Struggling to cope with the overwhelming popularity of the $1-billion Getty Center in Brentwood--and bracing for an even larger demand during the spring holiday period--the J. Paul Getty Trust has issued a warning that visitors who arrive at the center without parking reservations may encounter long lines and possibly not be admitted.
Before the center's Dec. 16 opening, as an international media frenzy drew attention to the new cultural complex and whetted the public's appetite to see it, the Getty's estimates of inaugural year attendance escalated from 1 million to 1.5 million. But more than 500,000 people have visited during the first three months of operation, so the projected total has jumped to 2 million.
Parking reservations--which are required for all automobiles--are booked until October, except for a few slots late in the day, said Lori Starr, the Getty's director of public affairs. Most public programs are booked through March.
Visitors who couldn't obtain a reservation for one of the center's 1,200 parking spaces have been encouraged to take a bus, shuttle or taxi to the Getty. But those who use such alternative modes of transportation must wait until visitors with parking reservations are admitted. Many drop-in visitors have experienced significant delays, particularly on weekends.