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Mayor Refuses to Void Parking Ban on De Soto

Times Staff Writer

Mayor Tom Bradley will not rescind a rush-hour parking ban established this month on De Soto Avenue, a top aide told about 75 residents who opposed the restrictions at a meeting in Canoga Park.

De Soto Avenue “was not put in as a parking lot,” William E. Bicker, the mayor’s transportation coordinator, told the angry residents Thursday night. They had gathered, asking to be allowed to continue parking in front of their homes.

The parking ban is part of a citywide program intended to add to the traffic capacity of surface streets. Similar rush-hour parking bans are being instituted on much of Balboa, Topanga Canyon and Ventura boulevards. Ventura is also being re-striped to add a westbound lane.

Bicker said previously that the issue was the conflict between the needs of traffic circulation citywide and the parking demands of local residents. If the city backs down from the De Soto part of its plan, increased opposition to parking restrictions could be stimulated elsewhere in the city, he said.

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After no-parking signs were posted on the west side of De Soto this month, longtime residents objected and enlisted the support of City Councilwoman Joy Picus.

The restrictions ban parking on the east side of De Soto between Devonshire Street and Victory Boulevard from 3 to 7 p.m. On the west side, parking is banned between Devonshire and Lassen streets from 6 to 9:30 p.m., between Lassen and Nordhoff streets from 6 to 7 p.m. and between Nordhoff Street and Victory Boulevard from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Parked cars “are like barriers, for protection for our houses” from out-of-control vehicles, resident Tony Murillo said. He also cited the inconvenience of having to move cars or park them several blocks away.

Cars Go Too Fast

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The residents complained that cars already go too fast on the avenue and contended that addition of an extra traffic lane in each direction would worsen the problem.

Bicker promised to ask the Police Department to assign more officers to the area and eventually to use radar to catch speeders. Transportation officials will investigate what parking alternatives are available for residents, he added.

Bicker said he would ask Bradley to appoint several residents to a citizens committee that advises the Transportation Department on traffic issues.

He also offered to postpone the De Soto rush-hour parking ban for two or three months to give residents time to clean out their garages or find other places to park. But the crowd would accept nothing short of eliminating the restrictions.

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“You’re obviously going to do what you’re going to do, and you’re just humoring us,” Tammy Murillo shouted at Bicker.

Winnetka Frustrations

“I guess we’ll begin enforcement” immediately, Bicker said after his offer of the delay was rejected.

Residents also expressed frustration that the Simi Valley Freeway ramp at Winnetka Avenue is not open. Winnetka is a private road through Monteria Estates between Devonshire Street and the freeway.

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“That should be opened up immediately,” resident Harry Oblas said. “You people are wrong, incorrect, and you do not care about the people who live on De Soto.”

Bicker said that because Winnetka is privately owned by people who do not want the street to go through and who have no legal obligation to grant the city access, opening the freeway ramp to southbound traffic is not feasible.

City Councilman Hal Bernson, who represents the area, does not support the idea and has said condemnation in the wealthy Monteria Estates area would be too expensive.


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