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Should cars parked at broken meters be ticketed? [Google+ hangout]

December 6, 2012 |  1:30 pm

Should cars that park at broken meters be ticketed? The L.A. City Council thinks so. The council voted Wednesday to reaffirm the city's two-year policy that makes it illegal to park at spaces with broken meters.

Times reporter Wesley Lowery will join city editor Shelby Grad at 3:30 p.m. to discuss the policy, which overrides a new state law that greatly limits the practice of issuing tickets to drivers who park at malfunctioning meters. Under the state law, motorists may park for free at broken meters up to the maximum time allowed for the space.

Talk back LACity transportation officials said violations issued at non-working meters generate about $5 million a year in revenue for the city.

Officials said that allowing the state law to take effect would cost the city a sizable chunk of ticket and parking fee revenue, and would encourage meter vandalism.

"Meter vandalism has become extremely rare," said Transportation Department official Dan Mitchell. Since the city began switching to meters that take credit cards and coins — and banned parking at broken meters — only about five meters each month have required repairs, he said.

Before 2010 — when Los Angeles allowed free parking at broken meters — roughly 10% of the city's parking meters were broken at any time, Mitchell said.

But vandalism problems declined sharply when the city began replacing its roughly 40,000 parking meters with more advanced devices that include red stickers warning that tickets will be issued when meters are broken.

The meters, which are expected to be installed citywide by the end of the year, automatically message transportation employees of operational problems and are typically back in service within three hours, officials said.

What do you think? Should broken meters be a rare gift to frustrated L.A. drivers or does free parking encourage vandalism?


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