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Paula Faust leads the way on Laguna’s new parking app launching soon

The City Council approved the purchase and installation of the Laguna Beach Parking app this spring, and with their direction, Paula Faust went right to work. As Deputy Director of Public Works for the City of Laguna Beach, she’s made sure parking sensors were installed in almost every metered City parking space and parking lots in the City over the last month. Very soon, the app will change residents’ and visitors’ parking lives forever.

“Parking is pretty exciting right now because of the City’s new smart parking app, called ‘Laguna Beach Parking,’” Faust says. “We know we are going to be doing a really big service to the residents and visitors trying to find parking in town.

“You’ll be able to download the ‘Laguna Beach Parking’ app on your smartphone, search for the name of a restaurant or intersection, and be directed to the nearest available parking spot. The app will show you available parking in real time, and also allow drivers to pay for their parking space and keep track of the time left on their meter, all from your phone,” Faust says.

Users will also be able to extend parking time from their smart phone and will be notified 10-15 minutes before their parking time expires. 

Paula Faust closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Deputy Director of Public Works for the City of Laguna Beach Paula Faust

“Say for instance you only paid for one hour and want to stay for two, you can go into the app and pay for that additional time,” Faust says. “If you’re out to dinner and in the middle of a great meal, it’s nice to not have to leave the table to worry about feeding the meter.”

The City’s goal for the app is to achieve an 85 percent capacity rate of parking in its public parking in the downtown area. By showing drivers there are available parking spots elsewhere, it will alleviate traffic jams, circling, and gridlock in downtown Laguna Beach.

“The app will show all available parking, and drivers are going to see that they can park in the City’s peripheral lots like Mission Hospital, Lot 16 in Laguna Canyon and Lot 17 (Laguna Canyon Art and Design College), and then hop on the Trolley into town,” Faust said. “Our trolleys run continuously from all of those lots, and many people don’t realize how easy and fun it is to park and ride.”

Paula Faust trolley

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Paula Faust heads up the City’s free trolley system and Summer Breeze transit service

Besides overseeing the City’s new Smart Parking System and Laguna Beach Parking app, Faust heads up the City’s free trolley system and free Summer Breeze transit service which shuttles beachgoers and Festival fans from a parking area located at the I-405 and 133. The Summer Breeze service begins on June 29, and the summer trolley service started on June 17, with Canyon service running from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Coastal service running from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

“Our trolleys and our parking are married at the hip,” Faust says. “Our trolleys support our parking lots – and our peripheral parking lots – and so we want to show drivers how convenient it is to park on the periphery or at the I-405 and trolley in to downtown. The trolley is really part of the Laguna experience.”

Overseeing the City’s new Smart Parking System and public transit system is no laughing matter, but in her spare time, Faust finds a way to lighten the mood.

“In my free time I do stand-up comedy,” Faust says. “I love to make people laugh and take their mind off of whatever is going on in their life.”

She’s been doing stand-up for 18 years, and performs two to three shows per month at places like the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, the Irvine Improv, and the Icehouse. Faust is a clean comedian who describes her style as situational-type comedy, drawing inspiration from her life. Two years ago, she got the chance of a lifetime.

Paula Faust Leno

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Paula Faust with Jay Leno

“I spent a half an hour with Jay Leno at an event,” Faust beams. “One of my friends told him I was a stand-up comedian, and he pulled me aside for about a half an hour and gave me all kinds of tips on comedy, performing comedy, women in comedy, and pitfalls to avoid. It was an experience I will never forget.”

In the height of a typical Laguna summer, Faust manages a fleet of 27 trolleys and a team of 125 transit staff. With her comedic background, she tries to keep things light for her staff.

“They always ask me where I get my inspiration. Mainly my family. Take for instance my son, when he was born, he had a head the size of the moon.” Faust laughs. “I gave birth to a 9-pound boy with a 7 1/2-pound head. It took him forever to crawl and walk. He just kept tipping over.” 

Watch for the Laguna Beach Parking app launching soon at www.lagunabeachparking.net. For more information on summer trolley service, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley or call (949) 497-0766.  For real time trolley arrivals, download the Visit Laguna Beach App and access the Trolley Tracker.