A new weekend shuttle that allows shoppers and gawkers to leave their cars behind as they stroll trendy Melrose Avenue started running this week and was hailed by city officials and merchants as a major step in solving longstanding parking problems.
The 25-cent shuttle, which will run every 15 minutes, allows shoppers and restaurant customers to park free at Fairfax High School, 7850 Melrose Ave. The shuttle, a three-month pilot project, will run Saturdays from 6 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.
Los Angeles City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky called the shuttle "a happy compromise, designed to meet the needs of residents, merchants and shoppers, that we believe will go a long way toward solving the parking problem on Melrose."
Yaroslavsky, who represents the area, proposed the shuttle and spent about $18,700 from his council district's parking meter fund to underwrite the program and pay for the shuttle, parking lot security guards and promotional efforts. He said the effort would have failed without the school board's agreement to donate the use of the school parking lot and without cooperation from city administrators and area merchants.
Joining Yaroslavsky at a Sunday news conference to kick off the shuttle service was city Department of Transportation General Manager Ed Rowe, school board member Mark Slavkin and Richard Jebejian, president of the Merchants on Melrose business association.
"It's exciting that all three agencies have been able to come together on a solution to the sticky problem of providing more parking for Melrose Avenue," Rowe said.
Yaroslavsky, merchants and residents spent more than a year trying to find ways to accommodate shopping and restaurant traffic while preserving residential parking on side streets.
The sides reached a compromise late last year, and in February the City Council approved a new parking system that creates a mix of unrestricted parking, restricted parking and residential parking on Melrose and streets abutting Melrose, depending on the time of day and the day of the week.