The Los Angeles City Council decided Wednesday to uphold its policy of ticketing drivers who park in spaces with broken parking meters, voting 12-1 to opt out of a state law that would limit when parking enforcement officers can ticket drivers for parking at malfunctioning meters.
The state law allows drivers to park at a broken meter for up to the maximum time allowed. The bill, proposed by state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and supported by the Automobile Club of Southern California, did not received a single "No" vote in the Senate or Assembly.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law during the summer. Local agencies have the option of opting out before it goes into effect next year.
The law requires local agencies to display a sign or sticker that indicates drivers will be ticketed for parking at a malfunctioning meter.
Allowing parking at inoperable meters would "likely result in a significant increase in parking meter vandalism and the loss of millions of dollars annually in parking meter revenue and meter-related citation revenue," according to the LA Department of Transportation.
In 2010, an NBC4 I-Team investigation from Joel Grover found that more than 17,000 parking tickets were written that year at meters that had been reported to the city of Los Angeles as malfunctioning. That was in conflict with the city's 2001 policy dictating that parking officers not issue tickets at broken meters.
The 2001 policy was changed in 2010 when new meters were installed. And with that new technology, broken parking meters may soon be a thing of the past.
Of the 40,000 parking meters in Los Angeles, 97 percent are smart meters that accept coins and cards for payment, according to the LADOT. The department hopes to complete the conversion to smart meters by the end of December.
The department's Dan Mitchell said it's rare for both the card reader and the coin slot on a smart meter to fail.
"I know because I get an e-mail on my phone whenever it happens," Mitchell said.
Past coverage from NBC4:
- May 2010: Unfair Parking Tickets?
- July 2010: New Parking Tricks Exposed
- July 2012: To Park or Not to Park? Broken-Meter Question Gets an Answer