Off-Ramp | Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Mystery "NO PARKING" Sign Unleashes Misery on Neighborhood

Kevin Ferguson, again. For the last week in Long Beach, two large orange cones have done their very best to cramp the parking situation in my neighborhood. Here, have a look:

No parking. Starting at 7am, ending at 4pm, and the sign is in effect until... whenever this cone or its owner feels like it. What's wrong with this picture? Let's start at the start: take a look at this "no parking" sign I found on flickr (please click the link to see). There's a lot of super useful information on that sign, like when the construction will end, what company is doing the work, what number to call in case your vehicle gets towed, and a real live city/county ordinance cited!

So, responsible citizen that I am, I called the city of Long Beach and was transferred to their Street Inspections department (they apparently handle this sort of thing) to see what's going on. They said that a sign like this is really unusual, that "no parking" signs are actually required to have all that above information. And that as far as the department knew, I can ignore the sign park there whenever I feel like it, even after 7am!

So how did we get here? At this point, there are two scenarios: The first involves a lazy city contractor who finished his or her work days ago and forgot to take down the sign. The second involves a clever but greedy neighbor: one who found the ultimate solution to guaranteeing him or herself a parking place in perpetuity. Too evil? The representative said she'd look into it.