Group gets city meeting to push $23 parking tickets

A grassroots group met with city officials Thursday to propose a $23 cap on parking tickets in LA.
A grassroots group met with city officials Thursday to propose a $23 cap on parking tickets in L.A.

An expired parking meter in the city of L.A. can result in a $63 ticket. That fine doubles if it isn't paid in two weeks. Add to that another $49 in fees and penalties.

Steven Vincent is the founder of the Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative, a grassroots organization pushing for parking reform.

"We're not touching things that have to do with public safety, like blocking a fire hydrant. We're really going after high fines on incidental violations: Things like parking meters and street sweeping," said Vincent.

Vincent's group was invited by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to take part in a closed-door meeting with city officials. The topic of Thursday's meeting: a proposal to cap parking tickets at $23.

"That's the Bureau of Labor Statistics median hourly wage for the L.A. metropolitan area," said Vincent.

Mayor Garcetti did not attend Thursday's meeting but says he supports the idea of reforming L.A.'s parking penalties.

"Look, we have so many people who don't pay their tickets because they're so high, so it's not always the amount of the ticket," said Garcetti. "Sometimes a lower amount, or if we give people an incentive, let's say, if you pay it in the first day, that it's a cheaper price than if you wait a week."

The city collects tens of millions of dollars from parking fines. That figure has gone from $36 million in 2010-2011 to $45.9 million in 2012-2013.

Vincent knows that Thursday's two-hour meeting with city staff is only a first step.

"It's encouraging to be where we are today. I'm optimistic that we're going to get parking reform done in Los Angeles."

Vincent says that if the city of L.A. does not implement parking reforms, he'll work to create a ballot measure and let voters have their say in March.



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