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Parking Crisis at Venice Beach

October 26, 1986

The North Venice Beach parking crisis (Westside section, Oct. 16) can be described as a parking war of residents pitted against developers and an unresponsive foot-dragging attitude toward Venice parking in Los Angeles Councilwoman Pat Russell's office.

Most recently, this community was aroused when Thomas Safran, owner-developer of the last North Beach parking refuge for residents, thanked his monthly parkers for eight years of patronage and gave them four days to find parking elsewhere. With Russell's cheerful support, Safran plans a five-story building which will exacerbate the parking plight of those who live here.

The lack of parking for residents, viewed by some nonresidents and elected officials as an inconvenience, is in fact a major destructive force that threatens the existence of a very special community.

North Venice Beach is a rich, diverse community of working people, students, elderly, professionals and people in the arts. It is these people who have banded together under the umbrella of the Venice Civic Union and are saying that the implied solution of "move elsewhere" is morally outrageous.

Those who live in Venice know that the lack of parking is destabilizing to the community. Simply stated, if residents cannot park, people move on, and it becomes impossible to build or sustain a sense of community.

North Venice Beach over a six-block radius is parking impacted, a result of visitors coming to the beach and Main Street boutiques and competing for off-street parking. Private parking lots in the past have eased some of the pressures. Virtually all are under intense development--development which will add to the present traffic and congestion. These projects have been approved by the city above the cries of local residents who have urged the city to effectively deal with their impact on the overall parking crisis.

Adding to the frustration is the existence of nearly 300 nearby parking spaces under city/county jurisdiction which have been bureaucratically held off-limits to residents. A special thanks is in order for the Venice Civic Union for penetrating a plethora of agencies and obtaining the right to use 75 spaces on the city/county lot through Memorial Day.

Our gratefulness is tempered by the fact that after Memorial Day, during four or five months of intense beach use, we residents will have no place to park. Certainly elected officials cannot believe that North Beach residents will magically schedule extended vacations to be somewhere else.

Let us hope that the city or county will have the wisdom and foresight to deal with the crisis before a new firestorm of protest and outrage develops. North Venice residents will not allow the destruction of a community to be an acceptable solution.



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