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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Atwater considers converting street parking into plaza

parklet

Parklets in Highland Park (left) and El Sereno/People Street

By Tony Cella

The Atwater Village Neighborhood Council will host a town hall next month to discuss creating a pocket park or plaza  out of parking spaces on Glendale Boulevard under the city’s “People Street” program.

According to board member Karen Knapp, the council is interested in turning a portion of Glendale Boulevard into a walk-able plaza or a “parklet.”  The latter is described on the People Street website as “an expansion of the sidewalk” created by turning one to three parking spaces into an area with “people oriented” features such as seating, plants or “elements of play.” The architects for the project were leaning towards a plaza.

“They’re hoping for something a little bigger,” Knapp said.

Knapp said an area around the intersection of Glendale and Brunswick Avenue, by Kopper Keg, had been discussed as a potential location for the park, but emphasized it was preliminary and no decisions had been made.

People Street is a program created by the city  with the intent of converting redundant and underused roads into green space and parks. Local businesses, non-profit organizations and business improvement districts, among potential organizations, fund the construction and maintenance of the spaces.

The Sunset Triangle Plaza in Silver Lake was created as part of the pilot program that lead to People Street as were parklets in El Sereno and Highland Park.

Concerns over losing valuable parking spots along the Glendale Boulevard commercial corridor have been raised, according to Knapp. The program’s website argues that the loss of parking spaces is mitigated because residents are more likely to shop at multiple stores along the public space.

The neighborhood council decided to host the town hall because they recently learned the city’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment required the boards to host them. The group wasn’t sure how it would structure their first town hall meeting, but noted there was flexibility in the methodology of conducting the informal gatherings.

“Every neighborhood council has their own style,” Knapp said. “We’ll figure out what ours is.”

“Ours is flashing necklaces,” said co-chair Courtney Morris, a reference to the blinking Christmas light necklace Knapp was wearing.

The town hall is scheduled  for program on January 23  at Christ’s Church of Griffith Park. The time has yet to be determined.

Tony Cella is a freelance reporter who has covered crime and grime in Los Angeles, New York City and the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Click here to contact Cella with questions, comments or concerns.

17 comments

  1. Concerns about parking? Whenever I go to Atwater, I NEVER have to search for more than two minutes for a spot, many times even less than that. Tons of side-street parking, and lots of space in the lots provided. This should be a no-brainer as there are many nice stores, restaurants, libraries, etc to visit in Atwater, but precious few places to sit, talk and enjoy the day. It’s silly that I can find a place to rest my car, but nowhere to put my own butt!

  2. This sounds like a lovely idea, but parking is rarely what I would call easy and on Farmer’s Market Sundays it can be especially challenging. And do the residents on side streets wanting even *more* shoppers pressing further into the their neighborhoods at all hours?

    • As a resident just around the corner from there, yes. I welcome more shoppers, more visitors, and more public space. I think this is a great idea, and an easy trade off for 1 – 3 parking spaces.

  3. Rob, Atwater is quite bonkers on Sunday, but in general for the rest of the week parking is easy. On top of that the shops there need more business and foot traffic on a day to day basis or they won’t be around in a year or two. It will take away a few spaces but I think the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences it may create.

  4. You can pry my car parking spaces FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!

  5. as a Business Owner in Atwater all my customers that don’t live around the corner complain about parking in Atwater and all the parking tickets people get. So taking away any street parking is a BAD idea

    • From another business owner on Glendale Blvd. , All my customers and I mean all of them complain about parking on our side of the street ( north side) . I sure wish the city could fund a pay to park lot on our side of the street so business’ could flourish. Has anyone looked at that abandoned lot next to copper keg. That would make a great little park area and you wont be plowed into by the speedsters on the blvd.

  6. These “pocket parks” are dumb ideas. And putting them in the street is even dumber. If you want to get run over by a car, go sit int he street. Kindergarteners can figure that one out. It doesn’t matter that it is not the actual traffic lane, it is in the street, too close to the cars whizzing by.

    And who wants to sit in the street so you can get a close up view of cars whizzing by? That surely is not my idea of a park!

    As for the Traiangle Park in Silver Lake, I go by there all the time — and hardly anyone is ever using it, except for those eating at the MorningNight restaurant there. That restaurant has literally taken possession of what was supposed to be public seating spread around that plaza and put it all right in front of the restaurant for their customers, and taken over that section of what was supposed to be a public plaza as free land for them to expand their restaurant. That is VERY wrong what that restaurant has done at Triangle Plaza. If that is how it is to be, that restaurant should at least have to pay to buy that land and furniture, like anyone else.

  7. I think the comments opposing this are very telling of the sad state of our streets and public space. The parklet can’t be enjoyed because car traffic moves too fast and poses a safety threat. Nobody living within three miles wants to bike or walk to the local shops because the streets are too dangerous for walking and biking, modes of travel actually good for our health and the environment. People complain about parking, yet continue to make driving their first choice to get to these shops. Do you not see we could have a nice parklet and outdoor seating, reduced demand for curbside parking, more people walking and biking if we decide to give up one thing, and one thing only– our desire to speed through our lovely communities

  8. I think this is a great idea. A small plaza would be great for business and rent value. As for parking, there is already plenty parking on Glendale Blvd. Why is it that some older business owners always try to squash progress?

    • Jeff , this is not a forum for bullying. The “old” business owners on the Blvd are here 7 days a week. We deal with this wonderful neighborhood day in and day out. We know their kids, their dogs, their joys and their sorrows,. You on the other hand show up to collect rents so , knock it off. Don’t create problems that don’t exist. I am just concerned about the safety of my friends and their kids, nothing more, nothing less. This neighborhood is a joy to work in, now that you have finally replaced your Marijuana University and Medical Center with asset businesses to OUR community. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  9. Mr. Gardner, I have lived in Atwater for ten years. I am personally offended by your attack on the old business owners. My son and daughter have been treated very kindly by all the business owners on the Blvd. We visit them every Saturday and Sunday, Lilly La Bonge is the salt of the earth. Tom La Bonge has done more for our city than most people will ever know. You on the other hand… well I will not post what I know on a public forum. Please leave us alone. You don’t live here, you don’t work here. Your only motivation is to increase the value of your Real Estate Holding. It is no secret that your family owns the building directly in front of the proposed park area where the casket shop is located. Safety IS a major concern. Glendale Blvd has now become a mini freeway. Accidents happen all the time. If you do not have anything better to do, why don’t you focus your energy on securing a parking lot on that side of the Blvd.,. PARKING IS AN ISSUE on the weekends, for both old and NEW business owners. I agree with Lourdes Rivas, don’t create problems in our neighborhood that don’t exist, your tactics are very obvious.

  10. My family has had a business in Atwater Village for over 28 years. I have seen so many changes in the neighborhood. Glendale Blvd has more recently had major issues with parking. There is definitely a lack of parking for existing businesses, so taking away even 1 spot will hurt business. As of now, patrons are fighting for spots not only on Sundays, when there is the Farmers Market, but even during the week. They are also trying to avoid tickets on a highly patrolled street!!! I love the Farmers Market, but just making a point about the parking situation. All the businesses on the blvd support progress to this neighborhood, but honestly creating a “plaza” is not just dangerous for individuals on a busy street like Glendale, but can hurt businesses that rely on those spots! I completely agree with both Lourdes and Lilly 100%. A plaza would not “be great for business and rent value”. Aren’t rents getting high enough. I’ve been reading about all the rental increases in the neighborhood that is forcing some longtime businesses to leave this area!!!!!

  11. People move to our “westside” neighborhoods because they like them, then proceed to try force changes. They remind me of those who marry someone about whom they have doubts with the mission of changing that person. The newly changed person soon becomes unacceptable because they are now different than loved one they used to be. If you don’t like it here, don’t marry us. Just leave now!

  12. Hey Lourdes, what is with the negative stereotyping of Marijuana businesses? You folks talk bad about Marijuana, You say things about it like its bad, or it makes you lose your memory. Well, I just want to say…er…uh, I just want to say….uh, I forgot what I was going to say.

  13. Deja Vu, all over again. This is my first and only post to this site. None of the above comments came from me.

    I served many years on the neighborhood council and chamber and experienced this sort of false posting, baiting, and hacking, from a frustrated mechanic who liked to pretend. Readers should beware that anyone can say they are anyone on this forum, so leave me out of this discussion, because I will not be making any comments. in fact, I’m not sure anyone on this blog is real. I do not advertise on this web site, either. However, I am truly flattered that my political opponents give my words such importance!

  14. I can see there are many opinions on this issue. Please come to the Town Hall Meeting tomorrow night (Jan. 23) and see a presentation about this idea. Make your thoughts and ideas known.

    The meeting is at the church on the corner of Edenhurst and Garden Side, 3852 Edenhurst. 7:00 pm.

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