No More Free Parking at NoHo Commons

The new pay-to-park rates go in effect July 15, which is too late to save me from the $232 it cost to get my car back after it was towed.

Parking has always been free at the mixed-use NoHo Commons development at 5300 Lankershim Blvd. that features , multiple food and drink options, a Wells Fargo bank, and the , but starting July 15 it will cost $1.50 for 15 minutes of parking at a $15-per-day maximum. Although it is not stated on the sign, I would assume validation will be offered at the Commons' businesses based on those otherwise high rates.

About two months ago, I parked in the lot in a 1-hour parking space with the intention of running a few quick errands and paying a visit to Kenzie Alexander and Shannon Currie-Holmes, the two women that run Cella Gallery. I have , and the visit ended up lasting more than an hour as we caught up and talked about some of the things happening around NoHo.

On my way back to my car I remembered that I had parked in the 1-hour space and thought I might have a ticket or something. As it turned out, I did not have a ticket — my car had been towed.

Two hours later I found myself standing at the counter of a dingy impound lot on Vermont Avenue, waiting to pay $232 to get my car back. Lo and behold, who walks up behind me to get in line but Radomir Luza, who for this site. He too had been towed from the lot for parking too long in the 1-hour spaces. Radomir is also a member of the Midtown NoHo Neighborhood Council, so like me, he should have known better. But alas, there we were.

The moment I saw Radomir I realized what a nice little sum of money this tow company and the Commons was making off people's stupidity. But how wise was this as a long-term business policy? It didn't exactly make me want to go back there. Did the punishment fit the crime? How many people had stopped in at Coffee Bean or Panera Bread, ran into an old friend, accidentally parked too long and suddenly found themselves on Vermont Avenue shelling out $232 to get their cars back? That's pretty close to what happened to me. My conversation with Kenzie and Shannon got very interesting and engrossing as we talked about some of the cool things they had been up to and I just plain forgot about the parking.

However, now that I see they are converting to a pay lot, I feel partially responsible. I assume with the new policy the 1-hour-parking will disappear, along with the need to tow. I guess it's happening in part because of thoughtless jerks like me who took advantage of something that was already free.

Michael Higby July 12, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Parking has always been an issue in NoHo. It is at least better than it was several years ago. I would agree towing a car that goes 30 or 60 minutes over is excessive. However you have to also consider from their perspective that folks were parking there for other businesses in the area, not paying and not patronizing the businesses that are paying for that structure via their leases. The whole reason I think that NoHo Commons was free initially was because of HOWS and most supermarkets do not make people pay to park in their lots. It still is a huge mistake that they replaced HOWS with 24 Hour Fitness. But you can thank our former (thank God) idiot Councilman and a realtor who has no clue about what NoHo is for that.
Tatyanna M. Wilkinson August 15, 2012 at 02:41 AM
I ride my bike or walk to the Arts District. I agree with those that hope folks consider not driving as much. I think folks who are advocating some type of boycott or "let the area die" just don't get how culturally enriching this area is.
Shant K. October 09, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Not sure if anyone is keeping up with this... but the 1-hour (and 30-minute) policy for the poorly-marked spaces is still strictly enforced. I am very familiar with their parking procedures because I use the lot every day for the gym. Here is what I have noticed about their standard operating procedures: There is a "security guard" who DRIVES drives his big-ass crown victoria (yes, drives even though it is a relatively small 1 story lot) and constantly marks all of the cars in the 30-minute and 1-hour spaces. As soon as the hour is up, he calls the tow truck and the car is towed away very quickly. After towing the car, the "security guard" follows the tow truck around the corner over to Blakeslee Ave. where the tow trick driver and the security guard step out of their cars and chat. Up till this point, everything I know is based on my own observations. However, I speculate that the "security guard" is probably getting some sort of a 'kickback' or 'bounty' for every car he has towed from the lot. I only make this speculation because I see no other reason to enforce the policy so strictly on a weekday morning when the lot is not crowded and is ultimately a paid lot. I personally don't mind that it is a paid lot now, because the gym validates for 3 hours, but I am bothered by how strictly they enforce the towing policy.
antonia j December 20, 2012 at 08:14 PM
my vehicle was on the tow truck just as the one hour limit was reached on my vehicle yesterday. i pulled my ticket at 11:36 am and parked (maybe this took four minutes) i did my regular 45 min workout at the gym and promptly gathered my things and validated my ticket. as i walked out to my car (this was now 12:40 pm) the unscrupulous bastards had my vehicle securely attached to their tow truck. i went ballistic on them and insisted that they "drop my f*&$!ing car...they did. this tow policy is ridiculous and an obvious scam to profit the tow company and yes, likely the patrol officer. noho commons should be ashamed of themselves and there is a definite need for policy change especially since they are now charging for parking.
antonia j December 20, 2012 at 08:15 PM
btw, i parked in the one hour space primarily because when i pulled into the lot, the patrol officer was scanning the area with a spotlight as if he were looking for somebody hiding in between the cars. concerned for my own safety and that of my vehicle, i decided to utilize the one hour space because that was more than enough time for me to do my workout and leave the gym. i figured, better to park and walk nearby the "security" officer. ha! i had no idea that security is that last this they care about and that these guys just lay in wait watching the clock and pouncing immediately on a vehicle as the final seconds of the hour tick. absolutely ridiculous! seems to me that they have resolved the problem of people parking all day and taking the subway across the street by installing the ticket booth. the businesses affected by this parking facility should raise hell~this unfortunately is going to affect them the most.


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