Runyon parking plan at center of dispute

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champAfter reviewing Dodge’s appeal Wednesday, the city’s Bureau of Engineering said that only construction noise for the project could impact wildlife in the park. The department will rework its plans to build and will return before the City Council for approval. Plans to build a parking lot on the parcel inside the park – which stretches up to Mulholland Drive – have been in the works since 1986, when a master plan was created. Although the entrance off Mulholland Drive has 25 parking spots, no parking was ever built on the Hollywood side where most visitors start the trails through entrances on Vista Street and Fuller Avenue. And that has left visitors circling adjacent neighborhoods – many with restrictive parking rules – in search of scarce parking. With 134 acres to hike, room for dogs to roam and a grassy patch of land set aside for outdoor yoga, Runyon Canyon seems a peaceful break for thousands of city dwellers. But behind its “Kumbaya” exterior, a storm is brewing among residents and outdoor enthusiasts over plans to build an 80-space parking lot on a 0.6-acre parcel inside the popular park off Fuller and Franklin avenues that weekly sees more than 7,000 visitors. Opponents argue parking in the park will destroy its natural beauty, upset wildlife and bring unwanted noise to a place that provides quiet respite from Hollywood’s bustling streets. “It’s our only last spot where the car hasn’t been able to take over, invade and dominate the area,” said Randy Dodge, who with his group New Friends of Runyon Canyon, has hired an attorney and filed appeals with the city of Los Angeles to stop the construction. Some have terrorized homeowners who say park visitors have vandalized their cars and acted belligerently on the streets. Residents also talk of dogs – and dog owners – using their yards as bathrooms. Homeowners say that a parking lot inside the park is desperately needed to give visitors and residents much needed space and that the city must do more to secure the area by locking gates at dusk and providing a park ranger. Resident Vincent Brocato said one day a woman with two pit bulls on leashes lost control of her dogs, which then leaped over Brocato’s bushes and killed his small dog. “This has gone on way too long,” said Brocato, who lives near Runyon Canyon. “We have a right to some comfort. Hikers look at us like we’re selfish. We are not. This is happening 24/7.” Armed with $950,000 to widen the park’s entrance at 2000 Fuller Ave., build the lot on decomposed granite and construct a 24-hour park ranger station, city officials are eager to start the projects. Construction could start in April 2009. The best thing for the park is accessibility, said City Councilman Tom LaBonge. He said the city will not back down from plans to build a parking lot despite opposition from neighborhood groups. “Runyon Canyon is the great Los Angeles Stairmaster,” said LaBonge. “It’s so popular it has overwhelmed the neighborhoods, and there is no parking for the park.” sue.doyle@dailynews.com 818-713-3746160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more