Some East Garden Grove residents have been struggling with a daily lack of parking on the streets surrounding their homes near the Christ Cathedral and are calling on city council members to address the problem.

They say a parking permit program would alleviate the issue and help curb crime in the neighborhood.

The issue centers on Jetty Street — and multiple surrounding cul de sac streets — on the outskirts of Garden Grove, where the city meets Orange and Santa Ana. 

The neighborhood borders Fairlane Mobile Lodge, a mobile home park, and residents say Jetty Street is commonly used as overflow parking for mobile home residents and nearby apartment complexes.

It’s an issue that plagues similar neighborhoods throughout North and Central Orange County, with debates popping up in Anaheim, Fullerton and Santa Ana in recent years.

Meanwhile, two homeowners said they’ve contacted the Garden Grove City Council multiple times over the years asking for permitted parking, but no changes have been made.

Dianna Athas and Jill Brimmer have both lived in the neighborhood for over 30 years and spearhead the resident group advocating for permitted parking.

“We have elderly in this neighborhood, we have young children in this neighborhood (and) crime has gone up. Unfortunately a lot of unsavory people that we don’t know (come here),” Athas said in an interview with Voice of OC earlier this month.

“We are left with no place and no recourse … The neighborhood is willing to pay for permit parking, but we can’t get them to do anything for us.”

Residents of the area have argued for permit parking before. 

In 2015, residents brought a petition to the city council and traffic commission, but the city denied the request because the city doesn’t have a residential parking permit program, according to a staff report from a Dec. 8, 2015 council meeting.

Dan Candelaria, the city traffic engineer for Garden Grove, told Voice of OC that the city does not have a permitted parking program. The only area that has permitted parking is near the Anaheim Convention Center, but the permits are issued by the City of Anaheim.

Candelaria said although the city has looked into issuing permitted parking in the city, staff determined permits only shift parking issues to other neighborhoods. 

He also said that other barriers — including cost — prevented the city from moving forward with parking permits.

The city’s municipal code explains how permitted parking can be enforced during all or certain hours of the day or night. 

In 2015, the traffic commission proposed a parking restriction in the neighborhood that would prevent parking on the streets during certain hours of the day, but the residents didn’t like that option since it wouldn’t solve the issue. 

“A residential permit parking program would not be able to address all the issues surrounding this neighborhood,” reads the minutes from the Dec. 8, 2015 Garden Grove City Council meeting. “It was determined that the problems in this neighborhood are more deeply rooted than parking; including crime, overpopulation, standard of living, etc.”

The Dec. 8, 2015 council meeting minutes also reads that the issue was then “taken back to staff and the Traffic Commission to see what might be able to be done to alleviate some of the neighborhood’s concerns” but Athas and Brimmer said that nothing productive happened after this effort.

“We’ve done everything the city council has said,” Athas said. “We’ve jumped through every hoop … It’s not achieving anything. We’ve gone to the council so many times and we are just done.”

Jetty Street neighborhood residents are also concerned about crime in the area. 

From September 2015 to March 2020, there were 326 reports of parking violations, 24 reports of vandalism and 45 reports of burglary or theft in the neighborhood, according to police reports obtained by the residents.

Now, residents of the area have created a second parking petition with 120 signatures — approximately 71% of the homeowners in the area. The petition has yet to be presented to city officials.

“I’ve had three cars totaled in front of my house that belong to my family due to an increase in traffic here,” Athas said. “I’ve personally been sexually harassed multiple times taking my dogs for a walk … I no longer feel safe in the neighborhood.”

Athas and Brimmer also described multiple older homes in the area with shorter driveways that can’t fit vehicles. They say those homeowners have been ticketed for blocking the sidewalk when forced to park in front of their own garages, since the street is often full of cars.

Brimmer said at times more than 70 cars are jam-packed onto her street. 

However, two traffic studies conducted in the area have not concluded sufficient evidence to create permitted parking, according to city response.

Angelina Hicks is a Voice of OC News Intern. Contact her at ahicks@voiceofoc.org or on Twitter @angelinahicks13.

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