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Why are the Whitley Terrace Steps in Hollywood Locked Up?

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A reader writes, "In the Hollywood area neighborhood of Whitley Heights, there are at least 2 public staircases (Whitley Terrace Steps) that pass between homes, but the stairs are still open to the public. Meanwhile, there are locked gates barring the public sidewalk/alleyway of Las Palmas Dr. As you can see on this map, this is a public area that should be open to everyone!! Who determines which Whitley Heights residents know the code to access the alleyway? And why gate and lock this section but not the 2 staircases nearby? As a Whitley Heights resident who is obviously not in-the-know, I want answers!! And that code." A 1986 Los Angeles Times article talked about neighbors locking up these gates because of crime, while Eastsider LA has covered unlocked stairway gates put up in Echo Park. So what's behind the lock-out now?
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