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Fixing LA’s Parking Problems on Paper — Not in the Real World

EDITOR’S NOTE: The city’s proposed Modified Parking Requirement District
(CPC-2007-2216-CA), has stirred widespread controversy for its possible negative impact on residents in many communities. The City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, April 28,
at Van Nuys City Hall, 14410 Sylvan St. Local activist Danielle Elliott, a Realtor who has closely followed parking issues for many years, wrote this article to encourage the public to attend the hearing.


By Danielle Elliott

When is a parking solution not a parking solution?

When the
Parking Requirement District ordinance (plan) to alleviate illegal parking is a
larger more extreme version of the original Ponzi scheme where parking spaces
exist – but only on paper.

Now the City wants to make phantom parking legal.

2006, city officials from the Zoning Commission, City Council and Mayor’s
office have turned a blind eye to the illegal expansion of businesses without
requiring adequate parking to accommodate the increased traffic.
No real enforcement can exist since
spaces are not exclusive and are used by all the participating businesses.

to lack of funds, staff and the need for diligent oversight, the City has been
unwilling to implement a legally mandated parking database, thus leaving the
oversight to those, who for their own personal gain, have a stake in the

original plan,
proposed by Council members Jack Weiss and Wendy Gruel on the surface appeared as if
it was trying to resolve issues that plagued residents, visitors and businesses
alike. The motion was assigned to uber-planner, Tom Rothman who has been
working with business owners, developers and political interests since then to
satisfy their current need for cheap parking without any real vision for the

With the new Modified Parking
Requirement District ordinance, parking is virtual once again.

Unlike a video
game, real people don’t reside in a virtual world. The plan satisfies a
voracious need to expand beyond capacity and for that reason is doomed to
failure. Commercial property, business owners and developers continue to
request variances to reduce their building’s parking requirements from a desperate
city more willing to accept the additional revenue from these variances than
meet the existing legal requirements or community’s real parking needs.

This city’s inaction shifts onsite
required parking offsite and the business owners hire oft times illegal valet
companies that are more than ready, willing and able to utilize shady business
practices to park cars any where and any way.

The plan is
a very short-term solution to a long-term problem. Exponential population
growth, lack of new public transit, cutbacks in existing transportation, poor
enforcement and city-approved parking reductions all have contributed to our
City’s parking problem.

Even more
egregious is that part of the justification of this “infill” of parking is to
reduce the environmental impact on the community. This is a specious argument.

Since more people are attracted to areas where there is perceived parking,
there will be more noise and pollutants for all, especially our children, to
breathe and to contaminate our homes. It is illogical to extol the praises of
this ordinance for making more “vibrant” with unsustainable growth already
high-density areas and call it healthy.

The plan is
a deterrent to change and progress. Designed for many areas where commercial
properties are functionally obsolete, these old buildings have no historical
value, significance or uniqueness that should save them for posterity.
Therefore owners have no incentive to bear the cost of retrofitting or building
a new structure with parking when they can shift the cost to other businesses
and share the offsite parking.

It artificially increases value thereby creating
a de facto subsidy for a few commercial property owners to pocket artificially
inflated rents. Small business owners also benefit because rent in these
buildings is still cheaper than in newly developed properties. Properties with
on-site parking demand higher rent and only high-end businesses can afford to
do business there. As for City parking structures – they are being sold to
offset the deficit. It is unlikely the City will build new parking structures
anytime soon.

For this
reason, the “Plan” establishes Universal Valet Zones. It is foolish
to believe the City can ban competition between valet companies. 

Universal Valet is a myth and has failed
wherever implemented because it can’t compete with fly-by-night valet companies
that under price their services. Even if the City Attorney drafted an ordinance
mandating that all valet companies comply with the same requirements, there
will always be a valet company willing to skirt the law and tie up parking
areas that the Universal Valet will eventually need to acquire thus keeping the
Ponzi scheme going.

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The proposal’s one upside is
probably what will doom it to failure. Currently, Building and Safety ordinance
(ZAI 1808) allows sidewalk dining without any additional parking. Under the
“Plan,” a restaurant must have sufficient parking to accommodate outside
dining. Despite this restriction, areas like 3rd St. are loaded with
sidewalk diners. Restaurant owners who illegally expand their businesses beyond
their boundaries merely use vigilante valets.

You don’t
need to be a city planner to see, once again, nearby residents are the

proposal requests that off-site parking expansion include open lots as well as
structures from 750′ to those that are 1550′ from the requesting business. That
means the community within the 1550′ part of the Universal Valet becomes a parking lot. In Beverly Grove (around 3rd
St.), valets mandated to rush cars back
to their owners have run stop signs and barely missed mothers pushing their
baby carriages.

They race through residential alleyways endangering utility and
emergency vehicles and residents trying to access their homes and garages.
Minivans transporting valets crowd our residential streets while others run up
and down the streets to and from their parked client’s cars.

City wheels grind slowly. It is time
for you to have your say.

This entry was posted in City Hall, Community Activists, Los Angeles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Fixing LA’s Parking Problems on Paper — Not in the Real World

  1. Anonymous says:

    Michael Logrande and his valets Alan Bell and Tom Rothman have to go. LA Planning is too crucial to leave in such amateur hands.

  2. Anonymous says:

    While this article is good, it misses a series of important points everyone needs to understand.
    Modified Parking Districts can be created by the approval of each Council Member in their District. And, since voting is done on a quid pro quo basis on land use issues, there will be little objection by other Council Members.
    So, what does this mean to you?
    This proposed ordinance empowers Council Members to create so-called Free Parking Zones. And, if you don’t think this impacts you – wrong.
    No neighborhood with homes and apartments will be exempt from losing current laws restricting the nature of parking. Everyone can park -no matter the posted signs. Or, hillsides are not exempt. Areas with Preferential Parking Districts are not exempt. Specific Plans (area planning laws) are not exempt. And, Community Plan parking requirements will disappear.
    While supporters will claim that a “Free Parking Zone” can only be created if there are 3 acres, that is a ruse. 18 average sized city lots make-up 3 acres! So, this is how neighborhoods will lose their peace, quiet and property values so the city can fill its’ coffers as it marches to complete infill re-development.
    There is no environmental review (under CEQA) provision in the proposed ordinance. Staff denied the inclusion of CEQA requirements. Obviously, an EIR needs to be done to research the far reaching implications.
    Originally, there was discussion that the creation of Modified Parking Districts, “Free Parking Zones” or whatever misleading names that will be adopted, were to be subject to a vote of 75% of the impacted residents. However, it didn’t make the final cut.
    There is also one other component yet to be considered – the diminution of residential property values should this ordinance be approved. While residential property values are tied to the values of nearby commercial properties and vice-a-versa (think of any major street in LA as an example)those who make-up these new laws have yet to realize the connection and its far reaching implications.
    In other words, yet another short term fix that benefits a select few at the expense of hundreds of thousands.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

  4. Scott Zwartz says:

    Angelenos are a bunch of crybabies. The City streets belong to the City, and if Tom LaBonge and Eric Garcetti want to give away the parking spaces in front of your home so that their developer buddies do not have to pay to construct on-site parking, just shut-up. It’s their property — not yours. If they want, they can cut down all those pollution causing trees in the median and turn the area between the sidewalk and the street into a parking lot.
    The same people who cried about potholes while driving to vote, voted for the Pothole Kings as soon as they got inside the polls. LaBonge, Wesson, Garcetti, Perry do not re-elect and re-elect themselves. The crybaby voters insist on re-electing them.
    If Garceti and LaBonge want to take $1.5 Billion of property tax dollars and give it to real estate speculators, shut-up — you voted for them. It took 10 years for them to steal this much money and the crybaby voters continually re-elected them.
    If you want libraries or a fully staffed fire department, then you should not have voted for these jerks. The fact the city is beset by the twin evils of Corrpution and Incompetence is not new.
    When Garcetti, LaBonge, Wesson, Perry, Cardenas, etc. tried to impose Kelo Eminent Domain on the entire City, the crybaby voters supported them. When the same politicos gave us Prop 22 which increased the developer-CRA slush funds by 20%, the crybaby voters passed Prop 22.
    If the city wants to turn your residential street into a parking lot, don’t cry about it. It’s the Will of the People – dumb, ignorant, stupid, lazy crybabies that they are.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Scott, did you know that homeowners grant an easement to the city – an easement that runs the width of their property to the middle of the street? Unfortunately, homeowners have no ability to grant or deny this easement. So, when homeowners complain about their streets turning into parking lots, it’s a huge hit. Not only do we involuntary give-up “property rights,” we are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of city owned parkway trees and the parkway. And, I suspect also those broken sidewalks once the Council changes an old ordinance.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’ve no sympathy for the dumb LA residents who keep electing the most dishonest people to represent them. They just chose the same crap over some good honest candidates. Suffer.

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