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Don’t Park On Residential Streets!

Heading to a nightclub in West Hollywood, maybe checking out BOA steakhouse on Sunset Boulevard, why pay $20 for valet when you can park in Beverly Hills all night for free?

There are no parking restrictions currently in place on some streets in Beverly Hills bordering the Sunset strip.  For example, anyone can park after 6 p.m. on North Cinthia Street and North Oakhurst Drive next to “Luckman Plaza” which houses a steakhouse, talent agency, and the hotly anticipated nightclub, The Soho House.

Yet 50 feet away, West Hollywood enforces strict parking restrictions in their residential neighborhood. This results in excessive valet fees, causing a spillover of parking in Beverly Hills for patrons who would rather walk three blocks to the nightclub than pay $20 for parking.

Finally, the people living on this side of the border have had it.

On Thursday, with a signed petition in hand, the residents  living on the 800 block of North Cinthia and one resident from the 700 block of North Oakhurst marched into City Hall, asking the Traffic and Parking Commission to implement parking restrictions in their neighborhood from 6 p.m. – 2:30 a.m., after the clubs close.

The 500 and 600 blocks of North Oakhurst has had restricted parking for 25 years, because of impacts from West Hollywood businesses.

Residents claim employees from West Hollywood businesses and patrons park on their street all night. Most of the time it causes trash to be left on the street, disruption from intoxicated club goers who sometimes commit vandalism.

Despite their pleas the Traffic and Parking Commission voted 4-3 against implementing restricted parking after 6 p.m. —Commissioners Ken Goldman, Jeff Levine, Alan Grushcow and Chair Joyce Braun voting against.

Braun stated that the commission looked at Cinthia and Oakhurst as sperate issues.

“When the data was presented to the commission by staff (traffic counts, occupancy counts) it did not reflect a problem,” she said. “At 10 p.m., the heaviest part of the time, Cinthia is only 36 percent occupied. Oakhurst showed it was only 10 percent occupied.”

However, she pointed out the report was done on a Thursday night. If the report was conducted on a Friday or Saturday it could have been slightly more occupied.

Braun stated the commission is not shy about implementing parking restrictions, as there are 70 in the City, but felt the proposal on the table did not properly address the residents’ needs.

Issuing a two-hour parking restriction, as proposed, will not address the problem residents are having with employees parking in their neighborhoods.

“No one wants to make residents angrier, that’s not why we are here,” she said. “But we have to be smarter. We want to fix this problem, we will fix it, but this was not the right fix.”

“We didn’t have enough in the report to say,” she said.

“I think while I was sensitive to the residents concerns, I didn’t feel the information from the staff report was compelling to support a change at the time,” said Levine.

Newly installed commissioner Brian Rosenstein said before Thursday’s meeting, he walked the neighborhood finding many people in favor of the restriction. He along with Commissioners Ira Friedman and Julie Steinberg voted to implement the protection at the three-hour commission meeting.

“I see this as a quality of life and public safety issue for our residents,” said Rosenstein. “People walking through our neighborhoods at 2 a.m. is a public safety issue and a nuisance. Beverly Hills residents should not have to live with this kind of impact and intrusion from late night Sunset Strip businesses.”

Night traffic in the area will surely increase when the Soho House is completed later this year. West Hollywood approved the nightclub at a meeting in April 2009 despite a request from Beverly Hills Mayor Nancy Krasne and councilmembers Barry Brucker and John Mirisch to vote it down because of the impacts on Beverly Hills.

Deedy Oberman, who was the lead petitioner for the restricted parking on Thursday, also attended the meeting on the SoHo House last spring.

“It has always been an office building, which was fine,” said Oberman, who has lived in an adjacent house for 36 years. “Office hours are daytime hours and not over the weekend.” But she said it is not the sort of area for late-night music, lights and drinking. “I’ve got seven grandchildren, and they stay with me,” she said.

The club has been approved to allow up to 300 people in from anytime between 7 a.m. -2 a.m., seven days a week.

At the time, a representative from the SoHo House said the building’s owners and tenants had worked hard to limit the effect on their other neighbors.

Residents like Oberman will have another chance to plead their case at the Feb. 2 City Council meeting, when they will take a look at the request for restricted parking, and ultimately have the final say.

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