Today, Friday September 16th, the City Council is considering a motion (Council File 11-1222) directing the Bureau of Engineering to prepare a report with recommendations relative to the "temporary" closure of Solar Drive at the intersection of Astral Drive. If the motion is approved by the City Council the Bureau of Engineering will complete the report and return to Council for final approval to install the gate on Solar Drive.
*Update: City Council approved the item.
This closure is being requested pursuant to Section 21101.4 of the California Vehicle Code, which permits a street to be temporarily closed to the public for 18 months and permits a maximum of eight 18 month extensions. CVC Section 21101.4 requires that the City Council find that "there is serious and continual criminal activity" on the street segment proposed to be closed and that their finding "shall be based upon the recommendation of the police department."
Alex Thayer, in an article in yesterday's Citywatch, had this to say about the proposed street closure on Solar Drive (emphasis mine):
I am concerned that the public is not being informed about city-sanctioned gating of public streets in Los Angeles. I am also concerned that some city streets are being effectively privatized for the benefit of a few wealthy homeowners.
Nine homeowners would be given possession of a key which would provide them with exclusive vehicle access to this public street, which is an important entrance for other local residents to Runyon Canyon Park.
Public notice of the proposed gate has not been adequately provided. Despite frequent visits I have never seen a notice of the gate proposal posted along Solar Drive or elsewhere in the neighborhood.
I completely agree with Alex's comments. Allowing the homeowners on Solar Drive to privatize this public street in the name of public safety is a bad idea.
As I've said here before regarding other "temporary" street closures in the Hollywood Hills (see here, here, and here), I believe the City needs to set, and meet, a high bar when closing public streets and limiting access to public land (in this case, Runyon Canyon Park).
While there may be some undesirable activity occurring on this street (and lets be honest -- what street doesn't attract some level of undesirable activity) I doubt that it is significant enough to warrant gating a public street. Installing a gate on this street may reduce the number of nuisance call the LAPD has to respond to on this street, but that is hardly a sufficient justification for effectively privatizing a public street.