CARS LINE LOYOLA BOULEVARD near LMU’s southern entrance. Residents say the vast majority of the vehicles on residential side streets belong to students attending the university.

Homeowners living in the neighborhoods adjacent to Loyola Marymount University say what many consider to be a longtime irritant for them may soon become a full-blown problem due to the university’s decision to charge its students to park on campus.
Last year, LMU officials announced that they would be charging students and faculty for parking as one of the approaches to offset the costs of a 20-year plan to refurbish the university’s existing infrastructure and attract additional students.
The university is embarking on an ambitious campus renovation that was approved by the Los Angeles City Council in 2011. Its master plan will update many of LMU’s laboratories, offices, sports facilities and other campus infrastructure, including the creation of additional parking.
Per the master plan, at least 600 additional parking spaces will be added.
Students using the nearby neighborhoods to park and walk to class has been an ongoing problem for years due to their proximity to the university, many of the homeowners say. But they expect many more to park on their streets now that that students will be required to pay for on-campus parking, and some angry residents say the influx has already begun.
Lee Rittenour says the neighborhood parking problem has been exacerbated due to the new parking fees.
“The parking has always been difficult but it is intolerable now,” said Rittenour, who lives on Gonzaga Avenue. “The gardeners cannot mow (lawns) because there is no place to park their trucks and use their tools. A plumber, workman, etc. cannot help the homeowner due to no parking.”
Rittenour said her husband was recently forced to park three blocks away from their home. “This is inexcusable and unlawful,” she said.
But Lynn Adelman, a homeowner on Nardian Way, says she has not noticed an abundance of additional cars in the neighborhood in recent weeks.
“Nardian Way has been saved so far,” said Adelman, who resides three blocks from the Loyola Boulevard entrance.
However, she anticipates that might change after more students begin to learn that they can park in the nearby residential streets for free.
“I do not believe that we have seen the full impact yet,” she said. “When (more students) get ticketed on campus, I think we’ll see more of them parking on our streets.”
An advisory committee that was created in accordance with the master plan was scheduled to hold a community meeting to discuss the possibility of creating a district with permit parking for residents and their guests at the Westchester Senior Center Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office invited a member of the city’s Department of Transportation to address the topic of permit parking and what it would entail to establish such a district near LMU.
Under an agreement forged between city officials and the university during the time that the master plan was approved, LMU agreed to contribute funds to help offset the cost of permits of residents who are in favor of restricted parking.
Section of the development agreement states, “(LMU), in the event of community requests for permit parking, to support the formation of a parking permit district, and to fund the cost of two annual parking permits per household for the area shown in Exhibit G, up to $24,000 annually, should a parking district be established by the Department of Transportation through the city’s standard procedure for establishing such districts.”
LMU Vice President of Communications Kathleen Flanagan said the university will not take a position on whether or not the homeowners should establish permit parking. “We are neutral,” she said. “At this point, we’re seeing a split with some who want it and others that don’t.”
Richard Hofmeister, an architect who lives on McConnell Avenue and was involved in negotiations with LMU during the master plan discussions, said the question of preferential parking is a situation that does have some nuances.
“The balancing act is that in order to pay for the master plan the neighborhoods had to agree that there should be a parking district,” he said.
Rittenour rejected the notion of permit parking. “This forces the neighbors to pay for something that the university is causing and is taking no responsibility for,” she asserted.
Adelman said neighbors with whom she has had discussions were also steadfastly against permit parking. “I am totally opposed to it,” she said. “It takes away my freedom and will make everything totally inconvenient.”
Rosendahl, who represents Westchester, said the decision on whether or not to have permit parking lies with those who live near LMU.
“If they don’t want permit parking, we’ll look to another strategy,” the councilman said. “But if the neighborhood feels strongly about it, then they will have to understand what permit parking is all about.”
In order to establish a preferential parking district, a neighborhood is required to send the Department of Transportation a letter requesting such a district, which will be followed with an informal meeting with transportation representatives.
Residents must also submit petitions requesting the parking district, which is then followed by at least one public hearing if all necessary criteria are met.
In order for a block to obtain preferential parking, two-thirds of the households on the block would be required to sign a permit parking petition prior to a request being granted, according to the municipal transportation department.
Flanagan said that if enough residents voice support for the parking district, university officials are hopeful that the surveys and petition process can begin by the spring.
Currently, there is a moratorium on preferential parking districts throughout Los Angeles.