LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council is set to consider changes to how – and for how much – drivers park their vehicles on public property.
A series of of potentially sweeping reforms is working its way through City Hall that could lead to smarter parking meters and more expensive parking in exchange for cheaper parking tickets. The reform consideration comes after LA residents paid $165 million to the city in parking ticket fines and past-due penalties in 2014.
“It’s a ‘got-ya’ culture,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “It doesn’t work for the businesses, it doesn’t work for the drivers.”
Last week, the City Council’s Transportation Committee directed the city’s Transportation Department (LADOT) and other departments to look into several proposed key reforms. One such reform includes putting a cap on parking tickets, in the maximum amount of $23.
One proposal introduced in a report released in February (PDF) by the Los Angeles Parking Reform Working Group includes expanding the use of “performance-based pricing” by removing or relaxing time limits at “the right price” to help ensure at least some spaces remain open.
The report cites the success of LA Express Park, which opened in 2012 in downtown L.A. and has since seen parking occupancy and revenues go up, while the average price of parking continues to decrease.
Jay Beeber of the LA Parking Freedom Initiative has worked on the reforms and has advised Mayor Garcetti on its progress.
“I think it’s something the city is very serious about, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t get some movement on that,” Beeber stated. “I think they recognize that this is more a social-justice issue in a lot of ways, than just simply ‘hey, it’s a parking fine’.”
City Councilman and chair of the Council Transportation Committee Mike Bonin told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the LA Express Park model could be a way forward for the city.
“What’s interesting about the Express Park system is that it actually has made things cheaper for the average people parking, but also [has] given the city enhanced revenue, so it’s been a win all around,” Bonin said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti commissioned the Parking Reform Working Group in April in an effort to reduce penalties for minor parking infractions, especially for first-time offenders.
Parking fine revenues collected by the city have jumped 50 percent to about $165 million every year since 2003, according to data cited by the Los Angeles Times.
As for the potential revenue loss from decreasing fine amounts, Mayor Garcetti thinks the reforms may actually be economically beneficial to the city.
“We can probably get even more revenue when more people are shopping, and we’re actually just charging them for the parking, not for the parking ticket.”