The new 323 area code will be the doughnut. What’s left of the 213 area code will be the hole.
That is what the state Public Utilities Commission decided last week when it followed up its earlier announcement that because of the increasing demand for telephone numbers, the 213 area code in Los Angeles will have to be split. The cleavage is scheduled for April 1998.
Customers in an irregularly shaped area about three miles across and centered on downtown Los Angeles will keep the 213 prefix. But residents north of Dodger Stadium, east of the Los Angeles River, south of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and west of Vermont Avenue will probably switch to the 323 prefix.
It is all part of an attempt to keep pace with demand that will also see the 818, 310 and 714 area codes split within two years.
And that’s only the beginning. The commission says burgeoning demand will require more splits. In 2002, the remainder of the 310 area code will divide again, and in 2005 the same thing will happen to what’s left of 213.
The new 323 area code should be marginally hardier. The commission says it probably won’t be split until 2009.