The Larkspur City Council is set to extend the parking permit pilot program for another year in neighborhoods surrounding Redwood High School to curb student parking.
The council asked staff at its Sept. 16 meeting to update the boundary map of the Heather Gardens neighborhood to include Liberty Street and Midway Road while keeping the Larkspur Marina neighborhood map the same as in the staff report.
“We looked at the streets we have historically heard there’s a problem,” said Dan Schwarz, city manager. “And we drew the boundaries heavily based on that feedback from the past. And so that’s how we came up with this proposal.”
Councilmen Dan Hillmer and Gabe Paulson both live in the neighborhoods and recused themselves from the discussion.
In Larkspur Marina, the pilot program will include all homes on Corte del Bayo, Via la Brisa, and homes on Riviera Circle between 71 to 201 and above 500.
Other addresses in Heather Gardens include all homes on Diane Lane, homes on Heather Way between Midway and Diane Lane, and homes with addresses above 218 on William Avenue.
The revised maps will be included in the resolution presented Oct. 1, said Dan Schwarz, city manager. An updated program will be included on the consent calendar for approval Oct. 7, said Schwarz.
The council opted to not include the proposed $50 permit fee this year. The fee will be revisited in fall 2021.
When residents were asked if they would support the parking program with a fee, most were opposed. In the Larkspur Marina, about 67% residents said no, 22% said yes and 10% did not respond. In the Heather Gardens neighborhood, 66% said no, 31% said yes and 3% did not respond.
Without a fee, residents favored parking restrictions.
“Parking in front of your house is on the top 10 things that people get surprisingly passionate about,” Schwarz said. “And so this program has folks who love it and folks who hate it among the residents.”
Riviera Circle resident Madeline Fendler said she is opposed to the program, saying the proposed fee is too steep and discussions should be postponed until in-person school is back.
Fendler said there are signs that already limit parking around the school to 20 minutes. Enforcement is the responsibility of Central Marin Police and the school.
“In my opinion this is a policing issue, for which we already pay taxes,” she said. “Why can’t our police just have a presence here for a half an hour during these mentioned problematic infractions of the law?”
Riviera Circle resident Bob Rosenfeld said that he wants to be included in the pilot program. He said because his home is located near the entrance of the school, students often rush to and from their cars during lunchtime.
“Once they park on campus, they cannot leave,” Rosenfeld said. “That is encouraging them to park in front of our house so that they can go out to lunch. On their 37-minute lunch, the lunch is so short that they rush. We’ve seen cars still in motion with kids jumping in and out of them.”
Vice Mayor Kevin Haroff said the council will have to wait until spring to see if the pilot program is successful because schools are teaching students remotely because of the pandemic.
“I don’t have a strong feeling about it one way or the other personally,” Haroff said. “But I do recognize the fact that we’re going into a school year that is unlike any other that we’ve ever seen.”
Mayor Catherine Way said she is glad the resolution gives the city the option to add and subtract areas from the program because the pandemic has removed the anticipated baseline to determine making the program permanent.
“We are in an unusual time where much of this program has been tested in a time when students aren’t on campus,” Way said. “And we don’t know how that variable might change once they’re all back. That might be in that spring when more of the campus population has automobile and driver’s licenses.”