Last month, NBC4's I-Team exposed how traffic cops were giving special treatment to scores of Hollywood tours buses. They were illegally hogging parking spots from other drivers. Joel Grover reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on June 22, 2012.
Tour buses illegally parked for hours at one-hour meters and in loading zones will not continue to get special treatment for their parking misbehavior, which takes away much-needed parking spaces in traffic-choked Hollywood, said officials with LA Parking Enforcement.
“If it's in violation when we see it, it will get a citation,” said LA Parking Enforcement Chief Greg Savelli.
The heightened enforcement is in direct response to an NBC4 I-Team investigation last month, officials said, which revealed how tour buses were routinely violating parking laws and not getting ticketed by traffic cops—the same cops who were ticketing other drivers who committed the same violations.
Do you have a tip for Joel Grover? Click here to email your tip
When the NBC4 I-Team returned to Hollywood Boulevard weeks after the crackdown began, producers still saw tour buses illegally parking for up to three hours in one-hour zones. The I-Team saw Parking Enforcement officers drive by numerous times, without ticketing the buses.
But parking enforcement officials said the stepped-up enforcement is beginning to show results.
Parking officers have written double the number of tickets to tour buses so far this month, compared to other months over the past three years, said Bruce Gillman, spokesman for the LA Department of Transportation.
After the I-Team’s investigation, Savelli met with tour bus operators to put them on notice that his officers will start aggressively ticketing any bus that stays at a one-hour metered spot or in a loading zone longer than the allowed time.
Then he addressed his officers at their daily roll call, giving them orders to get tough on tour-bus operators that break the law.
“We are going ahead with strict enforcement and we’ll do this until we get compliance,” Savelli told his officers.
Among the methods that will be used to catch law-breaking tour buses, traffic cops will record the parked buses’ tire position in their handheld devices, so they’ll know if a bus is staying in a spot for hours.
Getting tour bus companies to comply with the law won’t be easy, officials said. The buses could park legally at numerous “sightseeing bus zones” on quieter side streets.
Still, tour owners and employees said it’s easier to draw in customers when their flashy buses are parked visibly on Hollywood Boulevard.
“The sightseeing bus zones are far away from Hollywood Boulevard, and there’s so much competition on Hollywood Boulevard,” said Alex Fink, who works with Hollywoodland Tours. “If you don’t park your van out there, then no one is going to see you.”