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Free valet parking on 3rd Street for the holidays

December 4, 2008 |  3:16 pm

Thirdstreet With parking a frequent problem along 3rd Street in Los Angeles, several businesses have come up with a solution: They are offering free valet parking on holiday weekends this year.

As the neighborhood just east of the Grove and Pan Pacific Park has become trendier in recent years, parking has become tighter. One recent estimate found that on weekends more than 85% of the parking spaces on the street are taken.

"Chances are when you drive down 3rd Street on your first lap you won't find a parking space," said Mott Smith of Civic Enterprise Associates, a planning firm hired to help the neighborhood deal with its parking woes.

That, he said, results in a lot of 3rd Street visitors circling the block or parking in adjacent residential neighborhoods. You can probably guess who doesn't like that: the adjacent residential neighborhoods.

The "universal valet" service allows motorists to drop off and pick up their cars at any of four locations on 3rd Street between Fairfax Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21. You can even drop your vehicle at one location and pick it up at another. Several area businesses forked over the money for the pilot program, which was put together by the West 3rd Street Business Assn., Mid-City West Neighborhood Council and office of Councilman Jack Weiss.

This is a test program for now to see how it works. If it does, Smith said that the area may consider adopting universal valet in the evenings. Many of the popular restaurants already have their own valets, but they have to compete with one another for space and having just one firm offer the service may make things easier involved.

Steve Hymon

Photo: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times