City Council Repeals Broken Meter Policy
Posted by Melissa Simon on Aug 2, 2013 - 1:01:54 PM
LOS ANGELES—On Wednesday, July 31, the Los Angeles City Council voted to reverse the city’s policy of ticketing a vehicle parked next to a broken meter.
Mike Bonin, author of the motion to repeal the policy, said taking this action will “let the people know the city is on their side.”
“If you now see a broken parking meter, and there are very few, it is now OK to park there,” Bonin said. “You will not get fined."
In addition to repealing the policy, the council also voted to ask the governor to veto a bill that would restrict cities from adopting a policy of ticketing people at inoperable meters in the future. Some members said if people begin purposefully breaking meters again, they would have to maintain “local control.”
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) began ticketing people who parked in front of broken meters in 2010 and the council reaffirmed the policy in 2012. More durable meters that accept both coins and credit cards replaced older meters in 2012 and have the ability to alert the city if there is any type of malfunction.
“There are two ways most Angelenos intersect with the city,” Bonin said. “The DWP or their parking meters. For the past couple of years, the city has had a well-intentioned policy to try to prevent vandalism. But thanks to modern technology, we no longer need it.”
Bonin, chair of the Transportation Committee, said people would need to “stand in broad daylight with a sledge hammer” if they wanted to break the new meters. The Transportation Committee approved the motion last week, allowing room for the policy to be renewed if needed.
According to LADOT, out of 38,000 meters citywide, only six have broken down and Transportation officials estimate the odds of finding a broken meter in L.A. is about one in 500,000.
Committee members also opposed the state bill authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto that, if signed by the governor, would keep cities from ticketing vehicles at broken meters beginning in January. The Committee has sent a letter to Governor Brown to veto Gatto’s bill.
“I disagree with greedy local officials who think Los Angeles drivers should be exempted from long-term relief from unfair parking tickets,” Gatto said in a statement criticizing the council’s decision. “We need a statewide policy because folks deserve better.”
Blumenfield, who voted in favor of Gatto’s motion a month ago, defended the proposal.
“What he did is highlight a problem that affected many drivers,” he said, adding that L.A. is the only city in California with a policy to ticket at broken meters.
The decision to repeal the policy will be revisited in six months time to make sure there has been no vandalism by those wishing to avoid paying at the meter.