Planning committee attempts to clean up Los Angeles' abandoned shopping carts

New and remodeled stores in Los Angeles would be required to have on-site containment systems for shopping carts under an ordinance approved today by a Los Angeles City Council committee.
New and remodeled stores in Los Angeles would be required to have on-site containment systems for shopping carts under an ordinance approved today by a Los Angeles City Council committee. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A proposal aimed at eliminating the visual blight of abandoned shopping carts was unanimously approved today by the Los Angeles City Council's planning committee.

The Planning and Land Use Management Committee signed off on a draft ordinance that would require new stores or stores that undergo a major remodel and which provide six or more shopping carts to install an on-site containment system. Those systems could include the installation of small posts, wheel-locking mechanisms, tall bars, or retailers could assign employees to retrieve carts from store parking lots.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander said the rogue shopping carts are safety hazards.

"We get a lot in my district, and the winds that we have particularly in Porter Ranch and Granada Hills, when one of these shopping carts are on the street or on a sidewalk, and the wind gets a hold of them as often happens, they can reach pretty high speeds and cause serious damage," Englander said.

State law requires local municipalities to monitor a shopping cart for 24 hours before issuing a citation, according to the Planning Department, making it difficult to remove abandoned carts.

The president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association spoke out against the proposal, telling committee members the ordinance would add an undue financial burden to stores.

"The ordinance's single ADA-compliant option for retailers is installation of a wheel-locking system. Beyond the installation and cost of cart mechanisms, the electronic fence necessary for the system will increase the cost of opening or renovating a store by at least $40,000," said Stuart Waldman. "This ordinance will greatly impact small and medium-sized retailers."

The Los Angeles City Council must vote on the ordinance before it can take effect.

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