Up until now, drivers faced fines if they parked at a broken meter, but the Council voted 13-0 on Wednesday to rescind the 2010 city policy that made parking at broken meters illegal.
"If you now see a broken parking meter, and there are very few, it is now OK to park there. You will not get fined," said City Councilman Mike Bonin, who introduced the motion to reverse the law.
Critics had said the motion would encourage vandalism of the meters. Council members agreed to revisit their decision in six months, in case vandalism of parking meters picks up.
Proponents said the new meters, which take coins and credit cards, don't break as easily as the old meters.
"If somebody says, 'OK, I can park at a broken meter. I want to vandalize it.' They would essentially have to take like a sledge hammer to the meter, and I don't think a lot of people will do that in broad daylight," said Bonin.
According to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, since January, only six meters have broken down out of 38,000 city-wide. Transportation officials estimate the odds of finding a broken meter in L.A. is about one in 500,000.
The department says maintaining the new meters shouldn't be a problem. Its sensors alert the DOT immediately when something is wrong, and broken meters are now repaired within two hours.
The LADOT ticketed drivers who parked at broken meters for a few years, even though a new state law allowed drivers to park without facing a fine. Back in December, the city also voted to trump that state law and still ticket drivers.
The City Council also voted 12-1 Wednesday to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to veto Assemblyman Mike Gatto's bill, which would restrict cities from adopting a policy of ticketing people at broken meters in the future.
City News Service contributed to this report.