It’s time for another “First Friday” celebration on Abbot Kinney tonight and as if the crush of belligerent bodies, ape-shit rent increases, and wayward food truck trash aren’t enough to outrage the street’s business community, an emerging parking racket is leading to more frustration. Furthering a practice one source who works on the street tells us has been going on for about six months, several U-Haul trucks and vans, as well as other large trucks, were parked in valued spaces last night, earning the inevitable parking ticket, but absorbing the fine for the later use of food trucks.
It appears the rented rigs are later removed for the food trucks to secure their spot for the evening, getting a first crack at the crowd when “First Fridays” finally kick off. We recently mused on the pushy practices of mobile vendors in L.A. towards entire cities, but hogging a street’s parking spaces appears to work against both the local business community and Abbot Kinney shoppers in a newly aggressive way.
One longtime Abbot-Kinney business owner relays to Grub Street just how “pissed off” she was to come to work this morning only to find not a single available parking space for herself or potential customers, with rented U-Hauls and ticketed trucks taking up fifteen spots on her block alone. As events like “First Fridays” are designed to promote local businesses, the practice of taking up the precious spots denies the regular flow of customers at brick-and-mortar restaurants and established shops.
Another frustrated Abbot Kinney shopkeeper tells Grub Street, “All these cars have been here from yesterday and last night. It’s like a street mafia here every single “First Friday,” taking over the street and ruining it for all of the businesses.”
The detrimental parking practices don’t completely stop with food trucks, though. Just as food truck operators may be hoarding the parking on the street, it appears they have also been the victims of similar shakedowns by local valets. Our shopkeeper source tells us it’s not uncommon for restaurant valets to place their own cars in the parking spots and later demand $100 from the truck operators to park there, something they’ve witnessed on several occasions when arguments explode between the truckers and the entrepreneurial valets.