Residents of neighborhoods behind busy Melrose Avenue in Hollywood are requesting an unprecedented number of new permit-parking districts to keep employees and customers of businesses from parking on residential streets.
Four preferential parking districts--which limit residential street parking to residents either around the clock or during specific hours--are being proposed for streets behind a four-mile stretch of Melrose Avenue, between the West Hollywood border and Western Avenue.
Combined with other proposed districts in the same general area, there are more requests for such districts in Hollywood than anywhere else in Los Angeles, according to Richard Jaramillo a transportation engineer in the city Department of Transportation's office of parking management.
"There are a lot of (district requests) stemming from out there," said Eitan Kushner, a deputy in charge of permit-parking requests for City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, whose district includes Melrose Avenue between West Hollywood and Highland Avenue. "Melrose is a unique situation. Not only do you have employees but it's an avenue that attracts many people, and the only places they have to park are . . . streets off the avenue."
Many of the buildings that house the businesses were built before the city adopted its parking code in 1946, according to Penelope Simoson, a planning deputy for Yaroslavsky. The code, which still applies to most areas of the city, requires at least one parking space for every 500 square feet of building area.
Even fewer buildings meet more stringent parking requirements that have been in effect for new businesses along parts of Melrose Avenue since last October, Simoson said. The restrictions, included in the Wilshire West Interim Control Ordinance, require at least one parking space for every 100 square feet in restaurants and at least one space for every 300 square feet in retail stores.
Many residents have complained of noise, litter and late-night drinking by patrons and employees of the trendy boutiques, novelty stores and restaurants that have turned parts of Melrose into a major tourist and entertainment center.
"They (customers and employees) talk loudly, they laugh loudly and there have been fights going on outside," said Linda Weiner, president of the Melrose Action Committee, a homeowner group that last fall helped persuade the city to establish a preferential parking district bounded by Fairfax and Rosewood avenues and the city of West Hollywood. "Especially if you have a street-facing bedroom, it becomes a problem of sleeping at night."
The city Transportation Commission is scheduled on Thursday to decide whether to commission a study to examine ways to ease the parking crunch in the area, Simoson said. Among the measures that may be considered is a proposal to build a parking structure on the parking lot of Fairfax High School, 7850 Melrose Ave., and provide a shuttle service from the lot to businesses on Melrose, she said.
The boundaries of the four proposed permit districts near Melrose Avenue are:
Melrose Avenue on the north, Gardner Street on the west, Beverly Boulevard on the south and Highland Avenue on the east. A public hearing on the plan will probably be scheduled later this year, Jaramillo said.
Santa Monica Boulevard on the north, La Brea Avenue on the west, Melrose Avenue on the south and Cahuenga Boulevard on the east. A public hearing for that district took place Jan. 28, and a hearing examiner's recommendation on whether to establish it should be completed soon, Jaramillo said.
Beverly Boulevard on the north, Gardner Street on the west, 3rd Street on the south and Highland Avenue on the east. A public hearing on the zone is expected later this year.
Melrose Avenue on the north, Rossmore Avenue on the west, Beverly Boulevard on the south and Western Avenue on the east. A public hearing for that plan is also scheduled for later this year.
In addition to the four districts proposed for the Melrose area, another permit district is being studied for neighborhoods between Sunset, Hollywood and Laurel Canyon boulevards and Highland Avenue. In addition, a public hearing took place last week to consider expanding the existing District 13, bounded by 3rd Street, Rosewood Avenue, Crescent Heights and La Cienega boulevards.
The extension would be from Crescent Heights Boulevard about 1/2 mile east to Genesee Avenue.
Besides District 13, the other existing districts near Melrose Avenue within Los Angeles city limits are District 30, bounded by Fairfax and Rosewood avenues and the West Hollywood border on the north and west, and District 34, immediately south of District 30.