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L.A. Parking News: Parkway Enforcement, Smart Boot, Expo

An LADOT parking officer demonstrates the new smart boot. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

There are a trio of newsworthy recent developments in the fascinating realm of Los Angeles parking!

L.A. Will Enforce Prohibition on Parking in Parkways Starting August 14

Readers may be familiar with L.A.'s frustrating and destructive leniency on parkway parking. For years the city of Los Angeles has not taken any enforcement actions against individuals who park in the area between the sidewalk and the curb. Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell and others pushed for the city to resolve this issues.

On June 21 and July 6, the L.A. City Council approved two new regulations (council files 11-1676 and 17-0460) which clarify ambiguities that inhibited enforcement. As of now, parkway parking is illegal. The city is not yet issuing citations for the infraction, for now just placing warning notices (see below) on vehicles parked in parkways. According to LADOT spokesman Bruce Gillman, the city will begin to issue parkway parking citations on August 14, and enforcement will be carried out by both LADOT and LAPD Officers.

ParkwayParkingWarning
Warning notice currently being placed on cars parked in parkways. Image via LADOT
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LADOT Launches a New High-Tech Boot Against Parking Scofflaws

This morning LADOT hosted a press event to show off a new and improved high tech "smart boot" that the city will begin using later this week. According to the department, these new boots will be attached to cars that have five or more unpaid parking tickets, "a small subset of the driving population - people who have ignored 20-25 notifications."

Since a budget shortfall in 2009, the city of L.A. has not booted cars, instead towing and impounding those with excessive violations. The new boot is billed as being more customer-friendly than being towed, because it eliminates the cumbersome and expensive process of getting cars out of impound lots.

The boot includes a keypad, so once a driver pays for their violation fines, they can immediately unlock it. Drivers can make payments via a phone call or website. The website is listed on the violation and can be accessed via a QR code. Once the driver pays, they can receive the boot combination verbally or via text message, then key in the code and release the boot themselves, and drop it off later at a designated return location. Similar systems are in place in New York City and Seattle.

The new smart boots weigh 16 pounds - much lighter than the old boots, which weighed over 30 pounds. LADOT anticipates about 25 to 40 boots will be used throughout the city each day.

Expo Parking to Be Leased to Non-Riders

Remember those L.A. Times predictions that the Expo Line would suffer from a lack of parking? Well, Expo ridership is through the roof. At 65,000 boardings daily, Expo is closing in on the Blue Line for Metro's highest ridership line. As Urbanize reported, Expo has exceeded Metro's ridership projections for 2030, which probably reflects a needed useful transit service combined with pessimistic ridership modeling.

Expo parking lots must be full to the brim to accommodate all those riders, no?

Well, not quite.

Tomorrow the Metro board is expected to approve a program that would rent excess Expo parking spaces to non-riders. The parking is at the Expo/Sepulveda Station, where a 260-space parking structure is only about 33 percent utilized, according to Metro. They are proposing to rent out 100 top floor spaces to L.A. Urban Housing.

As the staff report emphasizes, the large majority of rail riders arrive by foot, bus, bike, or drop-off. Few drive.

Metro did the right thing by not providing too much parking for the Expo Line. Hopefully, these excess parking issues will feed back through to Metro planners, who can then save taxpayer dollars by not building so much station parking in the first place.

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