Saturday, November 26, 2005

Parking Ticket Update

Last week, I posted a lengthy story about getting a parking ticket at a broken meter.'s blog - LA.comfidential - discovered an excellent website of one mother's "crusade" to shed light on broken meter tickets. Her site had a good description of her research for Los Angeles:


After speaking with the Mayor's office, per the Department of Transportation in Los Angeles, you CANNOT be ticketed at a meter if it reads FAILED; or if it is malfunctioning. (The representative told me that often times notes blow away, thus tickets. Well, the meterbroken tape will not.) If you do receive a ticket, call 877 215 3958; give them the citation number and it will be voided. The Traffic Violation Bureau and any meter maid you might ask will tell you that it is ILLEGAL to park at a broken meter and that this law is stated in the LA Municipal Code Book. However, after reading everything there is to know about meters in the code book, there is simply no law stating this. In Los Angeles, you will get the most conflicting information depending on who you ask. Thus, I called the Mayor’s office. They proceeded to tell me that you may still run the risk of a ticket as often times the meters will "reset" all by themselves. (What?) But, it is not illegal to park at a broken meter in Los Angeles. There is even a broken meter hotline; if you call 311 within the state, you will be connected and they will repeat this information. No one would let me quote them however.

Please note, however, these items ARE in the code book: it is ILLEGAL to re-feed the meter, use someone else’s time and interestingly, ATTACH anything to the meter such as a bike or say, a dog. So here is your warning: if you find a parking ticket stuck to your pooch that you tied to the meter while you were enjoying your mocha, that is why!
Now it all makes sense. My meter got reset while in the restaurant. Yet, despite the Mayor's office knowing about this "reset" risk, my letter contesting the ticket, stating the situation in which two city employees told me I could park there. still failed. Does this become an issue of "vicarious liability" (that means if one supervisor for the City of L.A. knows, the City as an entity knows)?

By the way, this whole situation about my parking ticket is frustrating and sort of sad, yet really funny in another way. I truly believe Los Angeles can have a very solid parking enforcement policy that treats citizens fairly, yet does not let citizens abuse public parking privileges.


LAFD Media and Public Relations said...


As a sometimes "resident" of City Hall who aspires to offer top-tier service to constituents, I have followed this post with great interest. For us, there are always lessons to be learned!

The primary reason for this comment is related to the blogger you quoted, who mentioned "calling 3-1-1 from anywhere in the State".

This of course (as you have properly intimated in earlier posts) is not correct!

For those who may just be joining this thread, the specific use and ultimate destination for a 3-1-1 telephone number is unique to each municipality.

While the funtion of 3-1-1 in Los Angeles is readily outlined here, the number functions differently in other communities - and is not yet active in most parts of the USA!

In closing, I wanted to again offer kudos for your blog, which I hope will prosper in the coming year.

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Home Page:
LAFD News Blog:

PS: We hope to see you and many other Sherman Oaks residents on Sunday, December 4th at the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association Holiday Toy Drive.

losanJ ryan said...

Zach, great site. Just found it. If you're still researching how to fight the ticket, you may have already discovered that Lockheed Martin is the company enforcing LA's parking laws (along with several other cities)...deep legal pockets, to say the least. Best of luck with it.