Lincoln Park, just a bunch of hysterics"). [I'm fairly sure the truth is somewhere in between, but I don't know where in between.]

Anyway, I'm opening up the floor to folks for discussion of either topic. Let the family squabble commence!


Kate T in Westmont said...

Back when I lived in Pasadena, one of the many restrictions on How-the-public-side-of your-house-looks-from-the-street was overnight parking. If you needed to park overnight, you needed to pay $25 for a permit. This kept the streets clear at night and insured that no inoperable Piece of Junk sat in front of someone's house too long. It also meant that no creepy strangers sat in their cars into the wee hours of the morning, conducting drug or prostitution business, making noise, littering or just casing the joints. The parking enforcement officers cruised the residential streets at night and gave tickets freely, big hefty tickets.

I liked it. I also liked the ordinance prohibiting people from parking their cars in their front yards, changing their oil or otherwise performing repairs in the street and storing unsightly pieces of vehicles in plain sight in their front yards.

It made that city a nicer place to live.

I don't live in Lincoln Park, but I think this type of restriction should be city-wide here.

In my Pomona neighborhood, there is no such restriction and even though every house has a 2-car garage and driveway parking for 3 to 4 vehicles, one house on the block boasts 7 vehicles, most of them in the street and on the sidewalk. And at least two others have some form of RV or schoolbus-like thing out front, too, both day and night.

When I look out from my front yard, I'd like to see an attractive street with well-kept street-facing properties. I'd like to feel that my neighbors all care about how the street looks and how safe it is.

I know that while many of them do care, there are always a few who don't mind if the passing parade can see the ugly side of their lives and possessions.

But I bet a $25 - or more - overnight parking pass would at least get them to sit up and take notice.

Anonymous said...

The parking permit thing makes sense; closing the bathroom does not.

Kate Thornton said...

I think the restroom closure is extreme - how about periodic checks of it by Parks & Rec and police? The restrooms could certainly be locked at night, too.

As to permits for large groups to use the park, that might keep it from being overrun by several large groups on the same day. It might also keep the park more friendly for small groups and individuals who like to enjoy it, especially with children.

I think I'd want to know what a "large group" means, though - is it more than 4 people? More than 10? A real organization or employer or civic group?

Just wondering

Kate T in Westmont, aka
Kate Thornton (finally remembered my Blogger ID)

Anonymous said...

Question: Is the proposed measure to require permits for overnight parking intended to affect ONLY the immediate neighborhood around the park or the entire historic district?

meg said...

Anon II: I could be wrong, but I think the proposal is coming from folks on Alvarez, so I'm guessing that it's meant to cover at least the southern portion of the historic district, and possible the whole thing.

Can anyone with mo' betta information weigh in?

Anonymous said...

I investigated the whole parking permit some time ago. I was told that if the vast majority of the residents on my street agreed to it, the city would enforce it. I don't remember the particulars (price of permits, percentage of agreement required, etc.) I was looking into it because my neighbors have 9 cars and tend to take over the street. Not the biggest problem in the world, but kind of an annoyance.

calwatch said...

Of course, since I've never seen my neighborhood block captain (even at the last neighborhood watch meeting, she failed to show up so I could introduce myself to her), I couldn't give me opinion to them, but here are my thoughts on the matter:

On the overnight parking, I really don't like that idea, for reasons that Meg has stated. I park my car overnight all the time because another member of the household works the night shift and I leave for work very early. I am not going to wake myself up, nor the neighbors, at 2 a.m. or 5:45 a.m. in the morning just to play musical cars. So I park on the street and they park in the driveway, and I just pull away from the street when it's time to go to work.

Better enforcement of the 72 hour no parking rule (PC 58-173) would be helpful and sufficient to get rid of junkers parked on the street. The chalking is fairly innocuous and could be done by cops in the middle of the night. That solves the problem of the junkers. The other issue is guests and visitors from out of town, and the hassle of buying one of those temporary overnight permits from a machine at the police station like in other cities. It might work for Temple City or Claremont, but they have much more off street parking than Pomona's houses do.

With regards to the bathroom situation, the current situation of locking the bathrooms at night, when the park is closed, should be adequate. I think that permits are, once again, a step towards overregulation and nanny-stateism (which is somewhat unprecedented here in Pomona, where I thought we had more important things to do than the folks in Claremont). To alleviate the need for folks to camp out at 5 a.m. and block off their barbecue pit, we can take reservations for those areas, from Pomona residents. That would be fair. But if someone wants to hula-hoop or play a game of touch football in the park, why should the city care?

Pride in Garfield Park said...

I believe the bathrooms here at Garfield Park are permanently locked. The little bathroom building now serves as a back-rest for people who look like they're up to no good (it's the little building near the Holt and Mountain View corner); I wonder if the building could be knocked down if it cannot be used for the intended purpose -- no sense in it providing a visual obstruction between the ruffians and the cops and neighbors.

Parking isn't allowed on the park-side of the streets from sundown to sunrise -- same times when it is illegal to be in the park. As for the residential side of the streets around the park, the street sweeper comes by regularly, so all the cars get moved. I'd really hate to legislate no overnight parking for all the great reasons already shared. That said, I do sometimes wish folks did more to highlight the many beautiful aspects of the neighborhood (and, no, the year-round Christmas decorations don't count -- especially when accompanied by Halloween decorations).

REN said...

I can see getting a permit for a group of people they do it at other parks here in Pomona,and permit for over night parking as long as you live there yes I can see that.and as far as closing the bathrooms I dont think so they should close at 10:00 pm we need to think about the pubics health hate to see someone doing there thing behind a tree or bush.

Ed said...

Are we seeing a new feature?.......Meg's weekly demagogy. Not a criticism since I'm rather enjoying them.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the parks paid for by the residents of Pomona (oops, I mean ALL the residents of Pomona). Screening park users by their bladder capacity or housing proximity isn't exactly Pomona-like. Gee, I live closer to the park than those people, so I'll get to stay longer. Does it really matter if a kid lives down the street or across the city? Shouldn't they both equally enjoy a public facility? BTW when people have to go, they will go, so any guesses where that might be.

I don't see any reason why the picnic area shouldn't have a reservation component to it and given the space constraints, parties of a certain size should be required to secure a permit. Pavilion rentals at Ganesha Park run $20 for 48 person capacity. As far as jumpers, I don't have enough information to render an opinion.

Parking? If I have one request, lets figure out a policy for the whole city and say enough with these street-by-street decisions. Lets see, if I have the misfortune of living on a street that bans parking, I can just park my car on the next street. Look no further than street-sweeping to see the illogical result of mini-democracies determining public policy. If money could be found in the budget, weekly street sweeping with a requirement that cars be moved could eliminate the junkers, not ask the police to arm themselves with chalk, and reduce our ocean pollution contribution in one swoop. BTW, downtown Pomona gets swept twice a week.

LinknPark said...

Just to throw my two cents in, the multiple day street sweeping idea city wide isnt a bad idea. It could easily funded by the ticketing parking enforcement could do the day of the sweeping. Problem solved. Lets see how long derelict cars, RV's and the like sit out when they are getting ticketed twice a week. Go Ed!

Pride in Garfield Park said...

The Garfield Park Neighborhood Watch met this evening. We talked about the bathrooms in Garfield Park. It turns out they are unlocked during the day (I didn't know this), but the park patrol locks them each evening. Kids at the meeting say it is scary to go in there. We asked, "What do you see?" And they said, "People smoking and then they flush stuff down the toilet." Sound suspicious? I hate that the little ones (well, all of us really) can't count on being able to use a safe restroom.

We also inquired about the possibility of (1) demolishing the little park building near the corner of Holt and Mountain View since it serves no purpose other than providing a place to hide behind when engaging in suspicious activity, and (2) dispersing the cluster of picnic tables that are currently near the corner of Pasadena and Mountain View in hopes of undermining the "club house" effect the tables serve daily for people who don't seem to be up to any good.

Anonymous said...

All residents may pay for and have access to all Pomona parks, however, different parks can be designed and built for different users. A park may have multiple ball fields, large picnic areas etc. These type of sites will have large parking areas and ideally multiple restrooms. Some sites a playground, some not. Some parks are built as "passive" meaning they are without sports facilities. Some may be built to provide use mostly to a neighborhood. A "Neighborhood Park" may mean the site has no parking lot, sports fields Sr. Cntr.
restrooms, etc. That does not mean a park is not open to everyone, it does mean that all parks may not suite the needs of all park system users. With this in mind I think it is reasonable to consider removing the Lincoln Park restroom.

After being involved in the maintenance of about 25 municipal sites for many years, I will not let my kids near a park restroom.

Ed said...

I was making a subtle attack on the "neighborhood park" concept when I posted my other comment. I'd agree with Anon's arguments that not all activities are appropriate at all parks and I doubt too many would argue for a soccer field or baseball diamond at a park the size of Lincoln Park. But a bathroom?

I might question whether investing $50,000-100,000 to put in a bathroom at the location makes sense, but we already have one. Should THIS city really be removing public amenities (or any other building) without first exhausting all other options?

Having watched the Pomona Parks security patrol stop by Lincoln Park, would anyone like to guess whether the officer actually gets out of his vehicle to check the bathroom or even walk around the park. Perhaps having the police also take a quick look in the bathrooms might be a wise choice.

And to offer a different perspective on Anon's municipal site experiences, I've been a parent for twenty years and when a desperate situation arises, I'm appreciative of any open and accessible bathroom.

FYI The Claremont AYSO program needs to use port-a-potties at some locations because the city either doesn't have a bathroom or the school doesn't allow access. Let's at least stay ahead of Claremont on the issue of publicly accessible toilets.

calwatch said...

I think the Lincoln Park restroom is fine the way it is myself, and would be opposed to it being removed.