Parking has become a disgusting racket in Hollywood, especially at private lots near restaurants, bars and night clubs. Twenty-five dollars for the privilege of spending $15 for a drink?
What's more, the city has squeezed out many street parking spaces as more new developments have moved into clubland. Some of our favorite secret spots have been declared off-limits except for sightseeing buses, which barely run at night.
Sometimes it all feels like one big scam to benefit the parking lot owners, who have long been cozy with City Hall. Just last year the City Council voted to make all valet services bow down to lot owners and either make a deal to use their spaces or face becoming outlaws.
There's one small, bright spot in the parking world this week, however:
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who represents much of Hollywood, announced that City Hall has struck a deal with the L.A. Department of Transportation to reduce prices at two clubland lots.
O'Farrell's office says new rates mirror meter prices in the area, with the Vine Street lot going from $2 for 30 minutes to $2 an hour for the first two hours. However, the daylong rate has increased from $12 to $13.
For the Cherokee Avenue lot, prices have gone from $2 for 15 minutes to $2 for a whole hour for the first two hours. Here's the breakdown from O'Farrell's people:
Vine Street (Lot 702)
OLD: $2/30 min; $12 daily max
NEW: $2/hour, first 2 hours; then $2/15 min; $13 daily max
Cherokee Avenue (Lot 670)
OLD: $2/15 min; $16 daily max
NEW: $2/hour, first 2 hours; then $2/15 min; $16 daily max
The councilman says it's all about the local businesses, whose owners felt the rates were unfair:
The unfair pricing structure has put Hollywood businesses at a competitive disadvantage far too long. My office has been working with LADOT to address this issue, and I intend to put the City in the business of supporting local merchants. It will help our local economy while improving our quality of life.
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Proponents of public transportation say higher parking rates are good for us in the long term because they encourage us to leave our cars at home, which is usually beneficial for your wallet, the environment and traffic.
However, the higher lot rates did mean a little more traffic for some Hollywood streets as drivers had "to circle the block to find less expensive on-street parking spaces," says L.A. Department of Transportation general manager Seleta J. Reynolds.
In any case, if you're lucky enough to nab a spot at one of these lots, you'll have a little more cash in your pocket for those $15 drinks.