Claremont Insider: Punish the Innocent, Reward the Guilty: The Claremont Way

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Punish the Innocent, Reward the Guilty: The Claremont Way

No Parking

Anyone with business downtown, or near the Colleges, knows that parking in certain areas of Claremont has reached infarct status. Because of the continued good planning decisions over the years, Village visitors commonly park as far away as College Avenue as do visitors to the Pomona campus, CMC, Scripps, and the Graduate School blocks to the north. We wonder how many gallons of gasoline are wasted circling, say, City Hall, trying to find a place to light. Or how many cars circumnavigate Honnold Library several times before parking over near 8th and College and walking blocks to their business on one of the campuses.

Part of the City response is to step up enforcement of parking time limitations. City Manager Jeff Parker, in a recent "City Manager Update", cheerily reports, "This past month [December] the new parking enforcement officer issued almost 600 parking tickets." ...And "Happy Holidays" to you, too.

We heard from a prominent Village businessman, "...and you have that Nazi [his word, not ours] handing out parking tickets to our customers like candy. I saw her write four in three minutes..."

We don't mind city government doing its part to relieve congestion; what we do mind is city government spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars--or maybe even millions of dollars--failing to do so; and that is what has happened.

Now we read (see page 2 of the link) that "It is anticipated that staff will be reviewing the possible implementation of residential permit parking in the following areas:

+Via Santa Catarina, Via Montevideo, and Highpoint Drive
+Streets adjacent to the Claremont Colleges
+Oberlin Avenue and Cornell Avenue, near the Village Expansion

The Courier reports that permit-only parking is also being considered for Claremont High School, The BC Cafe, and Baughman Avenue located south of Foothill.

Can there be any doubt that the problems at the Colleges, in the Village, and near the Village Expansion are the direct result of the failure of City leaders and City Staff adequately to plan for and require adequate convenient parking? And now that Claremont is practically covered with buildings, we have the ever-helpful Ginger Elliott, Claremont's Intermeddler-in-Chief, writing, "Underground parking should be encouraged in the in the institutional zones where the demand cannot now be met." Thanks.

We do hear, though, that Pomona College might gut Big Bridges and put a parking structure inside, keeping the exterior facade to evoke the idea of an auditorium rather than some dull-witted, sterile, academic support structure similar to the ones they've recently plopped down on Sixth Street.

We would be remiss to end this without commenting on the surprising inclusion of "Via Santa Catarina, Via Montevideo, and Highpoint Drive. Via Santa Cata-where?

It turns out this is the street at the top of Claraboya where Suzanne Thompson, Beverly Speak, and their Claremont Wildlands Conservancy friends have been parking for years to visit Johnson's Pasture. Much of the curb was painted red some years ago, but parking is still allowed in front of the residences. According to the Courier article, "On Via Santa Catarina, near the entrance to Johnson's Pasture, residents have complained about overcrowding and vandalism to their vehicles from people entering the park." We recall several years ago the City "plan" for Johnson's Pasture parking consisted of an anemic five or six diagonal spaces on the very stub end of Mountain Avenue next to the Highpoint Condos. To our knowledge the City has no firm plan to provide any parking adjacent to the $11.5 million Johnson's Pasture property, and when the City finally does, the residents will look back on this time as "the good old days" in terms of traffic, noise, and vandalism at all hours of the day and night. Just go on a "used condom" patrol of the upper streets in Claraboya some Monday morning if you don't believe us.

Where the City has caused parking problems, such as the Village, near the Colleges, or even up in Claraboya, it now plans to go not to the guilty, such as the Colleges or its own planning staff, but rather to punish the innocent: those who merely committed the excusable sin of driving their car on their errands.