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Runyon Canyon Dog Park to Get Parking Lot

September 21, 2006|Lisa Richardson | Times Staff Writer

After an impassioned meeting that lasted for hours Wednesday, the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously voted to approve a parking lot for Runyon Canyon, home to the city's largest off-leash dog park.

Those opposed to the lot argued that it would cause more people to use the park, paradoxically creating parking problems for the surrounding neighborhood and increasing traffic and noise as cars lined up to enter.

"Two years from now we will be right back here," said Robert Eicholz, a foe of the parking lot plan and longtime activist on the issue.

"Adding more parking places doesn't address the core issues, and if you look at people who use the park who drive from elsewhere, they consistently tell you that they don't have a problem parking."

Those who supported the move, however, said a lot would alleviate the parking problems in surrounding neighborhoods.

It would also, they argued, make it easier for all city residents to use the park -- not just locals -- and generate revenue for the park's upkeep from parking meters.

City Councilman Tom LaBonge heralded the news, saying the decision to build a parking lot should have been made years ago, when the city first bought the park.

"This is not just a neighborhood park; this is a regional park," LaBonge said. "I've spent many days there and I've talked to people from Culver City, Beverly Hills, Baldwin Hills and the Hollywood Hills. There should be parking for the people."

Dog walkers and hikers from throughout the city frequent the 133-acre park, which stretches south from Mulholland Drive to just north of Franklin Avenue in Hollywood.

Dogs are supposed to remain leashed in some areas but can run free on about 90 acres.

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