Merchants Object to Street Closing

Several merchants are upset that a proposed farmers market on Ventura Place will close the street to traffic, and they say it may have a negative impact on their businesses.

Twenty business owners signed a petition informing the City Council of their opposition to closing the street to vehicular traffic during a farmers market. They also said the city has not kept them informed about the proposal.

On Wednesday, Councilman Joel Wachs announced his support of the proposal, which would allow a farmers market to assemble on Ventura Place between Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Ventura Boulevard on either Saturdays or Sundays.

Several merchants said they are not opposed to the farmers market, but take exception to the street closing.

"I can't survive on pedestrian traffic," said Florence Machado, manager of the Bicycle Shack for the last 13 years.

Machado and merchants suggest that the market be moved to a large parking lot, like the one at Home Savings Bank, to avoid parking and traffic problems that would arise if Ventura Place were closed.

Representatives from Wachs' office, the Studio City Residents Assn. and the Studio City Chamber of Commerce have said the street is the best location for the market and that local businesses would benefit from having the farmers market just outside their storefronts.

Arline DeSanctis, an aide to Wachs, said a meeting between market officials, the chamber, the residents association and businesspeople will be held next week. However, Machado and Ellen Hall, owner of Ellen's Blue Ribbon Pet Grooming, said they have heard nothing about a meeting.

"We're sick of being kept in the dark," Hall said.

One point that must be addressed, the businesspeople say, is the day the market will be open.

Because most businesses are open on Saturday and closed on Sunday, some merchants said they will support a Sunday market on Ventura Place.

"Sunday makes no difference to us," said Jake Davis of Kitkraft.

Some who signed the petition said they now support the market.

"I think it's a great idea," said Eric Yu, owner of Total Photo Express.

"We need to do something to promote our street."

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