Drivers will no longer get a ticket for parking at a broken parking meter in the city of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously agreed Wednesday to overturn a policy that allowed vehicles to be ticketed when parked at broken or inoperable meters.
City officials had said the ticketing policy would discourage drivers from vandalizing meters and parking for free.
Since that time, new parking meter technology has made such a law unnecessary, said Councilman Mike Bonin, who introduced the motion. The city’s new high-tech smart meters, which accept credit cards, send a text message to the city’s repair crew when a meter's coin slots or card readers jam.
The average response time to repair a meter is now about two hours, Transportation Department engineer Daniel Mitchell said. Since the start of the year, Mitchell said, seven of the city’s 34,000 parking meters have had the card reader and the coin slot simultaneously jammed.
“The meters have never worked better,” Mitchell said at a recent transportation committee meeting.
Other transportation officials at that meeting said repealing the law could lead to an increase in vandalism. One parking meter technician told the committee that drivers would go back to tying plastic bags around the tops of parking meters to avoid paying the fee.
The Transportation Department will report to the City Council in six months on the impact of the policy’s reversal, including whether meter vandalism increased.
The council, however, voted 12-1 to oppose, and to recommend that the governor veto, a state bill that would prevent cities from ticketing cars parked at broken meters. Council members said the bill, awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, intrudes on local authority to regulate parking.
“Why is our state legislature acting on how we park our cars?” Councilman Paul Krekorian said to the council. “This is an issue of local control.”
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