When one thinks of Los Angeles, thoughts drift to vast tracts of homes with ample parking. Which is true, say in um, we don't know, uh, Norwalk. But in the older parts of LA, where the houses were built when most families just had a Model T, people are lucky to have a carport or a garage. Here in San Pedro, our one-car garage opens out onto an alley; there's not even a driveway. So plenty of residents are up in arms that the City Council, at the behest of the fire department, has sent down a decree that on red-flag fire-warning days, cars can't be parked on narrow, hillside streets. If they are, they risk being towed.
We remember back when the Oakland Hills fire ripped through what's possibly the most beautiful part of the East Bay in '91; it was horrifying. And as much of as a tinderbox as the Berkeley/Oakland Hills can be, LA's worse. Which is why the LAFD made the recommendation; in Oakland, firetrucks weren't able to get around parked cars in some instances.
On the other hand, we understand the residents' concerns. There're a lot of older single-family homes around here that've been converted to multiple units, and the only parking's on the street. The situation's the same in both established and up-and-coming neighborhoods around the city. On a red-flag day, all of those cars have to go somewhere else. It's not like a street-sweeping day where one side of the street is inconvenienced for two hours. While the city points out, there're generally only ten red-flag days a year, it's only fair that the residents are duly notified as to when those days are.
In the meantime, might we suggest narrower, more flexible fire trucks? After all so many of these streets have been narrow for nearly a century now, and they're not going to get any wider.
Parking Limits Raise Red Flags [LA Times]
The Holistic Meter Man: Would You Like Some Healing With Your Penalty? [Internal]