Parking redux: Chicken Corner has received in her inbox the following reiteration, update, and chastening bus talk.
First. Councilperson Ed Reyes' press deputy, Monica Valencia, emailed me, reiterating that "The Councilman has neither submitted Council action, nor has he been aggressively pushing to take away the parking subsidy at Central library."
I'm glad to hear that the man representing such a large portion of Echo Park -- and our fair city -- apparently is not eyeing those parking spaces as a source of spare change.
Meanwhile, Jose Sigala, president of the Greater Echo-Elysian Neighborhood Council has done some digging:
I found some information on the parking issue that may be of help. The City is looking everywhere for savings.
It seems from reading the minutes of the library commission that the request came from a Budget & Finance Committee hearing and the CAO/CLA's office as part of their recommendations. They are supposed to report back in 30 days on the answers to the questions you outlined.
And that's good to know. Thirty days...till a recommendation?
I also heard from a notable library user, Anna Sklar, the author of Brown Acres. The book is about L.A.'s sewer system, and it qualifies Anna as our truest underground intellectual. She wrote:
Hi Jenny, Many, many months ago, I changed my downtown library use. Now, only drive (from the westside) on Saturday or Sunday. Sunday is best for parking rate, but hours are somewhat limited. If I must use Central more often, I just bus it. Takes longer (about 45 min. each way) but it beats those hefty parking fees.
As for taking the bus, a reader named Ben put it elegantly:
The 2 and the 4 [buses] go only two blocks from the Central Library. Parking problem solved!
Yes, this is true. And Chicken Corner does feel a bit guilty (and defensive?) about the way I drive my car all around Los Angeles, when I could be taking the bus. But this is the way I live -- in my car, which I have been driving less and often with a nagging sense of profligacy. Still, the extra time for the bus, and the perceived loss of autonomy, the fear of the vastness of Los Angeles, means that no parking means no go. I use the library as a community member, not as a professional. I assume that's typical of a significant portion of Central's patrons. I hope it is, anyway.
What I'm worried about is the resource as a whole for Los Angeles. I worry about the Central Library slowly turning into a ghost ship, the way Union Station in Washington DC turned into an empty hulk -- literally two blocks from the U.S. Capitol; for the '70s and much of the '80s, you had to walk around the beautiful, empty Beaux Arts building to the temporary structures that were the rail station in back. I remember being a kid, waiting for the public bus that took me to school every day, peeking through the station's dusty windows into a more than cavernous, huge empty room that got that way bit by bit. Back then, I didn't question its being that way. The building is restored now, and it's one of the most lively and lovely places in the city. And yes, the restoration happened in plump times.
And, of course, the Los Angeles Central Library has its own history of calamity and neglect.
That said, the big, big "on the other hand" goes as follows: Perhaps through this poll they (who, who?) will find that a majority of patrons will take the bus? Time to leave the drivers sitting out in the cold for a change! If that's the way it really is, then happy clucks, for the most part.