A Parking Bill of Rights


A Parking Bill of Rights

A California Assemblyman Gatto has proposed a “Parking Bill of Rights.” A news release from his office listed these “rights”:

  • Maintaining the law that tickets cannot be issued at broken meters. This law will expire at the end of 2016, and Gatto is looking to extend it.
  • Once street cleaning is finished, parking spots would immediately become available to drivers.
  • Valet attendants would not be able to tell drivers they couldn’t use metered spots or loading zones.
  • The implementation of demand-based pricing at meters, where meters would be cheaper at times when demand is low. This is already in effect in some areas of L.A., including downtown L.A. and Westwood Village.
  • If a car was illegally parked because of a crime and it wasn’t the car owner’s fault, tow companies would have a harder time fining the owner. For example, if someone steals your car, takes it for a ride and then ditches it somewhere where it’s illegal to park, tow companies wouldn’t be able to slap you with a huge bill.
  • Cities would not be allowed to hire private companies to work as “parking bounty hunters.”

We issue tickets at broken meters because we can’t collect fees with a broken meter. I rather like this “Right”. Let people park at broken meters and motivate the city to fix the meters. I realize that some feel that the wiley motorist will simply jam the meter and then claim its broken. That could be handled with ‘warnings’ given to such parkers. And after so many warnings, they get a ticket anyway.

I love the idea that once the street sweeper goes by, the populace can park on the street . But just how do you adjudicate this. If I see the sweeper go by, I will park. But if I didn’t see it go by, how will I know? I can see numerous arguments with the enforcement staff being generated over this one.

Valet attendants can’t use spaces in front of businesses. Huh…just how are they supposed to provide the valet service.  This one is a non starter.

Demand based Pricing?  Sure bring it on. I’m not sure how this benefits the parker, except to raise the fee he pays during high traffic times, but at least it will keep Don Shoup happy.

Of course a car owner shouldn’t have to pay parking fines when a car is stolen. Duh

But I love the last one — What, exactly, are “Parking Bounty Hunters.”  Are these enforcement staff, or are they collection agencies used to collect overdue citations. In either case, this, too, is a non starter.

I think our assemblyman needs to get some parking folk involved in his “bill of rights.” Many ideas are nice on paper but crumble when put in practice.


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John Van Horn

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