In traffic-choked Hollywood, scores of tour buses are illegally hogging parking meters and loading zones for hours and not getting ticketed, an NBC4 I-Team Investigation has found.
And yet, LA Parking Enforcement is aggressively ticketing average citizens who violate the same parking laws in the same neighborhoods.
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“It doesn’t seem fair at all,” said paralegal Alycia Garcia, who works in Hollywood and said it seems like she gets ticketed the moment her meter expires. “Everyone should be treated equally.”
Over the years, the NBC4 I-Team has uncovered numerous instances of LA Parking Enforcement giving special treatment to certain law breakers. Now, it’s the Hollywood tour buses getting a free ride.
“It sounds like selective enforcement,” said Bruce Gillman, spokesman for the LA Department of Transportation.
As Hollywood has rebounded as an international tourist destination, there has been an explosion in the number of buses offering tours of celebrity-oriented destinations.
The I-Team’s undercover cameras recorded the comings and goings on Hollywood Boulevard and surrounding streets over a three-week period.
They documented tour buses illegally hogging loading zones, and one-hour parking spots for up to six hours, often without plugging the meters.
The I-Team witnessed Parking Enforcement cops driving by these illegally parked vehicles all day long and not ticketing them, but noticed they were ticketing all other cars with expired meters.
The city has installed sensors in the streets of Hollywood that relay to Parking Officers cars exactly which vehicles are in expired spots.
Some tour bus operators told NBC4 that they get special treatment from parking cops.
“They’re really cool with the businesses owners and the tour companies,” said one tour operator who requested to remain anonymous. “They haven’t ticketed us and some of the meters aren’t even fed.”
The news of this special treatment comes the same week the city of LA announced plans to raise parking fines for the sixth time in seven years.
“It’s just very unfair,” said Richard Shiel, a janitor who was ticketed while parked in a loading zone next to a tour bus, which didn’t get ticketed.
LA’s new chief of parking enforcement, Greg Savelli, said this type of enforcement is “clearly unacceptable.”
“We’re glad that you’ve called our attention to it,” Savelli said.
As a result of the I-Team Investigation, Savelli said he’ll soon meet with tour bus operators and tell them they have to find legal, off-site parking for their buses.
Savelli said he will also meet with his officers to reiterate to them that special treatment is unacceptable of any lawbreaker.
“Now that we’re aware of the issue, then we certainly will take steps to make sure that we do a better job of getting a balance of enforcement,” Savelli said.