By Joe Piasecki
Unpaved lots that offer free public parking near bustling Abbot Kinney Boulevard are slated for new concrete surfaces and fee-collecting parking meters.
Pending approval by the California Coastal Commission, Los Angeles city workers would start construction at the lots on the 1300 block of Electric Avenue and 1600 block of Irving Tabor Court in March, according to Dept. of Public Works documents.
The meters are intended to increase turnover at the lots and free up increasingly precious parking spaces for beachgoers and patrons of local businesses.
Current users can park all day for free. After the upgrades, parking would cost $1 per hour within yet to be specified time limits.
“That’ll be the big change. It won’t be a storage lot, but can be used by people visiting the area to dine or shop on Abbot Kinney or ride their bikes down to the beach,” said Charles Posner, a program analyst for the commission.
Once paved with a permeable concrete surface, the 667-foot long and 30-foot wide Electric Avenue lot would contain 66 marked spaces, according to Coastal Commission documents. The 520-by-30-foot Irving Tabor Court lot is slated for 50 spaces.
While the new layout would free up fewer additional spaces than a proposal by business owners to build an automated parking structure on the Electric lot, Venice Chamber of Commerce board member Don Novack said paved lots would be an improvement.
“That’s better than what’s there now,” said Novack, owner of Abbot Kinney restaurants Casa Linda and Hal’s Bar & Grill. “When it rains, the lots are a muddy mess. When it’s dry, dust gets kicked up and people nearby have to keep their windows closed tight.”
Novack said business owners have pledged more than $4.5 million toward building a 200-space structure but the plan has failed to receive city support.
Adding pavement, meters, lighting and landscaping upgrades to the Electric and Irving Tabor Court lots is expected to cost about $1.6 million.
Coastal Commission members will vote on the proposal during a Nov. 15 meeting at Newport Beach City Hall.