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L.A. City Council mulls crackdown on abandoned shopping carts

May 12, 2010 | 10:06 am

The Los Angeles City Council will decide Wednesday whether to move forward with a plan to crack down on abandoned shopping carts by requiring supermarkets to use containment systems to keep carts on their premises.

The law would pertain to new and remodeled stores; those that were noncompliant would face fines.

If the idea is approved, the council would will ask the Planning Department and city attorney's office to write a proposed ordinance within 30 days.

The city also would look into the cost and feasibility of enacting such an ordinance on existing stores.

Council members Tony Cardenas and Greig Smith began pushing for the ordinance after the sanitation bureau conducted a 2007 pilot program in Cardenas’ east San Fernando Valley district.

Workers collected 6,880 abandoned shopping carts within six months. They reported witnessing several near-accidents in which drivers had to swerve around carts to avoid crashes, and they found children using the abandoned carts as toys, often in the middle of busy streets.

Other cities, including Glendale, already have similar cart-containment programs. Such systems can include installing disabling devices on shopping carts, hiring on-site security guards to prevent cart thefts,  installing barriers around the store property or charging customers security deposits to use shopping carts.

-- Kate Linthicum

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times