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New parking restrictions could make it harder to hike at this popular L.A. spot

LOS ANGELES-CA-FEBRUARY 29 , 2024: A view of downtown Los Angeles is seen from Runyon Canyon, a popular hiking spot in Los Angeles, on February 29, 2024. The Los Angeles City Council established new parking restrictions (permit exempt) for residential streets surrounding Runyon Canyon. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Downtown Los Angeles can be seen from Runyon Canyon. The Los Angeles City Council established new parking restrictions for residential streets surrounding the park. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

It will soon be harder to find parking around Runyon Canyon after the Los Angeles City Council approved new regulations for a swath of residential streets near the popular hiking spot.

Parking will be restricted west of the canyon and north of Hollywood Boulevard from North Curson Avenue to Laurel Canyon Boulevard, a stretch roughly half a mile wide. Residents living within the restricted area will be able to obtain permits from the city.

Councilmember Nithya Raman, who represents the neighborhood, requested the regulations in 2022 in response to residents’ complaints that hikers and tourists were filling up street parking near their homes.

Much of the street parking surrounding Runyon Canyon is already off-limits to non-residents, forcing drivers to flood residential streets west of the canyon, Raman said in a 2022 letter to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

“The residents deserve immediate relief” from the influx of parking on their streets, said a Transportation Committee report sent to the council in February.

Kris Heller, a resident of North Curson Avenue, said she is grateful for the impending restrictions. “This is a narrow street and it gets crazy over here, especially on the weekends,” she said.

Another neighbor, Mary Ann Christopher, said she was concerned about ambulances and other emergency vehicles getting through the street when there are cars lined up on both sides. She said she had been hoping for permit-only parking in the area.

The City Council hasn’t yet specified what kind of restrictions will apply on which streets, but the limitations will range from two-hour parking to no parking during certain hours without a permit.

Some Runyon Canyon hikers said the new restrictions worsen an already challenging parking situation and will deter people from visiting the park. There is one small unmetered lot at the top of the canyon, but it fills up quickly, according to hikers.

Two people walking on the sidewalk near parked cars
The Los Angeles City Council has established new parking restrictions for residential streets surrounding Runyon Canyon. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

“We should be looking to expand access to the outdoors, not reduce it,” said Lowell Goodman, a Hollywood Hills resident and outdoor enthusiast. “I think it's really important that everybody be able to park there and use this space.”

Runyon Canyon attracts big crowds on weekends.

Hancock Park resident Scott Manlin, who lives in a permit-only parking area south of the canyon, said he sees both sides of the issue. He hikes in the canyon nearly every day and tries to park somewhere between North La Brea Avenue and Sierra Bonita Avenue.

“I can empathize with the owners’ perspective,” he said. “They want access to parking near their house, they own those homes and they have an entitlement to it. But it's also a public good and there needs to be access to it.”

Hikers who park on or west of North Curson Avenue can walk to the park entrances near North Vista Street or North Fuller Avenue, at the bottom of the canyon. The new restrictions will push hikers looking to park more than half a mile west of these entrances.

“If you came here to hike, you can walk a little further from your parking spot to get here,” said Dean Neistat, who lives close enough to the canyon that he’s able to run there from his home.

Other hikers said crowded streets are just part of the territory when you live near Runyon Canyon.

“When you move here you sign up for it,” said Brad Hoegl, who lives near the canyon and visits it frequently. “It’s like moving to Disney World and complaining about the people.”

The City Council hasn't announced when street signs outlining the regulations will be posted.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.