L.A. Coliseum Showdown: USC versus Museums for Control of Invaluable Parking

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

The interests of scandal-plagued Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission and the park full of museums it shares real estate with are colliding at local and state political levels over control of their mutual lifeline to attendees: parking.

The cash-strapped commission agreed in May 2012 to lease day-to-day control of the Coliseum to the University of Southern California (USC), whose football team plays there, but control of the parking is still being fought over with other Exposition Park tenants and their supporters.

Robert Stein, a member of the board that runs the park, told the Los Angeles Times what is at stake: “If they (USC) take over the parking structure, they're virtually closing down the museums, because there's no place to park.”

The California Science Center operates the 160-acre Exposition Park, state land south of downtown Los Angeles at the gates of USC. The park is home to the Science Center, where the shuttle Endeavor is a permanent exhibit, the Natural History Museum, the African-American Museum, EXPO Center, IMAX and the Rose Garden.

It leases a chunk of real estate to the Coliseum commission, which includes representatives of city, county and state government. The commission manages the Coliseum, a historic former Olympic venue where the USC Trojan football team now plays.

Originally, USC wanted control of the parking lots it shares with park museums as part of a deal with the commission. That generated a lot of political heat and was rebuffed, but as part of the deal tentatively struck, the school wants the state to give it control of 70% of the parking spaces on 25 days, mostly prime weekend dates. The museums would lose 1,400 spaces on each of those days. USC also wants a big discount on parking fees when the Coliseum hosts special events, which would further erode museum revenues.  

Current law directs the Science Center to “manage or operate its parking facilities in a manner that preserves and protects the interests of itself and the California African American Museum, and recognizes the cultural and educational character of Exposition Park.”

The Los Angeles Times points out that state Legislative Counsel Diane F. Boyer-Vine advised the Legislature that the law was passed specifically to address complaints that Coliseum events were hogging all the Exposition Park parking spaces.

It may ultimately be up to the courts to determine what constitutes hogging, and statutory responsibility for governing the operation and management of the parking facilities.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Giving Science Center Parking to USC Could Hurt Museum, Some Say (by Rong-Gong Lin II and Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times)

USC's Coliseum Take-Over Bid Slowed by Parking Lots (by Paresh Dave, Neon Tommy)

‘SC One Step Closer to Lease (by Sheridan Watson, Daily Trojan)

Senate Opposes Ceding Control of Parking at Coliseum (by Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times)

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