Change It’s a Comin’ to the Village

Bob Dylan’s famous song, “I Feel A Change Comin’ On,” starts out “Well I’m looking the world over/Looking far off into the east/And I see my baby comin’/She’s walking with the village beast/I feel a change comin’ on/And the last part of the day’s already gone.”

Can’t help but hum the song as the Pacific Palisades business district is about to undergo massive changes.

By developer Rick Caruso’s own estimation, Palisades Village now won’t open until mid-2018, delayed by necessary storm-drain relocation below the project. This means two long years of construction and daily impacts on traffic flow and parking in the business district as residents and shoppers adjust to the realities.

One major impact will be the removal of the 110-space outdoor parking lot between Monument and Swarthmore to make way for Caruso’s underground structure. Parking is already limited in the Village area and this will force existing merchants and their employees either to search for parking every day on adjacent residential streets, or opt for paid monthly parking in one of five buildings.

According to Jose Cevallos, an attendant at the parking lot that will be demolished later this year, people have been paying $77 a month. He’s been with the company for 15 years and he hopes there will be a job for him somewhere in the organization when this lot closes.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Arnie Wishnick said it costs $150 a month at the Atrium Building on Via and $140 a month at the Chase Bank building on Sunset. There are also parking structures in two buildings on Monument at Sunset, and the 881 Alma Real building.

Lack of parking has for years driven people to park in the lots at Gelson’s or Ralphs, even if they have no intention to shop for groceries. We can expect to see security guards vigilently patrolling these lots to discourage scofflaws. The nearby Palisades Recreation Center has already implemented parking restrictions.

The News checked with Lisa Soghor, executive officer at the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, to see if merchants could pay for monthly parking in Temescal’s west parking lot, which is generally empty during the week (unless there’s filming). This seemed like a win-win idea: the Conservancy could earn steady income and merchants could park within walking distance of their businesses. Soghor responded, “While I understand that the Sunset lot is not always full, there are many times that parking in the canyon is overflowing. Of all our parks, Temescal is probably the busiest. We really can’t take spaces out of commission on a long-term basis.”

According to Caruso’s team, the storm-drain work will get underway this week, and they warn that one lane of westbound traffic on Sunset (from Carly K to Swarthmore) will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., for eight to 10 weeks. This could mean traffic congestion once the public schools start again in mid-August.

The storm-drain work will then move to Swarthmore, closing that street, which will offer a good opportunity to see how traffic flows on adjacent streets (before Caruso converts Swarthmore into a one-way street). This work will be completed in November, followed by the long-anticipated construction of the Bay Theater and all those new stores and restaurants.

You see residents, these times are a changing, and we’ll all adapt. But don’t complain now, the changes were laid out, you just had to listen to the song.

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