Hundreds of parking meters to be removed in San Pedro, Wilmington
Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino and community leaders will celebrate a plan Monday to make it easier to park in San Pedro and Wilmington by lopping off the heads of a handful of parking meters.
The City Council voted Aug. 1 to rip out 645 parking meters on streets near the Port of Los Angeles — 540 in San Pedro and 105 in Wilmington. Buscaino and an array of business groups have argued that such a move will attract more shoppers and diners to places such as downtown San Pedro.
The 9 a.m. meter beheading will be staged outside Neil's Pasta and Seafood Grill on 5th Street in San Pedro. Buscaino, who pushed for the meter-removal plan, said new economic activity will compensate for any lost parking revenue in his Harbor district.
Buscaino's initiative runs counter to a series of efforts by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the council to wring more money out of motorists. To balance the budget, parking fines have been hiked by city leaders six times in seven years.
The penalty for parking illegally is $63, up 80% from 2005, the year Villaraigosa took office. The council has also endorsed a plan to add 190 meters in Westchester and 247 meters in Palms.
In San Pedro and Wilmington, the council has also signed off on plans to reduce meter rates and increase time limits to two hours in parts of Buscaino's district. An additional 152 meters will be replaced with ones that accept credit cards.
— David Zahniser
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Photo: L.A. parking meters that accept credit cards. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times.