Sherman Oaks : Promised Parking Lot Still Not Completed

A municipal parking lot that the city had promised to open by Thanksgiving has still not been completed, much to the dismay of community leaders.

In September, Howard Gantman, spokesman for Councilman Michael Feuer, said the city had assurances from Howard Katz, the housing consultant for the developer, Sherman Oaks Community Housing Corp., that the full structure would be open before the holiday season.

The two-story garage, the only public lot in Sherman Oaks, is part of a larger senior housing project now under construction at Dickens Street and Cedros Avenue.

This week, Gantman said there is no longer a need for the rest of the parking lot to open. Few cars have used the 60 metered spaces available, he said, and there have been problems with youths skateboarding in the largely empty garage.

"The rest of the parking lot will be opened as soon as the initial parking is more fully used," Gantman said. The additional 146 spaces are nearly ready to open, according to Sharon Mayer, an aide to Feuer.

Ventura Boulevard merchants say the parking lot is crucial, particularly during the holiday season. Community leaders disagreed with Gantman's opinion that no additional parking is needed. They said the number of cars using the garage has been sizable, and that some motorists may not know the lot is open due to construction and what they described as poor signage.

Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn., said homeowners were assured by the city and developer during the project's approval process a few years ago that there would be adequate security measures to prevent youths from hanging around the garage.

"So we need to make sure there is no loitering, rather than using that as an excuse not to open up the full parking structure," Close said.

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