Eyes on the Street: DIY Parking Spaces

5_6_10_park_1.jpgNot LADOT…

Many Streetsblog readers are likely already familiar with the myriad
accomplishments of Los Angeles’ intrepid Department of Do-It-Yourself.
If you haven’t read all about the Dept of DIY, follow the links on the fifth paragraph of Damien’s April 1, 2010 article.

DIY work is spreading in scope! Drivers are joining the movement
and painting their own parking spaces on L.A.’s streets. The photos
above and below were taken along 4th Street between Normandie and
Mariposa Avenues.

The marks are recent, appearing within the last couple months.
They’re clearly DIY because they’re done in paint, not the Department
of Transportation’s standard roadway thermoplastic. DoDIY made some
initial still-visible trial markings, too, before settling on their
final configuration which appears to be effective in spacing out the
cars to maximize how many can fit in the limited space.

What will they think of next?


  • Katie

    While I’m all for on-street parking (hello, traffic calming), my inner traffic engineering geek is compelled to point out that parking ticks actually DON’T improve the efficiency of on-street parking.

    That’s because you have to paint the spaces long enough to fit big ol’ SUVs (the standard is 22 feet), leaving a whole bunch of unusable space in between vehicles when, say, a slew of teensy little smart cars park along the block.

    Sure there are times when parking isn’t used to the maximum capacity, but in general you can cram MORE cars into a block when you don’t paint designated spaces.


  • @Katie – More of us need to get in touch with our inner traffic engineering geeks!

    Now, I am curious to go and measure and see if DoDIY uses your same 22-foot standard. I suspect that the DIY peoples just took the area and thought that four cars would fit – so they divided the available space into four equal chunks.

    I mulled over for a while about how to spin this article. I am not a fan of more parking and more cars on the street… certainly not at all a fan of “free” street parking. I thought it was more interesting than admirable – not necessarily a real improvement. I see it mostly as evidence that bicyclists aren’t the only “scofflaws” frustrated with the way our DOT does streets.

  • la rider

    Great, we need to get rid of free parking not add more illegally.

  • Katie, how effective it is depends on the driving culture and what people expect.

    When people are used to parking in tight spaces, like in italy, where you bump your way out, then yes, unmarked is best.

    But in california, people pulling up against the curve always leave extra space so their precious cars dont get bumped. This leaves a bunch of half spaces, where only a smart car could fit. In this case, painting is better.

  • LAofAnaheim

    I think the point is that the DIY department is looking to put traffic calming measures in place and not “free parking”. I’m a big transit nut…but I absolutely hate the notion of no street parking. Limited street parking gives rise to significant (..and more significant) off-street parking garages/lots, etc.. Which, in turn, gives more incentive to drive as there is more parking available, a faster street to travel (because no street parking, so we create miniature highways), thus more auto-based principles. Look at some of the most greatest world-class cities with transit usage. There’s tons of street parking, most of it free. But, due to that, they limit the amount of humongous parking garages and lots that are built. It maybe somewhat ironic…but it’s a step in the right direction. More street parking could increase transit usage.

  • MU

    It is not stated in the article, but I would make the assumption that this did not “create” any free parking. It just put parking guide marks on a block where there was already free parking. Correct me if I’m wrong Joe. I would guess this was a local resident’s attempt to park more evenly and not leave excessive space between cars as Jass describes.

    The big question is DOT going to send out a crew to erase these dastardly, unapproved street markings?

  • Statsdude

    What you suggest is possible, but.. How about this alternative. When parking is removed from the street, no additional parking structures are built, decreasing the supply, which increases the cost of parking, thereby acting as a disincentive to drive.

    In addition, with the parking lane now gone, that can go to transit/bike lanes, or the center divider (depending on the street) can be transformed into shrubs/trees, further calming traffic and reducing the urban heat sink effect.

    Both your scenario and mine are possible. It just depends on the political will.


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