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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

More Questions than Answers at Town Hall on Abbot Kinney Smart Meters

By Angela McGregor

In its announcement on proposed changes to parking on Abbot Kinney of a Venice Community Town Hall held 9 January at Westminster Elementary, LADOT/LA Express Park stated: “Eleventh District Councilmember Mike Bonin and the Abbot Kinney Merchants Association requested LADOT to review the parking policies for Abbot Kinney Boulevard.”

The Councilmember and the Merchants Association desire to introduce parking meters to make the curb more attainable and accessible for the public, to increase parking turnover in the area, and to encourage more visitors to their shops.  In response to this request, LADOT developed a plan to install parking meters on Abbot Kinney and along commercial frontage on all the intersecting streets.”

The plan, as described by LADOT reps at the Town Hall, would involve the installation of so-called “smart meters” on both sides of Abbot Kinney from Venice Blvd, as well as the two lots behind the businesses, on Irving Tabor Court, which don’t already have meters. Time limitations and pricing on these meters would vary, with a two-hour limit imposed during “high demand” hours, between 8 am and 8 pm. Meters would be payable by credit card and smartphone. It would also include new parking corrals for both bicycles and e-scooters.

When asked whether the Abbot Kinney Merchants Association and the Venice Chamber of Commerce had been consulted, one rep stated that representatives from both organizations had expressed strong approval for the project. In fact, the LADOT website on the project only specifically mentions the Merchants Association, and, as reported in the Venice Update back in February, the Merchants held a meeting to explore a proposal from the City regarding metered parking installation that stated “the restrictions would be the same as existing” (whereas those proposed appear to be far more than what currently exists).

The Town Hall featured explanatory posters from LADOT and reps from that agency answering questions from the two dozen or so concerned Venetians who stopped by. Among the concerns of residents who live nearby was spillover traffic from the businesses from customers and employees who needed to spend more than two hours on AK. Prior to the installation of meters behind the businesses on AK, employees of those businesses had ample spaces to park while they worked. One resident suggested at least an un-metered, permit only lot for those employees. As for Abbot Kinney’s famous food trucks, the Council Office is proposing new regulations which would govern where they park, and allow for trucks to receive more than one parking ticket when they are in violation of the two-hour limit, a measure which would discourage them from simply adding the cost of a ticket to the price of doing business.

VNC Board member and head of the Parking Transportation Committee, Jim Murez and VNC Parliamentarian Ivan Spiegel both voiced their dissatisfaction with the fact that these changes had never been brought to the VNC, which Murez maintained was in violation of the City’s charter. Murez went on to state that they were also in violation of the Venice Specific Plan and should have been brought before the Coastal Commission. With the VNC on hiatus this month for a planned Board Member Retreat, it is unclear whether they will have the opportunity to weigh in on this plan prior to its scheduled implementation in late February.

Although one LADOT rep stated the new parking restrictions were “on the books”, those who attended who had suggestions and concerns were advised to fill out comment cards. Residents of streets near Abbot Kinney worried about being overrun by tourists eager to park for free were handed pamphlets titled “Preferential Parking Districts” explaining how residents could contact their Council Office to set up permit parking in their Neighborhoods. This despite the fact that the California Coastal Commission has repeatedly denied Venice residents’ requests for permit parking in their neighborhoods, most recently in 2013, on the basis that, in light of the lack of unrestricted parking in Venice, such limitations would unfairly limit beach access.

For the history of preferential parking see the Venice Stakeholders history.

LADOT reps also said that these new meters were to go into effect in late February of 2020. When asked whether the City had plans to bring this new scheme before the VNC or Coastal Commission, one rep informed said that this was unnecessary because the Venice Local Coast Program specified the installation of parking meters on Abbot Kinney Blvd.

In fact, the relevant portion of the Venice Local Coastal Program Land Use Plan states:

“Policy II. A. 7. Metered Parking on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The City shall install 4-hour parking meters in the commercial district along Abbot Kinney Boulevard to encourage turnover and discourage long-term beach parking, which in turn should help to increase parking availability for short-term commercial customers.”

It is unclear how the City and LADOT have resolved the clear discrepancy between the VLCP’s stipulation of four-hour parking meters on Abbot Kinney with their upcoming installation of two-hour meters during daylight hours.


Comment (1)

  1. Nicholas Antonicello

    Where was Bonin? Did he attend? Of course not! He knew this was coming, did he announce it at the Venice Sign Lighting? No. He’s a despicable human being who hates Venice, has zero respect for the VNC and this snub is the ultimate disregard he has for this community by violating the city’s charter. I guess he was not happy with the Venice Survey’s results. It takes something this offensive to get Jim Murez and Ivan Spiegel on the same side. VEXIT is the cure, VEXIT is the solution to rid ourselves of Bonin, a complete asshole.

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