BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






           SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMMITTEE       BILL NO: ab 2067
          SENATOR ALAN LOWENTHAL, CHAIRMAN               AUTHOR:  Lowenthal
                                                         VERSION: 6/9/10
          Analysis by: Mark Stivers                      FISCAL:  no
          Hearing date: June 15, 2010








          SUBJECT:

          Left-side parking

          DESCRIPTION:

          This bill allows the City of Long Beach, under specified  
          conditions, to implement a three-year pilot program to permit  
          parking on the left side of two-way local residential streets  
          that dead-end with no cul-de-sac or other designated turnaround  
          area.

          ANALYSIS:

          Under current law, drivers must generally park their vehicles in  
          the same direction as the flow of traffic (i.e., on the right  
          side of two-way roadways and on either side of one-way  
          roadways).  The premise for this requirement is that it helps to  
          avoid head-on collisions with oncoming traffic that would be  
          risked when entering or exiting parking spaces that face the  
          flow of traffic.  

          Under current law, a driver may back a vehicle onto a street or  
          highway only when such a movement can be made with reasonable  
          safety.

           This bill  allows the City of Long Beach, by ordinance or  
          resolution, to implement a three-year pilot program to authorize  
          drivers to park vehicles on the left-hand side of residential  
          streets that dead-end with no cul-de-sac or other designated  
          turnaround area, if the city or county makes a finding supported  
          by a professional engineering study that the ordinance or  
          resolution is justified by the need to facilitate the safe and  




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          orderly movement of vehicles.  

          The bill limits the pilot program to streets perpendicular to  
          Ocean Boulevard beginning at Balboa Place and ending at 72nd  
          Place, with the exclusion of 62nd Place.  The ordinance or  
          resolution does not apply until the city erects proper signage,  
          and the city must report to the Legislature no later than two  
          years after enactment of the ordinance or resolution on the  
          advantages and disadvantages of the pilot program.  The city's  
          authority to allow left-hand parking sunsets one year after the  
          city submits this report.  
          



          COMMENTS:

           1.Purpose of the bill  .  According to the author, the Peninsula  
            area of Long Beach has a significant number of narrow, parking  
            impacted, dead-end streets with no cul-de-sacs.  It is very  
            difficult for drivers to turn around on these streets, and  
            when they do, the likelihood of a fender bender accident is  
            great.  As a result, residents and visitors have long parked  
            their vehicles facing the wrong direction on the street, in  
            violation of the Vehicle Code.  The city has issued parking  
            citations for these offenses, frustrating residents who  
            believe it is safer to park facing the wrong direction than to  
            turn around.  This bill allows Long Beach to permit left-side  
            parking on specified streets provided that it facilitates the  
            safe and orderly movement of vehicles.

          2.Backing out into traffic  .  The issue raised by this bill is  
            not left-side parking on dead-end streets but the fact that  
            drivers who do not turn around on the side streets are forced  
            to back into the adjacent arterial.  In the case of the  
            Peninsula, this means backing into four-lane Ocean Boulevard.   
            Moreover, because Ocean Boulevard itself dead-ends at the end  
            of the Peninsula, residents entering Ocean Boulevard from the  
            south must either back across two-lanes of eastbound traffic  
            to access the westbound lanes that lead into town and to all  
            other destinations or back into the adjacent eastbound lanes  
            and make a U-turn to head west.  

            The author points out that Peninsula residents have been  
            backing into the immediately adjacent lanes and making later  
            U-turns for some time without any significant negative safety  




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            impacts being observed and that neither the Long Beach Police  
            nor the city's traffic engineer foresees any detrimental  
            impacts from the continued practice.  Nonetheless, it is this  
            concern that prompted the author to include language requiring  
            the city to make a finding supported by a professional  
            engineering study that left-side parking is justified by the  
            need to facilitate the safe and orderly movement of vehicles,  
            to require a report, and to sunset the city's authority.   
            Presumably, the city would still ticket drivers who back  
            across two lanes of traffic to reach the westbound lanes.

           3.Arguments in opposition  .  The California Highway Patrol (CHP)  
            believes that parking concerns affecting a few small streets  
            in selected communities should be handled at the local level  
            without a change to state statutes.  As an alternative, CHP  
            encourages the City of Long Beach to provide additional space  
            for vehicles to turn around on its one-way streets by  
            implementing a parking permit system or limiting parking to  
            one side of the street.  

           4.Previous legislation  .  In 2009, the author introduced an  
            almost identical bill, AB 213.  Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed  
            this bill, stating, "This bill addresses parking concerns  
            affecting a few small streets in one city and can be handled  
            at the local level without a change to state statutes."
            
           5.Technical amendment  .  The sunset of the authority in this bill  
            depends on the city submitting a report.  If the city were to  
            fail to submit the report, the city's authority to permit  
            left-side parking would not terminate.  The committee,  
            therefore, may wish to consider amending the bill to sunset  
            the city's authority three years after enactment of the  
            ordinance or resolution.   
          
          Assembly Votes:
               Floor:    73-0
               Trans:    14-0

          POSITIONS:  (Communicated to the Committee before noon on  
          Wednesday,  
                     June 9, 2010)

               SUPPORT:  California Public Parking Association
                         City of Long Beach 
          
               OPPOSED:  California Highway Patrol




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