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Crack down on Westwood 'apron' parking

June 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Parking in Westwood can be a nightmare. A lot of drivers have been forced to get creative with so-called "apron" parking, but that's not going to fly anymore.

"You can't find parking anywhere, and it's like really frustrating. You have to park four or five streets down," said University of California, Los Angeles student Lisa Kao.

With a popular downtown and a UCLA campus that sports more than 35,000 students, Westwood is overflowing with cars. And now the Los Angeles Department of Transportation is cracking down on the practice of apron parking - cars perpendicular to the curb, and partially hanging out into the street.

"About a week ago, they started handing out notices on every car. And then I believe it started yesterday, they actually started ticketing people," said student Beau Mabery.

Mabery and others say apron parking is an efficient way to eke out the most of valuable parking spots and does nothing to impede traffic. But critics say it blocks sidewalks.

In fact, one group is suing the city of Los Angeles. It said that apron parking violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, making the walkways inaccessible to the disabled.

"I've never seen that problem happen before. I mean, there's always plenty of sidewalk room when people also park in the skirts," said student Chris Loncarich.

Officials for the Department of Transportation wouldn't talk on camera, but confirmed to Eyewitness News that apron parkers will face $58 citations.

"The Department of Transportation is diligently enforcing parking regulations by citing vehicles that are parked illegally by partially or fully blocking the sidewalk and/or aprons," the department said in a statement.

Transportation officials point to mass transit options or car-sharing services as alternatives to owning autos. But frustrated residents said alternative transportation may sound great on paper, but that in reality, it just doesn't work, especially in Southern California.

"Sometimes the bus will come 10 minutes early. Sometimes it will come 10 minutes late. And, you're on a schedule, too," said Kao.

And as many students point out, they're on budgets, too - something that doesn't mesh well with parking tickets.


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