Visitors to Runyon Canyon Park (and residents of nearby streets) should be on notice that yet another change is coming to the parking restrictions on the streets south of Runyon Canyon Park – specifically to the stretch of Gardner Avenue between Franklin Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. The parking restrictions on Gardner Avenue, between Hollywood Boulevard and Franklin Avenue will soon change from No Parking Anytime Except; 2 Hour Parking 8AM-7PM Monday thru Friday to No Parking Anytime Except; 2 Hour Parking 8AM-7PM Sunday thru Friday.
Interested in why? Here is the story:
"Temporary" Preferential Parking District (PPD) No. 112 is located to the south and west of Runyon Canyon Park’s Vista Street entrance on the segments of Franklin Avenue and Gardner Street located north of Hollywood Boulevard and west of Vista Street. A few months ago the parking restrictions for PPD No. 112 were changed and made more strict so as to prohibit non-residents from parking on these streets on the weekends. As of the date of this post, the posted parking restrictions for PPD No. 112 are No Parking Anytime Except; 2 Hour Parking 8AM-7PM Monday thru Friday.
The clear point of the new, tougher, parking restrictions described above was to prevent Runyon Canyon Park visitors from parking on those residential streets on the weekends. While the new parking restrictions have accomplished that goal (though they’ve – surprise, surprise - had no noticeable impact on the number of visitors to the park) the restrictions have also had the unintended side effect of significantly hindering the ability of parishioners of St. Thomas the Apostle Hollywood to worship at their church.
Below is an excerpt from a letter from St. Thomas the Apostle Hollywood to LADOT for LADOT’s report (.pdf) on the renewal of PPD No. 112 (emphasis mine):
By prohibiting all weekend street parking around St. Thomas, TPPD No. 112 is causing serious injury to our parish. Attendance at services has plummeted. If TPPD No. 112 is renewed, St. Thomas' very existence is threatened.
For almost 100 years now, St. Thomas has been an important and active part of the Hollywood neighborhood, the greater Los Angeles community, the Episcopal Church in the United States, and the Anglican Communion. It faced the Great Depression of the 1930's, the decline in church attendance in the 1960's and 1970's, and the scourge of AIDS in the 1980's and 1990's. St. Thomas confronted all of these calamities and survived as a stronger, more diverse, and more compassionate place to worship.
Now, St. Thomas faces anew challenge - the parking restrictions of TPPD No, 112. These restrictions endanger St. Thomas' survival. It would be a great tragedy if, after weathering all the challenges of the last 100 years, St.Thomas had to close its doors due to a parking ordinance.
LADOT presented their report on the renewal of PPD No. 112 to the Transportation Council Committee on August 8, 2012. The LADOT report noted the issues raised by St. Thomas the Apostle Hollywood but shrugged them aside and recommended that PPD No. 112 be reauthorized with the same No Parking Anytime Except; 2 Hour Parking 8AM-7PM Monday thru Friday restrictions. The Transportation Council Committee (of which Councilmember LaBonge is a member), in response to public comments from by St. Thomas the Apostle Hollywood and others, and approved a motion amending LADOT’s recommendations. That motion authorized new parking restrictions - for exclusive use on Gardner Street - of No Parking Anytime Except; 2 Hour Parking 8AM-7PM Sunday thru Friday. The purported goal of the new, less strict, parking restrictions on Gardner Street being to enable worshipers at St. Thomas the Apostle Hollywood to park on Gardner Street on Sunday’s in order to attend Sunday Mass. The City Council approved the Transportation Committee report, with the new Gardner Street restrictions, on August 24, 2012.
Obviously it is unclear what the impact of the new, less strict, parking restrictions on Gardner Street will be on attendance at St. Thomas the Apostle Hollywood (and on visitors to Runyon Canyon Park). Only time will tell. Personally, I hope the new restrictions will enable worshipers of St. Thomas the Apostle Hollywood to continue to be able to attend services at their church and enable the church to continue to serve the local community.
I think this most recent issue with PPD No. 112 really highlights out how ineffective the various parking restrictions and Preferential Parking Districts around Runyon Canyon Park have been. I hope that the various ongoing issues with PPD No. 112 will push Councilmember LaBonge and the residents living south of Runyon Canyon Park to work together to come up with a way for all City residents to be able to enjoy use of these public streets so they can live, work, play - and worship - in their community.
My view, to repeat myself from previous posts, is that it is long past time for the City to comprehensively look at Runyon Canyon Park’s parking issues. The City needs to try to address the root of the area's parking issues instead of just pushing the parking problem from street to street with no care or thought given to those that might be impacted by such shortsighted measures and actions.