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Driven to Distraction, DMV Neighbors Win the Peace : * Noise pollution: A local office of the department agrees to end Saturday hours after residents complain about the racket.


DEL REY — A group of noise-weary Del Rey residents won a more silent weekend when the Culver City Department of Motor Vehicles office announced it would listen to their complaints and discontinue Saturday hours at the facility.

The last Saturday the office will be open is March 14.

"We have no plans to ever open it up on Saturdays again," said Frank Zolin, director of the DMV.

The DMV office at 11400 Washington Blvd. began offering Saturday services in July, 1990, as part of a pilot program designed to make DMV services more available to customers.

But residents, who live on three sides of the building, grew tired of spending Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. listening to the constant flow of cars and motorcycles that were passing through the facility.

"It would interrupt my sleep and general peace," said Bill Becker, who lives 50 feet away from the office. "Especially in the summer when the windows were open."

Becker and his neighbors joined the 800-member Del Rey Homeowners and Neighbors Assn. and lobbied to have the Saturday hours discontinued. One of the people they approached was Assemblywoman Gwen Moore (D-Los Angeles).

Moore took up their cause, introducing a bill to the Legislature last week that would require state-run businesses located in residential areas to operate within normal workweek hours.

"People are home all day Saturday and deserve relief," she said. "It makes sense to me to offer these Saturday services in commercial areas as opposed to residential areas."

Becker and Moore hope Saturday hours will be offered at the Santa Monica office about five miles away.

The DMV is considering offering Saturday hours at the Santa Monica office, but a final decision has not been made, said Rebecca Jorjorian, chief of the DMV's field operations division.

But residents may complain in Santa Monica too. Although the Santa Monica DMV is next to commercial buildings, there are residences close by, said DMV regional manager Roy Fields.

Culver City was one of 14 offices chosen for the project because it is located in a metropolitan area and because it has high customer volume, often translating to long lines during the week, Jorjorian said.

Many people took advantage of the Saturday hours. The office averaged 1,250 transactions each Saturday in January, Fields said.

Saturday hours were offered in response to a legislative bill mandating Saturday services at the DMV. The DMV sent a report on the pilot project to the Legislature recommending that Culver City be removed from the list of possible permanent sites.

"We want to be a good neighbor," Jorjorian said.

The Culver City DMV is also clearing up another source of friction with the neighbors.

Motorcyclists who use the motorcycle skill testing area during non-business hours to practice before taking the test will find a chain around the site beginning March 1, Fields said.

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