Consider this a parting shot from homeless advocates who have lost the latest battle in the long-running Venice parking war: the National Coalition for the Homeless has named Venice’s “oversize” vehicle nighttime parking restriction one of The 10 Most Ridiculous Anti-Homeless Laws in America.
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If you visit Venice and are very observant, you might notice a subtle difference. Things might seem a bit more opened up. You may see more sky. If so, that’s not likely a result of breathing in the pot smoke on Venice Beach. Rather, it may be because Venice homeowners have finally taken action in their long-running battle to restrict recreational vehicles from permanently camping on their streets. Specifically, in recent months, some Venice streets, such as 3rd Avenue pictured here, now have signs posted which prohibit vehicles over 7 feet high or over 22 feet long from parking between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
At a recent blogging.la author meet-up, we discussed some of our favorite “secret” parking spots, etc. around L.A. Everyone knows that parking in Los Feliz can be tricky, especially on a weekend night. A favorite not-so-secret place to park has always been the post office lot on Vermont, just south of Franklin.
Well, I should say was. I’m not sure when the change occurred, but when I stopped at the post office on my way to work this morning to drop off some mail, I spotted a sign for $2.00/hour and a pre-pay parking box.
Say it isn’t so! I was already running a little behind, so I just snapped the one photo with my cell phone, but the signs on the side of the building indicate that you must pay anytime outside of post office hours. Bummer.
I love Trader Joe’s for their prices, for their Joe-Joe’s, for their simmering sauces. But, all the mushy love I have for Trader Joe’s is nearly outweighed by how much I hate it for having absolutely awful parking lots. If you don’t live near one of their new and improved stores – i.e., the ones at Hollywood and Vine or Olympic and Barrington – then you’re stuck with an archaic lot that is a one-way traffic jam from hell. This is my list of the 5 Worst Trader Joe’s Parking Lots in LA.
5. Huntington and Rosemead
The Trader Joe’s on Huntington and Rosemead in the good ol’ San Gabriel Valley shares space with a Petco next door. Often, when Trader Joe’s plays nice and shares its parking lot space with others, the lot actually is not half bad (see, e.g., the parking lot at Santa Monica Blvd. and Martel in WeHo). Not so here. As you can see, the parking lot employs the Loop method. There are two entrances; whether you go with the Blues or the Reds, you’re going to be stuck in a one-way jam somewhere.
4. Santa Monica
Like its brother across town, the Trader Joe’s in Santa Monica also utilizes the Loop method, and also fails spectacularly. There are two entrances: one on Pico, and the other at 33nd (the other end of the loop). Cars inevitably converge, and it’s a bloody fight on who gets to continue through the Loop. Smarter drivers forgo the Loop entirely and opt for one of the spots in front of the entrance, or look for a spot behind the store – but good luck getting there. Those entering on Pico theoretically have a Stop sign to obey, but who listens to red octagons in a parking lot? No one, apparently.
3. Silver Lake
I think of this lot as one where Trader God threw up all the available parking spots into the air and let them fall, along with Traitor Satan, into the pits of Hell. The result: spots scattered awkwardly in a half-Loop around the perimeter of the store. Cars entering or exiting the lot from either entrance on Hyperion sidle uneasily alongside each other, angling for a spot. I’ll let you in on a secret though: if you drive on Hyperion, past this insanity, past the Cheese Store, there is an overflow lot. Park there and save yourself an enormous hassle.
2. La Brea & 3rd
What is worse than a tiny parking lot designed for a large volume of suburban shoppers jonesing for some two buck Chuck? A tiny parking lot designed for a large volume of shoppers jonesing for some two buck Chuck located right off of one of the busiest intersections of the city. For some reason, Trader Joe’s thought this little plot of land was capable of handling not one, but two, ill-fated Loops. If you look carefully at the pic below, you can make out the arrows painted in the lot, which, I guess, are supposed to tell you where to go. In practice, the arrows make no sense: they don’t guide you to safety any more than the footsteps do at Ikea.
1. Arroyo Parkway
This is the OG TJ’s, circa 1967. The template of its future stores, including, apparently, its horrible parking. The lot is a labyrinth and the parking slots are tiny beyond tiny (as my friend pointed out, “only a clown car” could squeeze in the spots). Overall, the lot is ill-equipped to handle the density of traffic and the vanity of Los Angeles (gigantormous Lexus SUVs hogging 2+ spaces, I am looking at you). Yes, I would like to know how Trader Joe’s came up with the Loop and Other Urban Parking Lot Nightmares, but what I really want to know is: How did the people in the yellow box get in and out of their cars?
That’s my list. What’d I miss?
Peace may have broken out in the battle between Venice homeowners and the California Coastal Commission regarding the epidemic of overnight parking by those sleeping in their recreational vehicles and cars on Venice streets. Last we left off, the Venice Stakeholders Association had sued the California Coastal Commission after the Commission denied the request by the City of Los Angeles to establish “overnight parking districts” on certain Venice streets, where parking without a permit would have been prohibited between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. (or 5 a.m. on some streets).
Today’s LA Times story about Councilman Tom LaBonge’s recent motion to clarify the rules regarding parking at failed meters (i.e., you should not get a ticket for doing exactly that), reminds me of the time I parked outside Amandine at a failed meter. Luckily, or unluckily, enough, a cranky parking enforcement officer was giving a ticket to the car behind me. When he was done, I asked him to look at the meter and to note it for the city and, oh, yes, to have it on the record as broken in case I received a ticket from another officer. Or, as it turned out, from him. He told me that he could (“barely”) see the “FAIL” flashing, but “if it’s working when I come back, I’m going to have to ticket you.” When I pointed out the stupidity of such a policy – since he obviously saw that it was not functioning – he shrugged and told me that my tickets would include instructions on how to file an appeal. Yeah, put the “enforcement” in “enforcement,” that officer did.
The city is supposed to tell you that parking at a failed meter is perfectly legal, and that, in such instances, that little cement spot along the curb is yours gratis. However, the city seems to keep this meter policy hidden away like a dirty secret – I couldn’t find any municipal code or other authority that states as much. Perhaps the city’s Parking Violations Bureau should respond to this very Frequently Asked Question out on their website?
Even if you do know the rules, though, there are a number of parking enforcement officers like my Lovely Rita who either don’t know or don’t care, and will ticket you anyway. Perhaps more commonly, many (excluding my parking enforcement officer) are understandably unaware of the fact that though your meter was defunct when you parked, it somehow found a second life somewhere deep inside its cavernous metal just as they were driving by in their street edition Zambonis. Theoretically, the best way to beat this type of ticket is to first, park your car at the non-working meter, and then, second, to report the malfunctioning meter (call (877) 215-3958) and/or submit the meter information online via their circa-1998 web form. For me, that’s not quite enough. Since my awkward interaction with my Rita, I have tried to remember to take cell phone photographic evidence of the dead meter in case I do get ticketed, on the theory that I’m guilty until proven innocent. Oh, that is a FAIL on many, many levels.
Venice’s battle to prevent RVs from camping on its streets took a new turn this past week, when the Venice Stakeholders Association filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the California Coastal Commission for denying Venice’s bid to create overnight parking districts (“OPDs”). The OPD plan would have prohibited parking on certain Venice streets for several hours in the middle of the night. The main goal was to prevent RVs from camping on these streets for days, weeks, and months on end. Venice residents have complained for years that these RVs dump raw sewage and create other sanitary and safety problems in the neighborhoods. However, the Coastal Commission, in what used to be termed a “cosmic wimpout,” decided in June that it didn’t want to wade into the “social problem” of homelessness, but its decision voting down the Venice OPD plan had the effect of taking a side against Venice residents on the issue anyway.
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Park[ing] Day LA is a guerrilla protest that’s creative, fun, and socially relevant — in other words, tailor-made for Metblogs. And it’s coming around again, for the third year, this September 18. So what is Park[ing] Day LA? As its organizers explain here, people all around Los Angeles will turn metered parking spaces into miniature parks, by feeding the meters and, instead of parking their cars in the spaces, well, take a look at the website and you’ll get the idea.
I like the cause, as encapsulated in the slogan “Parks Not Parking.” However, the practical side of me has a few questions about this:
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Venice is one step closer to ending its de facto recreational vehicle campground status. According to the Los Angeles Times, the staff of the California Coastal Commission last week recommended that the Commission establish so-called “overnight parking districts” (OPDs) throughout five areas in Venice, in which parking between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. (or 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. in some of the OPDs) without a resident permit would be prohibited. According to The Argonaut, the Coastal Commission will hold a public hearing and will vote on the OPD issue on June 11, beginning at 8 a.m., at the Marina del Rey Hotel, located at 13534 Bali Way in Marina del Rey.
I’m in Hollywood regularly and revel in having “good parking karma.” That is, I usually have good luck in usually finding street spots within a few blocks of my destination and avoid the lots. While I’d read about city-wide changes in parking rates, hours, and meters, it didn’t really affect me until this past weekend.
Running a little late for a show at the Pantages Theatre, where we parked would possibly make or break us seeing the beginning of the performance. With that in mind, we resolved to just find a lot and I had the cash ready to hand over. But, we saw a spot on Hollywood Boulevard very close to the theater. Based on our prior knowledge, we knew at 7:55 pm, we’d be fine parking there.
Wrong. Not only are all of the meters chopped off of the poles in favor of pay stations, there are new rates and hours. And they are outrageously ridiculous. Not only is it $2 an hour to park in that area*, it is 1 hour parking only until MIDNIGHT on Fridays and Saturdays! This is in the middle of a dense collection of restaurants, clubs, and theaters. What could someone do that will only take one hour? I’m guessing the parking lot fees will go up even higher.
Since the musical we were attending was not going to be wrapped up in 50 minutes, we ended up in a lot. At least we still made it to our seats on time.
*I don’t know the exact geography of these hours. I was on Hollywood Blvd. between Vine and Cahuenga.
While Venice residents await the world’s best coffee shop, they are dealing with a more bitter tasting issue. As the Los Angeles Times reported last month, the problem of overnight camping in recreational vehicles (“RVs”) in Venice is boiling over. Los Angeles Metblogs has covered the issue of overnight RV camping in Los Angeles area neighborhoods for some time. The latest development in Venice is the proposal, credited to City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, to create so-called “special zones” away from the neighborhood streets, where people would be able to spend the night in their vehicles. According to the Times, Santa Barbara, CA and Eugene, OR have such parking zones.
From the Weather Service email:
Red Flag “RESTRICTED PARKING – LIFTED” as of 01/12/2009, 08:49 PM.
I have to say my weather widget IS still predicting high winds through Wednesday, but at least for now the Red Flag parking restrictions are lifted.
I live in L.A. city proper on a street that is permit parking. For the most part, I don’t mind this, because it means that I usually have no problems parking on my street overnight since you need to have a resident’s (or visitors permit) to park on my street.
Because we have friends visiting pretty often, we pay for the two extra visitor parking permits so that our friends never have to worry about finding a place to park when they come over.
When we moved here in 2004, the cost for a single 4 month visitor permit was $10. That meant for two permits ($20) x 3 times a year = $60/year for our visitor parking permits year-round. Not much to pay for the convenience of having parking for our visitors.
The rate stayed the same until early 2007 (the permit fees went up in November 2006). Now it was $15 per permit every four months. So then it became: two permits ($30) x 3 times a year = $90/year for our two visitor parking permits. A 50% increase! Yikes… but ok, prices do go up, and who knows how long the visitor permits were at $10.
Well, surprise, surprise! Via City of Los Angeles Ordinance No. 180059, new permit rates are in effect as of August 30, 2008. Of course, I didn’t know this until I received my renewal letter saying that a single visitor permit is now $22.50. Two permits ($45) x 3 times a year = $135/year for our two visitor parking permits. This is ANOTHER 50% increase!
So in less than 5 years since I’ve been here, the annual cost of these things have more than doubled! (FYI, The cost of annual (non-visitor) preferential parking permits are less than this, but they have also followed the same pattern of increase.)
Is it the norm for the cost of these things to go up 50% every two years?
If so, then by my calculations, this is what I can project the cost of a SINGLE visitor’s permit for FOUR MONTHS to be:
In 2010: $33.75
In 2012: $50.63
In 2014: $75.94
In 2016: $113.91
Dude. If this is the case, I’m never having anyone visit me again.