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Magnolia Bakery's Arrival Spotlights City's Parking Shortage

Photo by Peggy Archer via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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At long last, New York City's Magnolia Bakery (of SNL "Lazy Sunday" and Sex and the City fame) is poised to open up shop here in Los Angeles. But the arrival of the new sweet destination has brought to light just how many parking spaces our city doesn't have, according to the LA Times."The problem is phantom, or fictitious, parking," explains the Times, meaning that when new businesses need to prove that they have a certain amount of parking immediately available, they often claim parking spots neighboring businesses have called their own. And when there isn't enough metered street parking, people park illegally in the alleys, or take up the coveted residential street spaces that apartment-dwellers want for themselves, since their units were built without consideration to parking saturation.

Even if you find a metered spot, chances are it's been vandalized, which, Mott Smith, a planning consultant with Civic Enterprise Associates, believes is to aid the valets who operate in the area: "The suspicion [...] is that valets disable the meters so that they can use the spaces."

So when Magnolia owner Steve Abrams expected a warm welcome for his bakery, he wound up not only stepping into the tense city politics of parking, but having to invest money in a valet service just so his customers can enjoy a cupcake like Carrie Bradshaw or a rapping Andy Samberg.