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By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux

As downtown San Juan Capistrano continues to be a popular recreational area for tourists and locals alike, the City of San Juan Capistrano plans to create more than 60 more parking spaces at the Ramos Street parking lot.

The lot is at the corner of Ramos Street and Paseo Adelanto, near Los Rios Park. City officials have approved previous expansions at the lot, which were partially intended to be for employees of the nearby downtown businesses. The lot is also used by locals and visitors. The upcoming expansion is expected to begin in June and end in August.

“The proposed parking lot expansion is located southeast of the existing Ramos Street parking lot, just south of an oak tree grove and north of Los Rios Park,” said City Engineer Joe Parco to the City Council during a presentation. “After the project is complete, there will be a total of 175 total public parking spaces.”

An upcoming expansion of parking spaces by Los Rios park is expected to begin in June and end in August. Photo: Collin Breaux

The existing dirt at the site—which is mostly undeveloped open space—will be replaced with a six-inch gravel section, similar to the other side of the lot. A landscape buffer will also be constructed to mitigate impacts to adjacent properties.

“The project will also construct safety lighting improvements along pedestrian walkways within Los Rios Park, changing existing single-light fixtures to double-light fixtures for added efficiency,” Parco said.

The City Council approved going with the lowest bidder—Rhome Profile Construction at $247,604.20—for project construction, as recommended by city staff. The total project cost, which includes design costs, is $501,544. A funding shortfall of $246,544 will be made up from the city’s parking fund.

City officials have approved previous expansions at the Ramos Street parking lot. Photo: Collin Breaux

“When looking at the total project cost (and) the amount of parking spaces this project is providing, staff believes that this project delivers parking within a high-demand area in an extremely cost-efficient way, relative to constructing a parking structure,” Parco said. “Based on the total project cost of $500,000, the cost per space works out to be approximately $8,000 per space—compared to $20,000 to $30,000 per parking space with current construction costs for a parking garage structure facility.”

While impacts to current parking are expected, the city will attempt to keep much of the current parking open, if feasible, and will confer with the contractor on the matter.

A five-hour parking limit, in place from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., will be in effect daily due to complaints from residents and nearby businesses over vehicles that have been parked in and around the lot for long periods of time.

As downtown San Juan Capistrano continues to be a popular recreational area for tourists and locals alike, the City of San Juan Capistrano plans to create more than 60 more parking spaces at the Ramos Street parking lot. Photo: Collin Breaux

“This restriction will match parking restrictions already in place on the east side of Paseo Adelanto,” Parco said. “This restriction does not prohibit overnight parking, however—just prohibition of long-term parking and storage of cars in this area.”

Councilmembers did not extensively comment on the planned parking expansion.

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at cbreaux@picketfencemedia.com.

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