[Updated, Again] Hollywood Farmers Market Update
Satellite view of the LA Film School and the Hollywood Farmers Market.
New update: SEE-LA announced late last night that The Hollywood Farmers Market was granted a special 90-day extension on their street permits. An announcement posted to the Slow Food LA website stated that the extension was granted in order to allow time for more careful consideration of the alternatives that will give both the market and the Los Angeles Film School what they need.
SEE-LA stated in their official announcement, "As of today, the city has verbally committed to issuing SEE-LA a 90-day extension on its current street closure permit, giving us a better opportunity to understand the problems and to research alternatives. We will work with the Department of Transportation to research alternative market layouts on adjacent streets, which could relocate many of the farmers currently south of Selma on Ivar Ave., and could present the opportunity for the market to expand, which Council President Garcetti indicated he would support. The LA Film School will consider construction options to connect its parking structures and provide access to their facilities 24/7."
Turn the page for the previous update, published December 13th, and the original post:
Update: Mobilization efforts were clearly underway on Sunday morning: every vendor was sporting a "Save the Hollywood Farmers Market" t-shirt and volunteers were passing out yellow information flyers. A mass email was sent out by market manager Pompea Smith last Friday but prior to that, there was no formal communication between SEE-LA and the vendors at the Hollywood Farmers Market.
"That was the first we heard of [the permitting issues]," said Lily Baltazar, a 19-year vendor at the Hollywood Farmers Market and owner of ABC Rhubarb, a greens farm that focuses on locally grown herbs, and whose stand is north of the proposed street closure.
The LA Film School attempted a little lobbying of their own early on, but quickly departed as frustrated market patrons crowded around them looking for answers.
"The market in its current state is a community ecosystem," said Bob Blumer, a 19-year market patron who was among the people asking questions of the LA Film School representatives. "You can't just chip off a limb and expect it to continue to thrive. I used to spend $20 a week here. Now it's $120. The variety makes it a viable place to get all your fresh food needs."
One LA Film School student entering the building via the ramp to work in the labs and who asked to remain anonymous said when he comes in on Sundays, there are maybe three to five students working on projects. "There are no classes, and there are only a few of us working in there. I park on the street and walk in," he said.
A meeting is currently scheduled with LA Street Services on Thursday. According to SEE-LA posted flyers, the market is currently operating under a four-week permit that will expire in January.
The original post, published December 10th:
The issues surrounding the Hollywood Farmers Market debacle and the parking situation at the LA Film School are becoming somewhat clarified, though it appears the actual issue isn't that the school doesn't have ample parking, it's that the campus is a logistical puzzle for students and faculty. A long conversation with Antoine Ibrahim, LA Film School's spokesperson, shed a little more light on the school's position and why they want Ivar to remain open on Sundays.
According to Ibrahim, the LA Film School has not one, not two, but three parking lots, totaling up to about 390 total parking spaces. The first lot is a circular "corkscrew" lot that surrounds the base of the campus' tallest building on the corner of Sunset and Ivar. It has 150 spaces and is open to the public for parking during the market for a $7 fee. This building is mostly used for film classes and more traditional media.
The second lot is attached to the campus' second building at 6353 Sunset. This lot has 120 spaces and is also open to the public for parking on Sundays for $5. Students interested in entering this building, where the main computer animation, audio engineering, and other higher tech labs are housed, cannot access the building from this lot. All entrances within the garage are for faculty only, and Ibrahim says that due to security concerns, there are no plans to make these entrances accessible to students.
The third lot is the main sticking point. This lot is also attached to the campus' second building as well, but it only has one access point (a long ramp on Ivar near Selma) and is not connected to any of the other lots. It has 120 spaces of which 30 are reserved for faculty, leaving 90 for students and is at present the only attached parking lot the school has where students can directly access 6353.
Ibrahim said that it's not just about student access to the labs on Sundays, but that it's also about the school's ability to provide ample parking access for weekend events, open houses, and film festivals. "We have a big open house once a month on Saturdays. It's broken up into sessions and it's getting to the point where we've had to turn people away. There may be a time when we will have to consider the Sunday option."
The school moved into building 6353 in 2003, and according to Ibrahim, the street closure, and thus the lack of access to the third lot, has been, "an active issue in meetings for the past five years." Though apparently the meetings in question didn't directly include members of SEE-LA (Pompea Smith is quoted as saying that this is all news to her). Reopening Ivar on Sundays would give the school the third lot access it wants, but it will also slice the Hollywood Market in half, displacing approximately 50 vendors.
When asked about the maze of access issues in the school's infrastructure (the school's two main buildings are not physically connected to each other in any way and all three lots are very close together, but separated by walls and a narrow gap, requiring each to have their own, separate access points), Ibrahim stated that any changes to the current set up were "not on the table." Right now, the easiest solution, and cheapest for the school, is to reopen Ivar on Sundays to allow access to the third lot.
"The city understands where we stand," said Ibrahim. "Efforts to change things haven't been successful over the years. A lot of alternatives have been thrown out there. All were rejected."
The Hollywood market will be open this Sunday, but after that its future is uncertain. A meeting to try and negotiate a compromise is currently scheduled for next Monday.
Read the City of Los Angeles' event permitting regulations online here here.
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