About the Candidate Forum on September 18:
There was a good crowd at the Forum on September 18 at the Resource Center for Nonviolence. Nine of the ten candidates for the Santa Cruz City Council were present: Phil Crawford, Ashley Scontriano, Greg Larson, Justin Cummings, Richelle Noroyan, Dave Lane, Paige Concannon, Cynthia Hawthorne and Drew Glover. Only Candidate Donna Meyers was absent.
A video of the forum (made by Ron Goodman) is here. We asked each candidate six questions, and each candidate provided a one-minute response. There are eight segments in the video, each lasting about 10 minutes. (Six of the segments contain responses to questions.)
The complete video lasts for an hour and eighteen minutes. Here are the approximate times for the start of each segment or question:
- 0:08: Each candidate introduces himself or herself.
- 10:52: What is your proposal for a 600-space parking garage downtown?
- 21:05: About the use of the rail corridor: Do you support building the trail ASAP and saving the tracks? Why? Or why not?
- 31:04: What, specifically, can the Council do to protect and increase the supply of affordable housing?
- 41:50: What can the city do to reduce UCSC traffic?
- 51:25: What is your position on the Regional Transportation Commission's plan to widen Highway 1 with four miles of auxiliary lanes?
- 1:02:30: Among 103 California cities of similar size, Santa Cruz ranks at or near the top in the rate of injuries to bicyclists and pedestrians. What should the Council do to remedy this? Do you support the City becoming the second "Vision Zero" city in the county after Watsonville?
- 1:11:52: Each candidate makes a one-minute closing statement.
Opinions regarding the proposed “Library Garage Project”
If you want a quick view of where each candidate stands, here is a photo from the Santa Cruz Neighbors forum that was held on September 12, 2018:
About parking—is another garage needed?
The graph below shows that off-street parking in Downtown Santa Cruz has declined from a high in 2008. This is not surprising, since ride services have cut into parking demand in places like Los Angeles, and San Diego. San Francisco's Park & Rec Department is hurting due to the decline in parking revenues that support the Department.
In spite of declining parking demand, on Tuesday the City Council voted 4-2 to approve the staff recommendation to go ahead with a process to design the “mixed use” project including a library and 600 space garage. Council members Chris Krohn and Sandy Brown articulated a strong argument for getting expert consultation on the parking needs for downtown and implementing Transportation Demand Management (incentives to shift from solo driving commutes).
The majority of the Council didn't see the need to wait for the results of a $100,000 study on Downtown Parking from City consultant, Nelson\Nygaard. City staff didn't exhibit any self-doubt even though the former manager of Nelson\Nygaard's study told the press that City staff misused his parking model to estimate future parking demand.
The Game Plan to Stop the Garage:
- Elect two Council members who support alternatives to the garage, to join Krohn and Brown. We'll find out where the candidates stand at the Candidate Night on Tuesday, September 18, 7pm, at the Resource Center for Nonviolence.
- Reach out to the well-intentioned supporters of the Library with ideas for meeting the Library's needs without building a parking garage.
- If unsuccessful in electing pro-alternative candidates, prepare to go to the voters with the decision.
- Continue to dispel the myths put out by City staff, for example:
- Myth: Free bus passes are not a popular option among workers downtown. The truth from the City's own poll is that a surprising 24% of drive-alone commuters say bus passes would be an incentive to change modes.
- Myth: That a new garage is necessary to facilitate development of affordable housing. The truth is that there is plenty of overnight space in existing garages for new residents of downtown to park.
- Myth: That the City has a “robust Transportation Demand Management” program Downtown. The truth is that the only rewards for Downtown workers (in participating businesses) are emergency ride home vouchers and a zero interest loan program for purchasing a bicycle. Discount bus passes are no longer part of the program.
If you would like to join our working group to help out, write to us by clicking here. And if you haven't yet contributed to this campaign for garage alternatives, please donate or send a check to CFST, Box 7927, Santa Cruz, 95061.
Questions for the City on the Taj Garage:
You might enjoy reading Stephen Kessler's column, which recently appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. To read it, click on this link.
What do downtown business owners say?
Many of them have strong critiques of the proposed plan to build a Garage-Library on the site of the current Wednesday afternoon Farmers Market. To see what they have to say, have a look at this page.
And please sign our petition:
If you have yet to sign our petition, it's easy to do so. Just click on this link.