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There Must be More Parking Spaces in Here Somewhere?

Los Angeles, California suffered through a strike by City transit workers, who operated the streetcars and buses there that began on June 20, 1955. Over a million people who relied on these services either drove their cars, carpooled with others or took a taxi to get to work. The Los Angeles police department reported that automobile traffic was close to one and one-half times more than on a normal on an average day and LA was inundated with cars and taxis.

The lead photo and the enlargeable version of it below show a parking lot operator standing on top of a car in the lot at the intersection of West Olympic Boulevard and South Olive Street in downtown Los Angeles to see if any more spaces were open at the facility.

More photos are visible below courtesy of the USC Libraries. Look for more images of other jammed parking lots and streets in Los Angeles the near future.

  • Enlargeable image of the operator and the parking facility at West Olive Boulevard and South Olive Street.

  • A limousine taking on passengers at a bus stop above, and Los Angeles Transit Department workers below standing in line to vote for the strike.

 

19 responses to “There Must be More Parking Spaces in Here Somewhere?

  1. The most interesting car to me is the DeSoto suburban in the second picture. As a young man I remember these as something very different from the ordinary. Also the K-F traveler….a lot of innovation was taking place In the early 50’s.

  2. In the 2nd photograph are a lot of people piling into a 1949 or ’50 DeSOTO Suburban.

    In the same photograph, parked across the street is either a 1950 or ’51 STUDEBAKER Starlight.

      • Also in the lead photograph, slightly to the right of the man’s elbow [standing on the ’41 DODGE’s roof] is a two-tone, four door, 1951 to ’53 KAISER.

        • As well as the hatchback De Soto Carryall , 6 passenger, swb from ’49 on along w/ the Suburban, 9 passenger, 3 seats, lwb (pictured) and on top of those 2, even a station wagon. They were indeed pretty innovative at that time.

          • AML, I think it’s a ’41 Chrysler… it has a plaid interior and Chrysler changed the tail lights in ’42

  3. That strike had to create some kaos across L.A. back then! People scrambling to find any way downtown to work they could find; by hook or by crook. The scene I sympathize with most is the LWB `50 DeSoto sedan picking up people at the bus stop; the drive must’ve simply made the rounds dropping people off wherever they needed to get to. 2 passengers up front with the driver, and who knows how many in back! No one knew one another, but they were simply folks trying to get to work.

    • Will, I think its a ’49 Suburban.. you’ll note it carries the white plastic faux white walls. White walls were still hard to come by even then, as well as being terribly expensive. Bet the driver saw his Suburban as a “moneymaker”… those he picked up could tip him well; I would’ve… saved the bus fare AND the time.

  4. The location should be W. Olympic Blvd, not Olive Blvd. I believe the deco building in the background is the former Federal Reserve which still stands.

  5. If the Transit workers were on strike who is operating the bus seen in the far center background in the 1st photo?

  6. In the mid 50’s I worked for the Cadillac Zone Office, Chicago. The locals ran an unlicensed taxi/bus service on Wabash Ave, south of the loop. Stand on a street corner, hold up your hand and a sedan would pull over. Jump in and tell the driver were you want off. The price was ery minimal. I believe the city cracked down on what we called “Jittneys”

    • Jitneys operated regularly on main thoroughfares in mostly downtown San Francisco in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. They were extended black sedans, mainly DeSotos but also Chryslers and Cadillacs. They were a popular alternative to buses and cabs. I took rides in a couple of them myself.

  7. Seeing the first picture reminds me of one of those things I did as a kid, about 1939 we lived two doors away from the Chevy dealer. One day I was in the parking lot and jumping from car roof to car roof. Got caught and severely reprimanded (jail offense now) by a salesman. Some car had small dents in the roof but apparently they pushed out as I never heard from my folks about it.

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