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What's bugging you? Parking meters

May 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Parking comes at a premium in Southern California. Does it bug you when you find a space and the meter is broken? Here's how parking at a failed meter could lead to a city hall fight.Doesn't it bug you when you get a parking space and the meter says "fail," or even more ominous -- "dead." If you dare to park there, will you get a ticket?

"Our department's policy is not to give a parking citation to a broken meter," said Amir Sedadi, assistant general manager, L.A. Dept. of Transportation.

"I received a parking meter ticket where there was a failed parking meter with a bag over it," said L.A. resident Quenetta Davis.

It bugged Davis so much she sent Eyewitness News pictures of the parking meter and a shot of the bag on the ground. She believes the officer took the bag off and gave her a ticket anyway even though she followed the rules.

"I called the people and I said, 'The meter is failed. So why is it that I received a ticket?' And they said, 'You have to fight it.' And they told me exactly what I needed to do. But I felt if a meter says 'fail,' why do I have to go out to do anything?" said Davis. "I shouldn't have received a ticket in the first place."

City officials don't know the exact details of her case, but they say even if the meter is broken, you still have to follow all the other parking rules.

"It might be for the time limit, two hours, the one hour. It might be for curb. It might be parking in a peak-hour zone. So I understand it's a frustrating thing to get a parking ticket. But we also have to oblige with whatever the laws are besides the meter itself," said Sedadi.

Davis says she did not break any other parking laws.

"Providing tickets to people for absolutely no reason at $75 of cost, it's not cool," said Davis.

Officials figure about 10 percent of the meters are broken at any one time, and sometimes a failed meter can simply start working again. You can contest a ticket it online at the Los Angeles Parking Violations Bureau Web site, it's a good thing to have photographs or other evidence to show the meter was not working.

There's also a phone number right on the meter.

"You can call that number to say, 'I'm here at this location.' And if you should get a ticket, they'll go back and check the records to not give you a ticket. But you shouldn't get a ticket at a failed meter," said L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge


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