On March 17, Circling the News posted the following story in the Musings section:
PICKING UP TAKEOUT, HIT WITH A PARKING TICKET:
From CTN Adviser Bill Bruns: “Monday night [March 16] at about 7:30, I was walking through an almost abandoned business district, save for the grocery stores and the restaurants that were open for takeout.
When I reached Monument near Sunset, I spotted a woman climbing into her car right in front of the building housing Cinque Terre. She had takeout food from the restaurant, and I told her, “Thanks for giving them business.”
She smiled, but then turned angry when she spotted a parking ticket tucked in her windshield wiper. Bad! She was parked there barely five minutes and said, “I had no idea I needed to put money in the meter at this time of night.”
Why was a parking enforcement officer still working in a virtually empty business district? Was he hiding in his car a short distance up Monument, waiting to nab people who were parking in front of the building and running in to pick up their food? To see this woman get a parking ticket under these circumstances–on a day like Monday–was frustrating and painful to see. I hope she can somehow get the fine waved. I also urge that parking enforcement be limited to 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. during this crisis.”
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS:
Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on March 16 that there would be relaxed parking enforcement in Los Angeles for street sweeping, enforcement around closed schools and a moratorium on fines for oversize vehicles parked overnight.
BUT . . .those parking in metered spaces will be ticketed (if the meter is red) to encourage parking turnover for businesses and restaurants relying on takeout and deliveries.
HMMM, how does ticketing people who are running in and out of restaurants encourage parking turnover? They are already running in and out, because there is no stay-in dining. Folks, welcome to a bit of insanity.
PACIFIC PALISADES RESIDENT CONTACTS BONIN:
A resident forwarded this exchange to Councilman Mike Bonin’s office and asked, “Can you please look into this situation? This should not happen during the present crisis.”
The resident’s email was forwarded to Durrah Wagner, a Constituent Advocate, who responded in a March 23 email:
“Thank you for highlighting this issue. At this time, Mayor Garcetti has announced that there will be a temporary parking relaxation throughout the City of Los Angeles which includes the following: Street Cleaning, Overnight Parking Districts, Abandoned Enforcement/Towing, Disabled Placard Enforcement and Enforcement around all closed schools.
“In addition, due to the current emergency at this time, the Mayor announced for everyone to self-quarantine (if possible) which means that vehicles may be parked over time limits (if posted).
“However, I have taken your feedback into account and thank you. If you have any other concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. Stay safe.”
THE RESIDENT WROTE BACK TO DURRAH THE SAME DAY:
“Thank you for your reply to my question. However, the relaxation of parking does not seem to include the situation of people dashing into restaurants to pick-up takeout food. The restaurants are closed for in-place dining, but many people are doing takeout for their meals. One thought would be to have the parking enforcement officers help out at the testing sites and food banks to relieve the congestion at those locations, not enforce meters.”
Durrah did not reply.
(Editor’s note: There are DOT enforcement officers ticketing expired parking meters, even though the streets of Pacific Palisades are largely empty.
Since the City is insistent that local residents feed the meters on empty streets, it seems we should urge Councilman Bonin to follow through on his February 2019 promise that Pacific Palisades would be one of three areas to receive about 15 percent of revenue from their parking meters (a minimum of $50,000 annually — and likely more). The money is supposed to go to the Pacific Palisades BID to spend on local mobility improvements, like street and sidewalk repairs, wayfinding signage, and streetscape and community beautification efforts.
Bonin’s Transportation Policy Director Eric Bruins said in a December 10, 2019 email to CTN: “We are still working to get the parking meter local return pilot program up and running. LADOT has a high vacancy rate in the parking division and has not yet been able to assign staff to this program, despite receiving all necessary approvals from Council. As a pilot program, it needs the attention of a dedicated program manager to be successful. Our office has been in regular communication with the BID about the delayed start of this program and our efforts to resolve the staffing shortage.”
Well, more than a year has passed since the money was promised. In the meantime, residents are fined for expired parking meters during the coronavirus pandemic.)