The City of Goleta last week held a public workshop to discuss parking in Old Town. About 40 people attended the two-hour-long session, including parking consultants who conducted the study and members of the city government. The other 25 or so people who came to the event were mostly citizens of Goleta, though there was a small handful of out-of-town businessmen as well.
Steve Wagner, Goleta’s director of community services, opened the meeting and introduced Steffen Turoff and George Amoon, who presented the study which analyzed parking on the Hollister corridor, also known as Goleta Old Town. Turoff, parking advisor from Walker Parking Consultants, discussed progress on the study, saying that the report discovered sources of inefficient parking. Walker Parking Consultants mainly analyzed Goleta Old Town at 1 p.m., the peak time for parking during the business week, and discovered that there are more than 1,500 parking spaces in Goleta Old Town, with 1,100 off-street and 400 on-street. According to the study, there are many lots on the Hollister corridor that are more than 80 percent occupied — which Turoff called inefficient parking — during the work week. On the weekend, parking patterns are similar, but there are less people, with no lots rising above 50 percent occupancy.
After his presentation, Turoff offered a microphone to the forum so that anyone with suggestions and complaints about the study could address them. On the slideshow, there was a list of discussion questions, asking for information about what parking patterns the audience observed on Hollister, what were the peak times of parking, who parked the most in Goleta Old Town, and where visitors parked.
About 10 spoke. The discussion frequently went off topic though the speakers and the audience usually shared a general consensus. Most people who talked at the stand were not interested in discussing the parking study, but instead suggested improvements such as better bike lanes, larger sidewalks, and planting trees to make Goleta Old Town more safe and pedestrian-friendly. These comments garnered the most applause. Most citizens were in favor of less parking on the main corridor and less street space; some even suggested removing the middle lane on the street so that there would be more space for pedestrians. Halfway through, Steve Wagner interrupted the discussion to say that while he appreciated hearing the critiques on Goleta Old Town, the forum was supposed to focus on improving the study. Even after his speech, the speakers who followed preferred to discuss the aforementioned topics.
Some speakers, including Turoff, were surprised at the low turnout. One speaker said the reason for the low turnout was the lack of advertisement; both Wagner and Turoff replied that they had sent thousands of emails notifying people of the event. Well over a hundred chairs had been placed for the event since according to Turoff, “hundreds” of people had filled out a survey discussing the topic at hand.