LA City Council: No more parking tickets at broken meters

A Los Angeles parking meter.
A Los Angeles parking meter.
tschundler/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

Angelenos can now park at broken meters without fear of receiving a ticket from parking enforcement thanks to a unanimous vote of the Los Angeles City Council. 

The reversal comes just seven months after the L.A. City Council reaffirmed its policy of ticketing cars left at broken meters. The policy resulted in frustration from drivers but virtually no tickets. A Department of Transportation rep told the city council that the agency issued just one ticket at a broken meter in the last year. 

Councilman Mike Bonin, who authored the motion, argued that with new smart meters, the ticket mandate was outdated. The city's new meters that accept coins and cards rarely break and when they do, the city is immediately notified and meters are fixed within hours. 

"Technology now makes this policy moot," Bonin said. "This policy is a vestige of an attitude that our constituents find distasteful."

Drivers leaving their cars at broken meters must adhere to the posted time limit. Council members also agreed to revisit the decision in six months to make sure the new policy doesn't result in vandalism of meters.

The L.A. City Council also voted 12-1 in opposition to Assembly Bill 61, which would prevent local municipalities from approving ordinances that ticket vehicles at inoperable meters. That bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), was passed earlier this month

"Like so many people out there, I was outraged when the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting people from parking at broken meters,” Gatto told KPCC at the time.  “And the ordinance would result in people driving around aimlessly when perfectly good parking is available  —or being forced to pay exorbitant amounts of parking in the expensive lots. "

L.A. city councilmen disagreed, arguing that control should remain at the local level. L.A. City Councilman Bob Blumenfield was the dissenting vote. 

"Just as I don't want my constituents to have to pay at a broken meter in L.A., I don't want them to have to pay for a broken meter in Beverly Hills or anywhere else," he said. 

Assembly Bill 61 is now awaiting Governor Brown's signature.

This story has been updated.