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Legalize It: LA May Soon OK Parkway Produce

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New rules may finally allow Angelenos to plant fruits and vegetables in parkways--those commonly found strips of vegetation or dirt between the sidewalk and the curb. Sometimes called "devil's strips," parkways are controversial both for their lack of utility and their cost to maintain. According to KPCC, the new rules being assembled by the Los Angeles Department of Public Works would increase the number of plants residents are allowed to grow in parkways, adding varieties of vegetables and food currently not on the menu.

The city already allows a few foods to be grown in parkways, but the list is mostly comprised of "grass or low-growing, drought-tolerant plants. Anything else requires a permit, which starts at around $400," according to KPCC. It only uses the word edible in proximity to beach strawberry and creeping thyme--even notorious pillager Peter Rabbit probably wouldn't bother with such meager offerings. As with so many obstacles in the city of Los Angeles, the constraints on parkway landscaping have most to do with liability (trip on a vegetable, sue the city), but the City Council recently issued a temporary freeze on tickets for violators while Public Works developers the new list. A coalition of interests, including LA Green Grounds, is pushing the city to include more vegetables, fruits, and herbs, but the new guidelines will still have to be approved by the Board of Public Works and the Los Angeles City Council.
· The push to grow fruits, vegetables on the land between streets and sidewalks in Los Angeles [KPCC]
· The Persistence of Bad Ideas, Part 1: The Devil Strip [California Planning and Development Report]