Parklet Controversy Returns: Mixing Diners and Automobiles

This is the parklet in front of Cafe Vida on Antioch. Parking has been taken away and people are dining on the street.

In musings yesterday, Circling the News pointed out that Vida on Antioch Street now had a parklet. Three parking meters had been taken away, and tables, enclosed in a fence, had been set up in the street.

CTN recalled in 2014, the amount of community vitriol that came about when a similar parklet was proposed in front of Palisades Café on La Cruz, at Alma Real. Then the L.A. Department of Transportation said the site had met the safety criteria and would approve the parklet.

CTN asked did a similar proposal go to the community about Antioch Street/Café Vida? No.

Should Palisades Garden Café now be allowed a parklet?

The response was immediate. First, no one seemed bothered the community had not been consulted. Second, only one person shared CTN’s misgiving about diners and automobiles sharing a street.

If a person driving, accidentally hits the gas, rather than the brakes, it could be a tragedy. This could happen on Antioch as easily as on La Cruz.

“I am all for such a parklet [at La Cruz], but concrete barriers would be necessary to prevent a tragedy,” a reader wrote. “They use such concrete barriers in Santa Monica on Wilshire at 7th Street by Mendocino Farms and Sidecar Doughnuts.”

Another reader wrote, “While it does seem unfair that one restaurant is allowed to have a parklet that allows more outdoor seating, while the other business is denied the same advantage, I believe the two different locations and differing traffic patterns are a major factor.”

More than reader wrote that people dining in a parklet by Palisades Garden Café would be in more perilous position because of the multiple stop signs and traffic that is impacted by SUV’s driven by parents “rushing to adjacent schools.”  (Seven Arrows, Village School, Palisades Elementary and Corpus Christi are all within a two-block radius of the restaurant.)

“The Garden Cafe is located facing a busy intersection at the corner of La Cruz and Alma Real, where there have been numerous accidents by drivers ignoring stop signs,” a reader wrote, noting that “Cafe Vida is located in the middle of the block on Antioch where there is only normal two-way traffic.”

Another reader wrote: “While parking in the Village seems worse than ever, it’s hard to find fault with businesses co-opting public space after all Caruso has been allowed to do. Businesses in the wider Village need that advantage as well. When they start parking vehicles on the public sidewalk as Caruso has currently done next to the flagpole on Swarthmore, then maybe it has gone too far!”

A reader pointed out that Palisades Garden Café is filled with kids after school, which makes it dangerous. “At least the parklet for Café Vida is on a straight stretch of Antioch, no intersection in the immediate vicinity,” the reader wrote.

CTN noticed people walking in the street, in lanes of traffic, by the fence at Café Vida.

Another reader said, “We ate at the Galley on Main Street in Santa Monica last night.  If you haven’t already seen many parklets on steroids, check those restaurants on Main!  Must be at least a dozen parklets!”

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One Response to Parklet Controversy Returns: Mixing Diners and Automobiles

  1. Trish Sobul says:

    Sue, this is ‘anecdotal’ 🥰..information, but it is what I remember: During COVID the City permitted restaurants’ use of outdoor space for diners. Many made significant investment in improvements. Bonin, in one newsletter, said he supported and encouraged the City to allow them to continue. Vida had made the alley next to them their own with trellises, trees, etc. Problem: City became aware there are electrical or other hazardous utilities buried under the alley pavement… unsafe for people sitting above. So my assumption is the City gave them the parklet as a replacement. All said, I agree.. Garden Cafe’s location is unsuitable..🌷

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