N. Windsor Ave. in Hancock Park.


 

Last week, I walked down N. Windsor Ave., a street just south of Paramount Studios, a few blocks east of Larchmont, in Hancock Park.

Windsor Ave. is full of artful, old, well-maintained housing, in a variety of styles and forms. There are 1920s and 30s Spanish, Bungalow, Art Deco, Colonial and blessedly few  Canoga Park-like stucco uglies with iron fences and cinderblock walls. But the main layout is a small building, one or two stories high, with parking in the back.

The mixture of single and multi-family provides an eclecticism and rhythm to the tree-lined, quiet street.

This was an area that probably provided housing for people of modest incomes who worked in the studios. They lived within walking distance of work, and they spent a modest part of their income on rent. Some had cars, some did not, but they could shop, work and live without driving.

An area like N. Windsor Ave. simply could not spring up organically today. Zoning laws would separate multi-family from single-family and there would be onerous parking requirements. A building with six attached units would probably require 12 parking spaces.

I looked with envy on this street and wondered why it could not be emulated in my reviving neighborhood in Van Nuys?

Then I imagined the bitching on Next Door if a developer proposed six attached units next to a single-family neighborhood. “Where the hell are they going to park?” “Who’s going to live there?” “This place is turning into a ghetto!” “Those developers are so greedy!” “I don’t want no weirdo looking down on my backyard from his bedroom!”

Los Angeles used to be so much simpler back in the 1920s.

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