By CONNIE ACOSTA
ECHO PARK — “Where can I park?” is a frequently asked question in Echo Park. Coming up with a helpful answer, however, can often be a challenge.
Shoppers, bar-hoppers, restaurant patrons and Dodger fans can fill up almost all available street spaces on Sunset Boulevard and surrounding residential streets. Street cleaning, movie shoots and Sunday morning church services can also leave motorists circling the block looking for a space.
Despite efforts by city officials and businesses to ease the parking crunch, finding an empty space can sometimes be hard to find for visitors as well as residents.
“It depends on the day and time when you can find parking,” said Rhonda Reynolds, who co-owns Masa of Echo Park at the corner of Sunset Boulevard at Lemoyne Street. “Best parking is any day before 6 p.m. and worst parking is any day after 6 p.m.”
Though many Masa customers walk or ride bikes, Reynolds is glad that the city recently expanded the time limit on nearby parking meters from one hour to two.
Several blocks east, Jen Monsein, manager of The Park restaurant, said that some customers do walk down from the hills of Echo Park and Angeleno Heights. But most people drive to the restaurant at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Douglas Street, and they frequently complain about parking. The Park has two, on-site parking spaces during the day, and five at night by arrangement with a nearby business.
“It’s almost daily that we field complaints about the lack of parking,” Monsein said. The Park loves the Dodgers, but when they’re in full swing – “there is NO PARKING! We get a good amount of cancellations from people fed up with driving in circles looking for spaces,” she added.
On Alvarado Street, the parking crunch becomes acute during the morning and evening rush hours when “No Parking”restrictions are imposed. This restriction eliminates all the street parking on the block where Tierra Mía Café is located.
“People say they don’t stop here sometimes because they can’t find parking,” said cafe employee Ashley Marquez.
Marquez’ solution: “A parking structure would be helpful anywhere around here.”
Parking has become difficult for residents, especially for those who live near the restaurants and bars of Sunset Boulevard.
“On weekend nights it’s pretty bad, won’t clear up until 2 a.m.” Ramy Youssef, an Elsinore Street resident, said. “During the week it’s hard also. I’ve been hearing about regulating the street since I moved in two years ago.”
In fact, residents of Elsinore and nearby Mohawk Street earlier this year circulated a petition that would reserve parking only for permit holders during certain hours.
“The Permit Parking District for Elsinore and Mohawk has been approved, and residents on those blocks have submitted signatures of up to 80% support for the implementation of the permit district on their street,” said an email update from Council District 13. “The signatures are currently being verified, and soon thereafter signs and permits will be posted and distributed.”
While the Permit Parking District will provide some relief for residents, it will likely cause more parking headaches for visitors.
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