Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice is a popular street but parking in the area has become a big problem. The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) is planning to address the problems with a series of recommendations that will be submitted to the Los Angeles City Council, the Council District 11 office, and the LA County Supervisor’s office.
The boulevard is a narrow street where parking is scarce and there are few parking lots, especially behind the shops and restaurants that line both sides of the boulevard. Two additional impacts have been the First Friday events, during which shops stay open late on the first Friday of every month to encourage shopping and dining out, and the recent influx of gourmet food trucks that park on the street for extended periods.
The recommendations, created by VNC Community Officers Jed Pauker and Robin Rudisill, include: the creation of a consolidated valet parking program for the Abbot Kinney area; a parking study to address current and future needs for the area; the implementation of a Business Improvement District; and regulation of the food trucks, involving both signage to remind patrons to consider the residents nearby, and permits for food trucks, with fees that would contribute to the Venice Coastal Zone Parking Impact Fund.
Presenting the recommendations at the VNC’s September 21 meeting, Pauker said the issue was “about space-we don’t have enough of it.” Although the recommendations had been crafted following a survey, the Council wanted to hear more input from the public.
Carol Tantau, owner of a business on Abbot Kinney, introduced herself as chair of the Merchants Committee of the Venice Chamber of Commerce. “We have three primary concerns,” she said. These were parking, First Fridays, and the problems created by film production on the street and in Venice. Tantau said her committee had been meeting to discuss solutions and it looked to them like “cooperative valet parking” was a solution that might work in the future. “LA wants us to go there,” she observed.
In regard to First Fridays, Tantau said that some of the merchants were no longer opting to stay open for the event because it had become difficult for customers to park in order to take advantage of the shopping.
Other speakers also cited First Fridays as having negative impact. One man complained about “ 40 to 50 food trucks” being parked on the street and creating so much congestion that on one occasion he had witnessed a fist fight.
Another Abbot Kinney business owner said he was not against food trucks but rather against “unscrupulous business owners.” He felt that the streets were not places to conduct business and that a permit process was definitely needed to regulate the spaces where the trucks park.
VNC Officer Yvonne Guzman brought up the point that with all the controversy about “oversized vehicles” parking on Venice streets, why wasn’t the oversized vehicle ordinance used for food trucks?
Tantau noted that delivery trucks are also in the “oversized” category and they have to park in order to deliver goods to the shops and restaurants.
Tantau also said she had conducted a survey regarding the food trucks and that the reaction to them was “mixed.” The VNC’s survey, which pertained to both food truck and valet parking issues, found that 54 percent of those surveyed wanted food trucks “gone” and 52 percent did not want valet parking.
The VNC will vote on the recommendations at its October meeting.