The prospect of a residential permit-parking district on streets near Kaiser Hospital/Medical Center drew some 200 people to the November 26 Allied Gardens Community Council town hall at Ascension Lutheran Church.
As City of San Diego staffers explained the process for implementing a parking district, many people called for Kaiser to rein in employees who park on the street. No representatives of the Kaiser facilities on Zion Avenue attended the forum, and only one resident spoke in favor of the district.
After about an hour, council president Anthony Wagner announced that the "second half of the discussion, with Kaiser invited" would occur at the February town hall.
Wagner started the discussion with an overview of efforts to resolve "parking challenges" faced by residents on Crawford Street and Archwood and Rainier avenues. He said Kaiser staff and patients parked in front of homes, which sometimes affected trash pickup.
Residents contacted then-councilwoman Marti Emerald, and changes made several years ago included painting curbs red. A permit-parking proposal for the three streets was discussed, but no action was taken.
The current proposal expands the permit-parking district, and the approximately one-year process starts when a petition is signed by at least 50 percent of the 200 residents in the affected area. The city would then conduct a traffic study and hold a public hearing. If the city council approves the district, each household could purchase four permits: two decals for residents' cars and two permits for visitors. Each permit would cost $14 annually.
"Maybe Kaiser needs to be petitioned to park where they're supposed to," said Charles Bostrom, whose wife and daughter work at Kaiser. Bostrom lives on Glacier Street (which is not in the district) and said he recognizes the nametags of Kaiser employees who park there.
"You can't force employees" to park somewhere, said Barrett Tetlow of Seventh District councilman Scott Sherman's office. "They can't stop you from parking in the public right-of-way."
Several people said construction workers also parked on the street. When a woman asked how long construction at Kaiser had been going on, a man replied, "Since the day they opened in 1973."
Debbie Smith, a Kaiser employee living in the area, cleared up a misconception that employees could park at the Vandever Avenue medical offices and take a shuttle to the Zion location. Smith said there is no longer a shuttle, and employees "on their own" decide to park there and walk to work.
Former council president Marilyn Reed described earlier efforts that included meeting "for years with Kaiser, for them to see a [large] group like this" next February could make a difference.
When Wagner asked who supported permit parking, several people raised their hands. Danitza Sanchez said, "I feel a little unsafe when I see a total stranger three feet away from my children."
Kaiser Hospital is reportedly slated to move in 2017 to the former site of the Registrar of Voters office on Ruffin Road.