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The price of progress? | Intersection | San Luis Obispo

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Have you dined at a downtown SLO parklet? Maybe you’ve sat down on Monterey Street and enjoyed some Italian fare Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica, whose park helped make Monterey a one-way street between Chorro and Morro. Or you can grab a slice Woodstock’s Pizza and ate with Higuera. Or maybe you enjoy farm-to-table nosh Big Sky Cafe On the broad side. Or you can refuse to go to downtown SLO Because parking Sux and San Luis is elite and you remember the old days. Wow!

The city’s temporary parklet program grew out of this The covid-19 plague In an effort to save struggling restaurants during state-mandated lockdown orders. Depends on how you feel Al fresco Dining, parks, or a fiasco worsened the city’s already challenging parking situation.

Can we all agree on that? Cocktails-to-go Was it amazing? Of course we can’t, because we can’t agree on anything.

So who wants a permanent parklet program? Not a letter writer René Scarnegiwho begged SLO City Council: “This is unacceptable! The parklet program served downtown when our businesses needed it during the pandemic. Now—mostly post-pandemic—they are no longer needed and we need to reclaim our streets and parking lots. . . . Parklets are an eyesore!”

Well, bad news, Rene, because parklets are officially here to stay. The board voted to make the program permanent … for a price. One of them is a steep one. How does $8,710 per parking space per year sound?

Woodstock will need to sell a lot of slices if it hopes to keep its three-plus-parking-space dining parklet open and co-owners. Laura Ambrose She couldn’t get her head around the proposed fee in her letter to the City Council.

“With our current setup, we’re looking at an annual cost of about $28,500 starting next year. The $4.54/square foot rate for a spot on the street is significantly higher than what we’d pay for our entire build- outside of the restaurant building!” she said.

Lucky for her, the City Council bumped that fee to $6,760! Still, a lot. Not only are the new fees exorbitant, the Parklet program now comes with new requirements Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance and dedicated bicycle parking. She went on to break the city’s fee for manual street sweeping, which costs $11,700 for three locations in Woodstock.

“We sweep our outside dining area frequently and are happy to handle this without city crews coming in with brooms,” he wrote. “We find it hard to believe that sweeping around our park costs the city $225 a week.”

Ambrose then took issue with the city’s estimated loss of $12,000 in parking revenue for Woodstock’s parklet: “It assumes people won’t come downtown and park anymore,” he asserted. “No, they park in other parking lots—on the street or in city-owned parking structures. So there’s no revenue loss.”

She may have a point here. According to the city, 1,000 downtown street parking spaces are slightly more, and only 50 are currently used by parklets—less than 2 percent of the total.

And then there’s the fee for tree trimming around the parklets — $930 a year for Woodstock: “I understand it’s an estimate,” Ambrose continued, “but we don’t have any trees around our park.”

sadness Some trees That is Behave well!

The city has a new parking structure it’s trying to finance, which is why about six weeks ago it proposed doubling parking meter fees downtown. According to council members Andy Pease, that change is about a year away while the city looks for other options. Like the owner of Big Sky Cafe Greg Holt There is concern, he begins to feel He is There is another option.

“Perhaps, it would be a good idea to find another way to balance the budget without the individual business involving the entire lost city parking revenue,” Holt wrote.

Maybe, actually.

Here’s a philosophical thought: If about 4,000 oak trees fell Nipomos Dana Reserve And everyone is around to hear it, how loud can the protest be? Well, hold on to your hearing aids, because we’re about to find out.

Local Development Agency NKT Commercial Wants to build 1,289 single- and multi-family units Canada Ranch, a 288-acre site off Highway 101, but that would mean cutting down 76 percent of the parcel’s oak forest. According to the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR): “Hey, big no!”

Just for fun! It will be scary! The woodland “provides important native habitat for plants and wildlife” and “…contributes significantly to the overall biodiversity of the area,” supporting eight special status plants and four special status nesting birds.

Go away, special status plants and birds! People should live here!

Let’s estimate that 3,000 new people will live in these 1,289 units. Can Nipomo absorb these new humans? The EIR says no, not really: the project is “not specifically planned or planned for in local and regional county planning documents” and would “induce substantial unplanned population growth in the Nipomo area.”

In the immortal words of Joni Mitchell, it looks like we’re going to pave the heavens and put in a parking lot. Ah, progress! Δ

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