Why an Echo Park ‘Parking Ban’ (on Scott Ave and surrounding streets) is not right for our community

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The following opinion article was submitted to Echo Park Forums by an Echo Park resident. It concerns the on-going Dodgers parking and traffic issues in Echo Park. More specifically, it seeks to inform the Echo Park community, especially those near Scott Ave, about a proposed parking ban for Scott Ave and surrounding streets that may go into effect as early as June 2014. The parking ban would give certain residents permit parking privileges for “Special Event” parking, a.k.a. Dodger games, and the signing petitions are being provided by CD13, Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s office.

You can view the petition here (PDF).

While the writer of the piece believes there should be parking limits that can work, the writer feels that a parking ban will have adverse effects on members of the community who will not be able to get a permit. The writer also believes that the information about the ban lacks clarity, and therefore signers of the petition are unknowingly signing something they may not agree to in the long run.

The writer wished to keep his/her identity private. Comments and opinions are welcome.

Echo Park Forums

Echo Park Parking Ban

We have a traffic problem, not a parking problem

We are all outraged at the traffic control problems and congestion on Scott Ave with the opening of the Scott Ave gate, especially when games let out. All Echo Park residents have difficulty getting to and from homes before and after Dodger games; fans are noisy, honking horns and yelling as they sit with motors idling on Scott Ave for 45+ minutes after every game. We truly have a problem that causes everyone inconvenience and frustration, with financial and health impacts. Home and rent values may be diminished–who wants to buy or rent a house on a street with a major traffic problem 81 days of the year? Those on Scott Avenue are particularly hard hit. Car fumes make it dangerous to open windows when traffic piles up when games let out. The outrage is understandable.

Although traffic is a nightmare, especially after games, parking has not been an issue. I make it a point to go onto Scott Ave after game start times to see if parking is still available near the Scott and Portia intersection, and there are always spaces available. I’m sure a few fans park on Scott and walk, but let’s face it: it is a very long walk down Scott to the gate and then across the parking lot. Most people are too lazy and/or out of shape to deal with that before and after a game. Many Scott avenue residents I talk to say to me, “The parking is not the problem, it’s the traffic.”

Nonetheless as a result of the outrage and the frustration with the non-responsive Dodger organization regarding the traffic problems, some have called for “Special Event Parking Restrictions” on Scott and surrounding streets during game hours. I think many people just want to do something, anything, that will say “I won’t take it any more.” However, putting a parking ban on Scott Avenue will not stop people from driving down Scott to either enter or leave Dodger Stadium and will generate problems as bad or worse than what we are dealing with now.

What a Ban Means

Here are the non-negotiable consequences of a parking ban under the available ordinance as explained by Adam Bass at Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s office, who is the person of contact on the petition:

  • 10 to 24 hour ban on every game day. There are 81 game days a year, plus 12 additional events at the stadium. Some weeks there are 6 games a week.
  • No parking on a restricted block by anyone who does not have a permit.
  • Permits are issued one per car registered to an address on the restricted block–3 permits maximum to any address. Adjacent blocks will not get permits unless they vote for the ban.
  • If you currently park on a street that you do not live on, you will be unable to get a permit unless the street you live on votes to become a restricted street.
  • Any block can become part of the parking ban if 2/3 of the residents sign a petition requesting the ban.
  • There are no guest passes currently allowed under this ordinance to anyone.
  • If there is a game at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, for example, no one without a permit can park on that restricted block from at least 10:00 a.m. until 8 p.m. that night, and possibly for 24 hours.
  • Because there are no guest passes, no one will be able to have visitors park on a banned block for 10 hours + on a game day–those with and without permits alike.
  • The exception: Those with off-street parking can park their permitted vehicle on the street and have guests park in their off-street parking area, such as a driveway.

The Effects of a Ban

  • A “West Hollywood” permit parking situation that no one wants to visit, only worse because residents will not have guest parking passes.
  • Not only will there be a traffic problem, but now an artificially created parking problem where residents cannot park freely on Scott and other streets based on availability of spaces.
  • As any block votes for the ban, other parking is forced and pushed onto adjacent blocks.
  • Adjacent blocks then have to vote for the ban too, because now they will have a parking problem while parts of Scott sit virtually empty.
  • More financial consequences for homeowners and landlords where no one wants to live on a street where friends and family cannot visit and social activity is curtailed.
  • Strife on restricted blocks where those with ample off-street parking get to have guests, and those without off-street parking cannot have guests.
  • Strife between restricted and non-restricted blocks as parking gets forced onto non-restricted blocks; again the ban spreads.
  • A community where no one without a permit can park. Where will babysitters, house painters, dog walkers, assistants to the handicapped, and guests park during baseball season?
  • Again, those with ample off street parking will ultimately not pay a dear price for this proposed ban.
  • Get ready to consult your Dodger Schedule when planning to have somebody over for brunch or dinner. Game today? Too bad. Got a driveway? No problem.
  • Traffic officers cruising our streets looking to prey on anyone who didn’t consult their dodger schedule when they parked to walk their dog or visit a friend.
  • I suppose the increased revenue for the city from tickets issued to Echo Park residents and their friends could be seen as a benefit? But will that revenue enter back into the community anyway?

Conclusions and Questions

  • Is this the kind of community we want to live in?
  • Is this drastic parking ban something that should be voted in block-by-block by a 2/3 vote when in fact the entire community is affected by the ban?
  • Is this not protectionism at it’s worst, while appearing democratic on its surface, making public streets usable for parking only by a few, much of the time?
  • This uncompromising ordinance banning parking for everyone but permitted residents is obviously not a solution to the real problem, which is traffic, noise and pollution due to Dodger traffic.
  • Wouldn’t it be more valuable to have Councilman Mitch O’Farrell work on solving real issues and problems like getting the gate closed, and solving traffic, noise, and honking horns? Or at least have visitors exit down Scott Ave only after sold out games, curtailing fireworks activity, traffic control, etc. rather than setting up this unworkable parking ban?

If it is determined that we need parking restrictions, then maybe we should go through the two year approval process that allows targeted hours and ample guest parking.

The “Special Event Parking” ordinance available for “immediate relief” is a little like setting your hair on fire when you suspect you might have lice. You might get rid of the lice, but the consequences are not going to be something you want to live with. Let’s think about it.

-Resident of Echo Park

 

Thank you for your opinion piece submission on this issue. – Echo Park Forums

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