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Newhall patrons want parking lot

City: Committee recommends lease of property on Main Street

Posted: November 7, 2010 11:14 p.m.
Updated: November 8, 2010 4:55 a.m.

The Newhall Redevelopment Committee has unanimously recommended the Santa Clarita City Council re-enter a lease for a parking lot on Main Street in Newhall during its meeting this week.

The 54-space lot was for commuters to park at and then catch Metrolink or a Santa Clarita Transit bus, city staff said.

But public transit riders weren’t using it, redevelopment staffer Alex Hernandez said, so the city decided to instead lease property next to the McBean Transfer Station for riders of the year-old commuter bus to North Hollywood.

The city’s lease of the lot ended July 1, and the private owner blocked it off so no one can park there.

But theatergoers and other patrons of downtown Newhall were using it, and Canyon Theatre Guild Executive Director TimBen Boydston said the company has had a lot of complaints.

“People in the SCV are used to having convenient parking to their goods and services,” Boydston said. “It’s not good for business. Specifically to the seniors, and especially those whose mobility is impaired, it’s a burden for them to walk several blocks to get to the theater.”

Canyon Theatre Guild is on the corner of Sixth Street and Main Street.

Nearby parking includes a 17-space lot on Fifth Street and Main Street as well as the 202-space Newhall Metrolink Station. Metrolink’s parking station is two to three blocks away, across Railroad Avenue.

Theatergoer Lee Shulman said he and his wife, Joyce, have made that trek, and it wasn’t pleasant.

“At night, it doesn’t feel safe,” Shulman said. “Market (Street) and Railroad (Avenue) seems to attract quite a number
of young people and, at times, when they’re on the street, we don’t feel safe.”

“I think it’s a shame,” Shulman said of the lot’s closure.

Including street parking on Main, Metrolink’s lot and the Fifth Street lot, that’s about 300 public parking spots.

On a weekend night, when both the 281-seat Canyon Theatre and 81-seat Repertory Theater are full, parking is strained, Boydston said.
“Convenient parking, for people living in a suburb, is critical,” Boydston said.
Duane Harte, a Newhall Redevelopment Committee member, said parking has been a problem since day one in Newhall.
“There needs to be more parking more near the area where a lot of the activities are being held,” Harte said.
The city first leased the lot at Sixth and Main streets in May 2004. For a few years, the lot also hosted the weekly Old Town Newhall Farmers Market.
The $2,000-a-month lease came out of the city’s general fund and transit funds. In 2008, when the farmers market moved to Market Street, the transit fund began covering the entire cost, Hernandez said.
Renewing a lease for the parking lot does not require council approval. Rather, an individual council member could request that Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Pulskamp pursue a lease again, Hernandez said.


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