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How Parking Spots Disappeared Overnight on Colorado

Business owners are incensed; DOT fails to inform CD 14.

Painted-over curb outside Pete's Blue Chip. Photo credit: Ajay Singh
Painted-over curb outside Pete's Blue Chip. Photo credit: Ajay Singh

The red paint first appeared along Colorado Boulevard on the night of Wednesday last week and by Thursday morning the office of Councilmember José Huizar began getting phone calls.

The callers were Colorado business owners—and most of them were mad. Why, they asked Huizar’s staff, had parking spots on the curb in front of their stores been painted red?

Huizar’s staff relayed the concerns to the Department of Transportation, which began installing bike lanes and crosswalks along Colorado in late September as part of the Colorado Boulevard Safety Improvement Plan.

“We requested a ‘We Need to Meet Now’ meeting” with DOT, Rick Coca, Huizar’s communications director, told Patch, adding that the curb paint job near newly installed—but incomplete—crosswalks was “beyond the scope of what was discussed on safety improvements.”

Clearly, something was wrong, as anyone who attended the series of public meetings on Colorado Boulevard bike lanes earlier this year or so would testify. Much of the talk was focused on how bike lanes would take away a vehicular traffic lane on each side of the boulevard.

“Initially, most of the red painting that was discussed had to do with the bike lanes being put in,” Coca pointed out. “This additional red painting of curbs wasn’t discussed prior.”

And indeed, although the installation of crosswalks was also discussed, parking spots along the curb, audiences at the bike lanes meetings were told, would remain largely undisturbed.

What happened on the night of Wednesday, Sept. 25, was almost Orwellian by comparison. Some 70 feet of parking space directly facing Casa Bianca, Eagle Rock’s oldest and busiest restaurant, had been painted over in red, effectively rendering the Italian eatery into a "Casa Roso." Rantz Auto Center got a 60-foot coat. Pete’s Blue Chip? About 36 feet.

In all, about 10 businesses along Colorado have been affected, Paul Habib, Huizar’s chief of staff, told Eagle Rock Patch.

“I’m getting a lot of complaints from people,” said Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce President Michael Nogueira. “We don’t have as many parking spots as Highland Park—and what we have we have to hold on to.”

Rantz Auto Center manager Jesse Nuño told Patch that while he and neighboring business owners are concerned about the disappearance of parking, the ongoing installation of crosswalks is a good thing.

“Now you have a way of getting across—[drivers in] cars know that you’re there,” he said. “The only thing is there are no lights.”

Huizar, who has presided over the slow but steady transformation of Colorado from a six-lane highway to Eagle Rock’s main street, was “not happy” to hear about Wednesday night’s development, according to Coca.

“Our office was not notified that anything other than three of four [curb parking] spots would have to be painted red because of the crosswalks,” Coca said. But as DOT began installing the crosswalks, “there were some upgrades they had to do to meet current state codes,” Coca explained, adding: “That might be true, but from our point of view these should have been discussed way in advance.”

At the very least, “a discussion with the community was warranted,” Coca said. “We relayed that to DOT and they acknowledged that.

The good news is that DOT has agreed to restore 10 parking spots, five of which are already in place, Coca said, adding: “We did hear from some businesses—they were very happy to hear that red paint from the spots was removed.” Among those who called to express their relief was Luis Rodrigues, owner of Kids Furniture Superstore, located near the Glendale freeway on 2751 Colorado Blvd.

Huizar’s office is working with DOT to determine which additional parking spots can be restored within the scope of state laws, Coca said. The bottom line is that any reduction in parking spots needs to be kept to “a reasonable number to implement our plan for a full improvement of Colorado Boulevard.”

Janet October 01, 2013 at 02:04 PM
@Avenger on what basis do you claim a success???? Sit at Eagle Vista and Colorado and then see if you feel the same
Eagle Rock Avenger October 01, 2013 at 02:10 PM
@janet that is one of the most improved intersections on all of colorado. traffic is slower, saner and safer and that is what we were told would happen. it is working! fyi, the lanes are not finished. in fact, all the way from er blvd to the 2 is not complete.
eaglerocker October 01, 2013 at 02:11 PM
@ janet: I was just at Eagle Vista and Colorado. It is 1,000% better than a week ago. Getting rid of the merge lane will save lives. How long have you lived here? Do you not remember all the accidents on this stretch of Colorado, all because of that idiotic merge lane? Now it's gone, traffic is smoother, and those morons (of all ethnicities and economic backgrounds, btw) who tried to sneak ahead of traffic at 65mph on a city street will have to follow the law, and not jump the curb and crush anyone. Keep counting those bikes, Janet. Because that's what's really important in all this, right?
Michael October 01, 2013 at 02:16 PM
@heywood I haven't actually taken a look at casa, though now I'm scratching my head. I'm glad no one understands what is happening.
Janet October 01, 2013 at 02:19 PM
@Michael...really plenty of parking on the side streets?? Those side streets are residential streets...I am sure the home owners would not appreciate all that overflow parking in front of their homes.....why do home owners..TAX PAYERS have to be the ones dealing with the overflow??? All this for a few riders on a Saturday or a Sunday.
Michael October 01, 2013 at 02:19 PM
@Tim Ryder: I ride the bike lanes every day. I was never quite in favor of the lanes, even being a local cyclist, but I can say I feel much safer now. Besides that, I don't see any of the traffic problems when driving that I thought might occur. Win-win.
Raymond Gonzalez October 01, 2013 at 02:28 PM
@S.M. @Janet the lanes are not complete. West of Eagle Rock Blvd still needs paint.
Janet October 01, 2013 at 03:58 PM
@michael....as a cyclist of course you dont see issues...but as a driver there are some. ..from eagle vista there is 1 full lane to catch the freeway and only 1 lane to continue on to Fig or la loma...then coming off the freeway the cyclist must merge with fast vehicles..continuing up Colorado over Fig we are down to 1 lane for unnecessary reasons. .coming fr9m Fig making a right onto Colorado it is all 1 lane with a right turn only causing a major back up in traffic now with the charter school in place...all for a few cyclist. .try coming up Colorado on 2 lanes near 7-11 in front of another charter school. ..traffic is crazy. ..again for only a few cyclists...@ RAYMOND...the lines are not BOLD but they are there...if people cant see them they shouldn't be driving
Michael October 01, 2013 at 04:07 PM
@Janet -- I only cycle competitively. I commute by car, which is what I meant to say-- while I am driving I haven't noticed any substantial traffic increases. Although, I may just be attempting to be optimistic considering they are here to stay.
Janet October 01, 2013 at 04:08 PM
@Eagle Rocker..I have been here 40+ yrs and my family many many yrs before that...that intersection is where i LIVE try making a left turn now onto Colorado from Mt. Helena... I know ER...not sure your point...40 yrs or 40 minutes anyone can see the speeding cars not all going to Monrovia or Duarte....why the family that speeded through Colorado years ago killing all but 1 where ER residents. .the motorcyclist in the 80's crashing in front of Tommys almost decapitated himself was an ER resident as well ..cyclists shouldn't be merging with speeding vehicles...maybe the speeding vehicles should have been dealt with 1st...once that was complete then integrate cyclist into the mix...dont just throw everyone together and say BECAREFUL
Janet October 01, 2013 at 04:17 PM
@Eagle Rocker...the collisions at the corner were before the merge lane they were right on Eagle Vista intersection due to the left turn process being so long trying to get across Colorado from a 0 mph against speeding cars at 50+ mph...there needs to be left turn arrow going ONTO Eagle Vista ..the merge lane ends at Mt. Helena Ave
Janet October 01, 2013 at 04:24 PM
@Michael...could be just an optimistic effort...well your right..they are here to stay it is just a matter of adapting to our new environment and people sharing the roads
Hart Fisher October 01, 2013 at 04:25 PM
We told ALL of you that they're going to be removing parking & they lied about it. In fact, the city's "Master Plan" has a section for removing over 2,000 parking spaces from our neighborhood. You ready for the parking to disappear from in front of your business? This means parking will be driven into the residential streets. Here's the video with the proof from their own "Master Plan" to remove even MORE parking from the neighborhood. Jose Huizar doesn't want you to watch this, believe me. http://youtu.be/0eqPyFnDOAA Spread the word to your fellow business owners & neighbors, if you speak out, they will have to put the parking back, watch the video in which LAdot's own people saw the entire plan is reversible.
Hart Fisher October 01, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Over 2,000 spaces left to remove... You read for that? Just watch to see what their "Master Plan" for YOUR city is: http://youtu.be/0eqPyFnDOAA
Hart Fisher October 01, 2013 at 04:31 PM
I re-read this article and man oh man is Huizar's staff lying to everyone. This has nothing to do with State laws. These guys are making this stuff up as they go, knowing full well this was the plan all along. Way to destroy businesses in this econonmy. How many jobs is this idiot going to cost the city? How much tax revenues are going to be lost now? This is absolutely sickening.
Steve Thompson October 01, 2013 at 04:33 PM
GET ON YOUR BIKES AND RIDE!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMnjF1O4eH0
Eagle Rock Avenger October 01, 2013 at 04:53 PM
@hart boy, have you been missed. i was actually telling my partner last night when on our evening walk that i longed for your presence. your flair for the dramatic has such a strong tradition here in nela with trailblazers like tom topping and kaye beckham leading the way. you are welcome here anytime my friend. o
Kathy October 01, 2013 at 07:14 PM
@Michael L........parking on sidestreets is the answer?? You must not be a property owner.
Hart Fisher October 01, 2013 at 07:40 PM
I'm glad you missed me Eagle Rock Avenger, way to hide behind a fake name. I've been really busy covering the lies of the Los Angeles City Council & the laws they've been skipping over in their corrupt real estate swindles & deceptions, like this one right here. You can listen to Hart Attack with an actual real estate development expert who speaks out on the exact environmental impact laws that are being skipped over & the fire codes they're ignoring in new developments. You can listen up right here: https://soundcloud.com/hartattack/episode-018 Hart Attack has been gaining in popularity so much SoundCloud has picked us up. Here's the link to the archives: https://soundcloud.com/hartattack Bon Appetite! HDF
Eagle Rock Avenger October 01, 2013 at 07:50 PM
@hart we are lucky to have someone holding these guys accountable. i applaud your effort and im super curious as to all the corruption you speak of. since you've been working so hard, im sure you have uncovered mountains of it. might i recommend you contact the doj, fbi or city attorney because i think they might be interested. and i'll be sure to check out your show. if it is half as intelligent as you, i'm in for a real treat.
Eagle Rock Avenger October 01, 2013 at 07:57 PM
oh and congrats on soundcloud, such an exclusive platform. you must be doing quite well for yourself.
eaglerocker October 01, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Because Hart is America's foremost self-proclaimed authority on celebrity cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, his opinions on law and urban planning must be heeded. I'm surprised Garcetti hasn't snapped him up for his Star Chamber.
mark October 02, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Well now that we have to park across the street, we'll at least be able to cross the street in relative safely. What with crosswalks, red curbs preventing us from darting out between cars, and slower traffic. I guess now we just have to worry about the bicyclists crashing into us. Oh and does anybody have a link that definatively explains the use of bike lanes. If I'm in a car turning right, I should merge into the bike lane (over the dashed white part) to make my right turn, correct? Bikes in the lane should then either stop behind me, like a car would in a regular lane, or pass on the left, correct? I believe nobody in a car or a bike, should ever pass a car on the right... especially if the car is turning right.
Marcus October 02, 2013 at 01:51 PM
Nice to see all the new painting road markings. Good to hear that mistakes were corrected since the plan was to only expand red curb areas giving drivers a better 'line sight' of pedestrians crossing the road.
S.M. October 02, 2013 at 02:25 PM
@mark you are to yield to bikes before merging and turning in the dashed area. As you are merging and turning (after having yielded to anyone cycling) bicyclists should pass on the left if necessary.
John Wayne's Honda October 02, 2013 at 02:33 PM
These lanes kinda look like a drunk monkey painted them, people are still stacking up in front of Trader Joes, even worse people who insist on turning left into Trader Joes. The left turn lane was removed years ago. The bottle neck up by Linda Rosa is kina confusing, there is a whole section of buffer zone, can I use that to turn onto Linda Rosa? Kinda a bummer Petes lost those two spaces in front.
mark October 03, 2013 at 11:02 PM
@S.M. Yes, that's what I figure. However it would be nice if there was something that could explain this to everybody definitively. I have witnessed a bicyclist get all road rage-ie when he was almost hit passing a car turning right on the right. Which I would think both law and common sense would dictate is a no no.
Lo Luns October 09, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Well the businesses were supposedly all in favor of the "change" and advocated for the bike lanes. What did they expect?! I'm sure they're not done yet. The ER of old is gone!!
Marcus October 09, 2013 at 08:47 PM
I'm glad we've moved into the ER of new then, though I do wish they might have resurfaced the roads before painting.
S.M. October 09, 2013 at 11:35 PM
I thought the old Eagle Rock disappeared when we removed the trolley tracks, destroyed historic buildings to pave surface parking lots and strip malls, or when we demolished many homes for the construction of the 134 freeway. Little did I know the old Eagle Rock disappeared when people finally wanted to address the safety issues on our main street and add bike lanes. The horror! We could live with having our architectural history destroyed but now with bike lanes it's just gone too far!

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