As a pilot program requiring oversized vehicles to obtain overnight parking permits is about to take effect in Brentwood, some Venice residents say it reemphasizes the need for an overnight parking solution in their community.
The Los Angeles City Council has approved the creation of restricted parking areas for oversized vehicles — those over seven feet high and 22 feet long — in both south Brentwood and in San Pedro to help curb overnight parking by large vehicles in those communities.
The pilot program comes after up to a dozen oversize vehicles have been regularly parking on south Brentwood streets for long periods, leading to limited parking availability for residents and creating a “visual blight” on the community, according to a city report. Some of the vehicles have out-of-state license plates and appear to belong to non-residents, according to the report.
The owners of the vehicles also appear to have been parking the vehicles for up to 72 hours at a time before moving them a short distance to avoid citation, the report said. Under the pilot program, parking will be prohibited for oversized vehicles on certain streets of Brentwood and San Pedro between 2 and 6 a.m., except by permit.
But residents in Venice say their community faces similar problems with vehicles, primarily recreational vehicles (RVs) parking on streets for extended periods, and yet Venice has not gotten a program established. Some also claim that Venice has a more pressing problem with overnight parking than in places like Brentwood.
“Have you ever seen an RV in Brentwood?” asked Camille Shaheen, who lives on Rose Avenue, east of Lincoln Boulevard in Venice. “Venice really needs help.”
While Brentwood is more spread out, Venice has many RVs that congregate in certain areas and line streets such as Rose Avenue, Shaheen said. Residents have claimed that the stationary vehicles are turning the areas into a campground, creating unsanitary conditions and visual hazards, as well as reducing the availability of parking in the neighborhood.
“It’s not fair for them to park their oversize vehicles on the street where residents need parking,” former Venice Neighborhood Council president DeDe Audet said.
Others, such as Neighborhood Council members Stewart Oscars and Challis Macpherson, said they were disappointed to see that another community has established an overnight parking program when there are areas of Venice where the program could be effective.
City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said he is “aware of the urgency in Venice” but noted that because Venice is within the coastal zone, overnight parking districts located west of Lincoln Boulevard need to be approved by the California Coastal Commission. The councilman said that finding a solution for Venice is a unique challenge, as the community has more RVs and needs coastal commission approval.
But Rosendahl stressed that Venice should not feel left out in relation to Brentwood. In October, he announced that he had secured funding for applications to create parking districts in four Venice neighborhoods, which need to be reviewed by the coastal commission.
While areas west of Lincoln need commission approval, some residents said that areas east of the major corridor could have been considered as part of the pilot program.
“What about east of Lincoln?” Shaheen asked. “Venice is a lot more than just a few blocks west of Lincoln Boulevard.”
City transportation officials said that if the Brentwood pilot program is successful, the program may be expanded to other communities, such as Venice.
“I think it’s another tool to free up parking for the residents of Venice,” Oscars said.
But some noted that the program started in Brentwood might not be as effective for Venice, as it targets only vehicles higher than seven feet and longer than 22 feet, while many of the vehicles in Venice are smaller than those dimensions.
Rosendahl pointed out that officials are continuing to explore solutions for finding alternative parking for the RV residents.
“We don’t want to criminalize these campers,” Rosendahl said.
Neighborhood Council president Mike Newhouse added, “We have to work as hard as we can to provide service for folks to find alternate parking.”
Potential plans include using empty parking lots for the vehicles, and Neighborhood Council members are also studying whether programs used in Eugene, Oregon and Santa Barbara can be applied to Venice.