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Selling Curb Space in L.A.

January 16, 1988

Cheers to Dallek in decrying the out-of-hand expansion of "preferential parking" by homeowners wishing to keep their adjacent curb space for themselves thereby shutting the public out by denying them little if any access.

Some time back I was on the losing end in attempting to prevent the City Council from granting yet another refuge to new petitioners. With a wink and a nod, the council lent the courtesy votes needed to the councilman's district whose citizens initiated the action. After all, it is the residential inhabitants who can exercise the greatest leverage over their councilpersons rather than the shoppers and other visitors who might use the streets for parking or the business concerns who lease space. Unfortunately, the city has approved commercial development with inadequate parking with an eye toward some use of residential streets.

A sore point to much of this is that these residential areas going "preferential parking" are usually the more affluent, enjoying many rich amenities, and for homeowners, a smart upturn in property values. But the expanded growth in commerce and related facilities has, more than anything else, contributed to these higher values. The point is these people certainly do not wish to reverse these trends, but at the same time they want nothing to do with the concerns of the adjoining establishments or the citizens who patronize them.

Turning public streets over for someone's exclusive use was never the answer. Mutual cooperative efforts must be sought so that all citizens can better coexist.

BURT FREEMAN

Los Angeles

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