In August, Chase enacted a policy of charging their costumers a parking fee to utilize their spots by installing a parking kiosk similar to those found at the California State University Long Beach campus. “Chase employees already park in our spots on the street,” Monica Marthaller said, “why do they have to take even more spaces away from us?” According to Marthaller, Chase employees have been parking on Nieto taking up residential parking spots for years now and this problem has been ongoing since Washington Mutual owned the property until 2009.Paid parking was only the first of a small wave to come to those living in Belmont Shore, next came the city of Long Beach’s turn to have a crack at it. Chase Bank had closed off seven spots at the beginning of the month of August and the city had come and taken five more from its residents. These five spots along with the seven that went before them now lay vacant for 16 hours of the day and all day on Sundays when the bank in closed. The City of Long Beach has come in and taken up five spots in which residents would have to pay up to 50 dollars to park in each spot.
“These spots were of great convenience to my wife and I on nights during a major sporting event,” said resident Jeffrey Schimsky when asked how losing five spots has effected them while competing for parking. “With those who visit Second Street to watch sporting events,” J. Schimsky said, “I often have to circle the block two or three times before I can find a spot.”Due to Second Streets abundance of bars and restaurants, parking is at a premium in the evening because visitors to Belmont Shore are coming to watch the major sporting events at places like Panama Joes and Legends Sports Bar and Grill. Open Sesame is also another popular place that drives in many to parking on side streets around Chase.
Arnold Schimsky is an avid visitor to the Belmont Shore area, visiting his grand-children every weekend to observe the Sabbath with his family. Accompanied by his wife, Rita, A. Schimsky has a much harder time looking for parking for his wife because she has a hard time walking long distances from car to home. “We do have a disabled parking placard that we can use in metered parking if completely necessary,” A. Schimsky says, “but we’d much rather leave those spots open to those who need to use those spots for places like Rite Aid or Chase.”
The auxiliary parking lots near Chase have been a source of relief parking to residents looking for spaces. Once a resident has circled his or her block two or three times, the lots that used to open to the general public after Chase closes were a sigh of relief to most not wanting to park blocks away from their homes. Before August, one could park in these spots over night and as long as they were gone by 7:30 a.m. the following morning, there would be no ticket given nor would the vehicle be towed away. Marthaller states that, “it has always been a game of cat and mouse with the employees of the bank because they would often park on the street rather than their employee parking lot taking up parking spots for the residents of the Shore,” as she so appropriately stated when commenting on competing on parking spaces.
There is no telling how long paid parking is going to affect those living near Chase bank but one question on A. Schimsky’s mind is, “was Chase really having trouble with parking that they were forced to charge for parking or are they just doing this for the money?”
Will Chase and the City of Long Beach every lift the charging of parking spots or will these charges continue to affect the residents of Belmont Shore? It’s a terrible sight to see spots that were once occupied by residents now lay vacant for most of the week because no one is willing to shell out 50 dollars a vehicle to use a spot that they used to park in for free.