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Street Parking Only

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So you want to live in a gracious vintage apartment in the Mid-Wilshire or Koreatown or Hollywood area. It has hardwood floors, a built-in, non-functioning icebox, cool tiles, and you can take the subway downtown. So it was built during the Red Car era when Los Angeles had really good public transportation, before most people had cars, and so it doesn't come with a parking space. You can deal, right?

Here are the pros and cons. The later it is when you get home, the farther you will probably have to walk from your car. Also, you need to budget for at least a few parking tickets a year for the days that you forget to move your car for street cleaning. Usually this happens when you are sick in bed, so then not only are you sick, but you've also gotten fined $45. Another thing to know with these old buildings is that often the apartments do not have individual electricity and gas meters, which means that the utility charges are often conveniently included in the rent. Less conveniently, there is a loophole in the rent control laws. If the building is rent controlled, the landlord can raise the rent 3%, PLUS 1% for each utility included -- if it's gas and electric, that's a total of a 5% rent increase each year, compounding each year, even though there's no way his costs are going up that much each year. So he can raise the rent that much, but will he? Probably. He probably is mortgaged to the hilt after deciding that an apartment building in an "up-and-coming" area in an overheated real estate market was a good investment, plus he probably needs the cash flow to support whatever lifestyle he's got that means that you can only ever reach him by cell phone in Vegas.

On the other hand, parking is so tough because this central area is densely populated -- which also means you can usually walk to get things like coffee, boba teas and juices, pho, tacos or pupusas, and basic groceries (particularly if you like to experiment with Korean, Central American, or Bangladeshi foods). Having to walk 10 or 15 minutes to and from your car means you actually get in some walking during the day, which can help keep you in shape without having to go out of the way to the gym. Still, having street parking only in a dense neighborhood does complicate things:

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Say you want to take laundry to the coin laundry. (Older buildings seldom have big fancy laundry rooms -- with the notable exception of the Gaylord building, where the HMS Bounty is always full of residents sipping cocktails while their clothes dry.)
Here are the steps:
Walk to car
Pull car into red zone in front of building. Hope you don't get a ticket.
Carry first batch of laundry downstairs.
Carry second batch of laundry downstairs.
Carry third batch of laundry downstairs.
Drive to coin laundry on Third Street.
Enjoy the sunset through the laundry room window. Drink a pineapple Fanta. Eavesdrop on a man with a thick New Orleans accent a la Harry Connick Jr. advising someone via cell phone to "chill out" and "love slow."
Pack clean clothes and linens into car.
Park in red zone outside building.
Carry first batch of laundry upstairs.
Carry second batch of laundry upstairs.
Carry third batch of laundry upstairs.
Move car to non-red street parking location.
Walk back from car.
Grocery shopping involves the same procedure, except just the unloading part.

Yeah, okay, we're spoiled in Los Angeles. In other cities, such as Washington DC or San Francisco, dealing with street parking is considered part of urban living, even in fancier neighborhoods than mid-Wilshire. And there is this UCLA professor who says that cities would be better if parking were more difficult for everyone, forcing us to develop better public transit. But this is LA. You can't plan any social event without including detailed parking instructions on the invitation. Oh, which reminds us -- your friends will have to be persuaded to come to your charming apartment for a dinner party, because there won't be parking.