Construction Impacts Stores on Swarthmore

By Sue Pascoe

Businesses on the north side of Swarthmore, from Sunset halfway to Monument, have been negatively impacted by the storm-drain relocation work underway on that street.

Intermittently, cars traveling east on Sunset are not allowed to turn left onto Swarthmore. This means business customers cannot turn into the U.S. Bank parking lot, or the alley leading to Ogden’s Cleaners and Palisades Florist or access the four stores still open on Swarthmore: Carly K’s, Solis Salon, Get Dressed and P2Skate.

Construction has created difficult challenges for the remaining businesses on Swarthmore.
Construction has created difficult challenges for the remaining businesses on Swarthmore.

If a motorist continues to Monument, makes a left and then another left onto Swarthmore, he or she can drive by the stores, but cannot stop—street parking has been eliminated.

Fortunately, a limited number of parking spaces are available behind the Swarthmore businesses, off the alley. But the former 100-space parking lot on the south side of Swarthmore is permanently closed.

Westbound motorists on Sunset can turn right on Swarthmore and access the alley, but cannot park on either side of the street.

The News asked Councilman Mike Bonin’s office if the city could help the businesses mentioned here.

Bonin’s spokesperson David Graham-Caso replied in an Aug. 10 email, “There are a few things that are being done to support the businesses you asked about during construction.

“The developer is posting signs (on both easels and construction barricades) that list the shops that are still open, taking out weekly ads in local newspapers (including yours) and continuing to provide access to their parking lot for all tenants on Swarthmore,” Graham-Caso said. “They are additionally using social media and email messages to help let customers know that the businesses are still open.”

The News called Graham-Caso and pointed out that the small sandwich-board sign is difficult to read while trying to avoid the construction vehicles, and there is no place for a car to stop on Swarthmore. The sign has not been up every day.

In an Aug. 4 Los Angeles Daily News article, Dana Bartholomew wrote that the L.A. Department of Water and Power has presented checks of up to $18,000 to North Hollywood businesses impacted by construction of a major water trunk line along Lankershim Boulevard. The story noted that the commercial street was torn up and turned into a construction zone, with curbside parking gone and that walk-in business had virtually disappeared.

Suffering businesses were paid through a Capital Projects Business Retention Program that helps defray losses incurred during water-line construction. The DWP paid out $191,000 to 13 mom-and-pop shops in North Hollywood and Sunland-Tujunga. Another 26 businesses have applied for cash.

Since the city (via the DWP) recognizes that these businesses provide valuable jobs and tax revenue, Graham-Caso was asked if the same type of payments could be made to the Swarthmore businesses during Caruso’s storm-drain construction.

He replied that the project was a developer’s project and not a city project.

The News pointed out that since the developer is replacing a storm drain for the city, as part of construction approved by the city, wouldn’t this fall under the Capital Projects Business Retention Program? Graham-Caso said he would check.

He was also informed that Caruso Affiliated has not paid for advertisements in the Palisades News on behalf of businesses open on Swarthmore during the storm-drain construction. Graham-Caso was unaware of this absence of advertising.

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