Citizens will always have complaints and concerns, but none of these criticisms are not constructive without solutions. During my two minutes to speak in front of the council and the few minutes I spoke with you afterward, I was able to address most of my concerns with this project, but did not have the time to address some solutions for these challenges.
The following is the bulk of the email I just sent the city council. These emails are sent to a general account and filtered, so who knows if it will ever make it to the desks of council members. I am sending a copy of my email to you in hopes that you and the Patch will assist in my ability to follow up with the council on some of these concerns.
The solution for parking regulation proposed by arena developers included a parking map that season ticket and online ticket holders will be provided to help direct attendees to public event lots. While this is a good idea, it is an underdeveloped one. Event parking is notorious for being expensive and people look elsewhere to cut corners. I spoke at the council meeting on behalf of the Seabright neighborhood, which does not have permit parking, and the impact that additional parking demand puts on these neighborhoods. It also impacts small businesses with private lots, which attendees will inevitably attempt to use. The burden of cost falls on these small businesses to monitor their parking and have cars towed and those who cannot afford to do so are left unaided by city enforcement.
The solution is to add one- or better yet two- more color zones to the proposed map. In addition to highlighting the public event parking lots, there needs to be the addition of "red zone" lots that are labeled as private/tow away zones to help discourage event parking in them. A second helpful addition would be another color to indicate private lots who will be open for event parking if the businesses so choose, giving them an opportunity to support and benefit financially from arena events.
Additionally, colored lines could be used on the streets. For example, green lines could represent where there is metered parking available. Yellow could indicate where there is street parking after a certain hour. Red could discourage people from parking on primarily residential streets.
While developers proposed using traffic monitors to guide cars through Santa Cruz, the regulating of pedestrian traffic was not adequately addressed. Safety and clean-up are the two tourist traffic burdens that are of concern to local residents and small businesses alike here.
The use of additional police personnel was addressed at the council meeting. In addition to this, Santa Cruz has Community Service Officers whose force needs to be utilized to regulate foot traffic, theft prevention, and public safety near the parking lots and in surrounding neighborhoods.
Areas surrounding downtown and the arena need public garbage cans at street corners. Downtown also needs additional public garbage cans and there needs to be the addition of a recycling can with them. The arena developers need to assist in funding this installation during the building of the arena.
At the meeting, I spoke of my concern for traffic during the winter "off season" from tourist traffic. Most suburbs have year-round commuter traffic and the fact that I have an "off season' from this is a privilege, not an entitlement. This is a petty concern and I know it. What is not petty, however, is the safety risk. Our tourist/traffic season revolves around our pleasant coastal weather. My "off season" from traffic is also the most treacherous time of year to drive on Hwy 17. I am grateful that the winter commute consists of typically regular commuters familiar with the freeway. Heavy fog, rain, wind, and even hail are common during this time of year and Hwy 17 is difficult enough for unfamiliar drivers during the nice summer months.
The increased traffic during the winter will impact the CHP, CALTrans, emergency response services, and hospitals on both sides of the mountain. All of these services should be considered and kept in the loop about the scheduling and timetables of arena events.
The arena's architectural design in compliance with acoustic regulation was adequately explained at the council meeting. When I addresses the council afterward, I spoke on behalf on the residents with concern for noise generated by event attendees arriving at and leaving the arena. This is a concern that arena architecture cannot address.
The addition of community service officers regulating pedestrian traffic will also help address the noise concern. The police force needs to focus on emergencies and greater safety threats. Santa Cruz residents need to know that they have both this protection and the added protection of a community service responding to their noise, trespassing, and vandalism complaints.
I am excited about the potential benefits that a properly planned arena project will bring to Santa Cruz. The key to my excitement will be the proper planning. If the council and arena developers are willing to address these concerns now and address the impact that the area will have on the greater community (beyond downtown and the Beach Flats), I believe this arena will be a wonderful project for the city. Mr. Kava, thank you for taking the time to listen to my concerns at the meeting and in this email now. I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you.
East Cliff Dr. SC 95062