Dear Editor – Change Happened, We Adapted

Dear Editor:

It was over two decades ago that we bought our home in Culver City. We didn’t move here for the schools or the police department. We didn’t move here so that we could someday sell our house and fund our retirement. We moved here because we fell in love with our particular street: it’s luscious trees and friendly neighbors.

We were smitten by the eclectic mix of housing. Our neighborhood is zoned R-2 and we have everything from 5 units to 1 unit on a lot. Renters and owners all share this space—walking their dogs and riding bikes with their children on balmy evenings.

When the movie theaters moved into downtown right down the street, our neighbors had the usual concerns about traffic and parking.

But we adapted.

The neighborhood was concerned when most of the Downtown CC restaurants and businesses moved on and/or changed due to development.

But we adapted.

When the Safe Routes to Schools project went in for Linwood Howe School, at least 5 blocks, the majority of our streets, became one way, and numerous bulb outs and crosswalks were added.

It was challenging, but we adapted.

Street signs went up explaining the neighborhood parking regulations.

They were confusing, but we adapted.

The city acknowledged the many assaults on our residential neighborhood due to development and gave us parking permits. It was a relief for some people and an irritation for others.

We adapted.

A few years ago, the parking permitting process went digital. Again, it was a relief for some people and an irritation for others.

But we adapted.

As development continued to increase in downtown adjacent to our neighborhood including the addition of Town Plaza, the Culver Studio remodel, the Kirk Douglas Theater re-do, the addition of parking structures, and just about everything that you see downtown now! we put up with increased noise, air pollution due to construction, parking encroachment by the construction workers.

But we adapted.

When the West End Hotel was converted into the boutique Pali Hotel right in our neighborhood, we had concerns again about construction noise, and pollution and the impacts of traffic, in addition to the loss of affordable housing in the neighborhood.

But we adapted.

Then the pandemic struck, and our downtown commercial area was totally reconfigured, eliminating traffic lanes in order to accommodate outdoor dining.

Some people were uncomfortable because their long-established driving patterns were disrupted. However, our ability to adapt as a community helped us join in the effort to save most of our downtown businesses.

The street was again changed to restore the traffic lane and move dining off the street and onto the sidewalk.

Yes, we adapted.

Every change made to the downtown business district had impacts on the adjacent residential neighborhood.

Over the years our little downtown residential neighborhood has undergone change over and over again. We have learned to adapt, and some might say even sacrificed for the greater good of Culver City. We have modeled how a vibrant city is dependent upon the goodwill of its residents.

Through all the changes and adaptations, the essence of our neighborhood: its luscious trees and friendly neighbors, has remained. Over the years some neighbors have passed on and some neighbors have moved on. We remain a mix of renters and owners, of ethnicities and ages.

Yes, the neighbors on either side of our home have added second stories that could look down into our garden. But they remain quiet and caring neighbors. We share fruit from our trees and veggies from our gardens. Our street is still full of people out walking their dogs and riding their bikes.

We have all adapted.

I often think about the role of our elected officials in the orchestration and management of change. They hear from a loud, emphatic group of people who find change intolerable. However, our city officials must make decisions that will impact not only current residents but also the lives of Culver City residents for decades to come.

We depend on their visionary leadership to help us meet the crises of housing and homelessness, mobility, and climate change.

Therefore, I don’t think the appropriate question (especially to those who consistently resist change) is always: do you like this change? Or even: what do you think of this change? But rather should be: How can we help you to adapt?


Mary Daval

The Actors' Gang