This morning I got a traffic ticket. So what? you say. Well, let me backtrack a bit.
My home is literally a stone's throw from the Westside Pavilion and the new addition to it, which is almost finished.
The project began with the demolition of the Picwood Theater and the adjacent bowling alley, retail store and bank building the first week of January, 1990.
Having long since resigned ourselves to having to pay for parking in front of our own homes on Westwood Boulevard, putting up with noise of all kinds from early-morning loading and unloading at the mall, dumpsters being emptied, trash on our front lawns, car alarms, dust, dirt and four-block-long traffic jams, we now have had to put up with an almost two-year construction project. How would you like to dust your living room and then 20 minutes later be able to write your name in the new dust on the coffee table?
As I write this, Ayres Avenue behind the mall is closed in both directions, closing off the north end of the alley in back of my house. At the other end of the alley, there is a "street closed" sign, which I have to ignore to get to my garage. Aggravating matters is that Overland Avenue is now closed from Pico to Olympic, and three blocks of Manning Avenue, which parallels Overland, are closed for repaving for three blocks. This, with variations, has been the sorry state of the neighborhood for about a month, during massive revamping of the streets, sidewalks, traffic signals and street lighting, which is all supposed to be for the good of the residents--in other words, me and my neighbors. (I won't mention the benefits to the mall.)
There are traffic jams all over the place because of this all day long. This means that for us hapless residents who live at ground zero, just getting to our homes is a strategic nightmare.
Now, to add insult to injury, traffic officers--at the instructions of Councilman (Zev) Yaroslavsky's office, according to the officer who cited me--are being posted to give tickets to motorists such as myself, who, out of frustration, disobey a "No Right Turn" sign just to get to my house. The alternative was going to the end of a long line of cars, which is there all day long. If I don't see quickly enough from a distance that there is no parking space in front of my house, I have to repeat the whole pokey circuit all over again. Couldn't these officers' time be better spent chasing dangerous speeders up Overland Avenue?
So, yes, I saw the sign and turned anyway. Maybe I'm just venting my spleen with this letter, but when are we going to say enough is enough? The residents were here first. Couldn't we at least show our permits and be exempted? Don't we have any rights at all?
LEONARD R. SHILTON