WILSHIRE BLVD. — It’s a recurring scene that happens about once a week — a group of intoxicated individuals stumble loudly through a residential neighborhood to their cars in the early morning hours, waking neighbors along the way.
That’s how about a half dozen residents living off of Wilshire Boulevard painted the situation in their neighborhood since The Parlor, a popular sports bar, moved in the 1500 block of the busy commercial corridor several years ago.
Hoping to alleviate the problem, the City Council on Tuesday modified parking restrictions on several blocks north of Wilshire Boulevard, prohibiting visitors without a permit from leaving their cars on the street between the hours of 6 p.m. and 2 a.m.
The new hours will apply to 14th, 15th and 16th streets between Wilshire Boulevard and California Avenue, and California between 14th and 16th. Current regulations on those streets limit parking to two hours between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. The two hour restriction will remain in place between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. every day.
“Preferential parking isn’t an ideal solution but it’s pretty much the only tool we have to deal with these kinds of situations,” Councilman Richard Bloom said.
Several residents testified before the council in support of extending preferential parking hours, arguing that in addition to dealing with inebriated patrons, there is the issue of competing for limited on-street spots with both the sports bar customers and employees and patients of nearby Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital.
Michael Carey, who has lived in the neighborhood for a decade, said that he hears patrons walking past his house around 1:45 a.m. at least once a week. He said that owners of The Parlor have offered to purchase an air conditioner for him.
“It’s been really difficult,” he said.
City officials said that it will take about six to eight weeks to order the new signs, which are estimated to cost about $750. The signs will be installed soon after and be marked with orange flags, aimed at drawing attention to the new regulations.
Lucy Dyke, the transportation planning manager for City Hall, said that there are also residents concerned that the heightened restrictions would push the parking problem into other areas where there are no such rules.
Judie Henninger, who has lived on 15th Street for more than seven years, said that she often sees taxis racing up and down her block and has witnessed an influx of construction and hospital workers parking in the neighborhood.
“As taxpayers and voters, we pay for parking permits but we have nowhere to park,” she said.