Parking wars on one street in the Hollywood Hills

Photo: City of Los Angeles.

Former LA Times reporter Hilary MacGregor describes quite amusingly the battle between her neighbors on Las Palmas Avenue in the Whitley Heights section of Hollywood, and the drivers who want to park there. "Space is at such a premium that a former neighbor of ours who had no parking place once offered us $50,000 to tunnel under our front yard to build himself a garage," she writes. "We declined." The piece is at Zócalo Public Square:

Over the years, some residents have protected their parking with their own hands—by painting the curbs in front of their homes red to keep the cars away. I’m not saying I’ve done this myself, but I can tell you that the Emergency Curb red paint at Home Depot works for this purpose.

One neighbor of ours, who happens to be a contractor, took a short stretch of sidewalk in front of his house, shaved off the curb so his car could roll up onto it, and transformed the sidewalk into his own personal parking place. Then he bought a sign that reads: “Tenant Parking Only.” It worked. The city tows anyone parks there....

Anyone can park in front of our house, to the right and left of our front gate. The curb directly in front of our gate—plus a few feet in each direction—is painted red, to leave us space to get in and out of our house.

All had been quiet on our street—until one fateful morning last week. I walked the dog at 9 p.m., and when I went out the next morning at 6:30 a.m., I was surprised to find that someone had painted over some of the curb—both to the left and right of the gate—and made it gray, thereby gaining a few extra feet for street parkers. A raccoon had walked through the gray paint and left tiny footprints. Gray paint dribbled down the street. Clearly the painter had been in a hurry.

I saw that the mystery painter had covered a lot of ground. There were new stretches of gray all around the neighborhood. Fire lanes were now gray, and everyone who had a front gate to the street lost a little footage to the right and left of their gate. They were now given exactly 36 inches of red.

Our local e-mail group was on fire. Had anyone seen the vigilante painter?...Neighbors suspected neighbors....

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