L.A. Controller Calls on City to Hold Off on Parking Fine Reductions
Instead urges cuts to punitive tickets and overhead costs with new technologies and better signage.
Los Angeles — Controller Ron Galperin unveiled a new parking website that explains LA’s parking ticket program. The online report shows the City generated close to $148 million in gross ticket revenues in the last year — but some ¾ of ticket revenue went to overhead, salaries and administrative costs. The remaining $41 million was transferred to the City’s General Fund to help pay for City services such as police and fire.
With the City facing significant liability claims, potential cuts in federal grants and a projected $245 million budget shortfall for 2016-17, the Controller warned policymakers to act with caution in reducing parking fines and urged the City to instead invest in smart technologies and other reforms to help reduce costs of the Dept. of Transportation’s parking enforcement program — and to enact changes that will help Angelenos to avoid getting a parking ticket in the first place.
“As much as we’d like to reduce parking fines, we currently rely on the revenues,” said Galperin. “Rather than just cut ticket prices now, we should instead invest in new solutions that will help to reduce administrative costs, and give people a clearer indication whether they can park in a spot — so as to not get a ticket in the first place.”
The Controller advocated for smart parking reform that focuses on helping people avoid being ticketed, and on helping to increase compliance. These reforms include:
- Expansion of smartphone apps so people can add money to their meters by phone;
- More efficient freight and delivery truck parking program;
- Reevaluation of street sweeping schedules and notifications;
- Digital parking signs that are easier-to-understand, easier to change, and clearly tell people what the fine is for a violation;
- Explore possible changes to accrued late fees and penalties – both to decrease the burden on people who have trouble paying and to increase the likelihood of actual collections. (19% of tickets get paid late and incur additional fees).
“Everyone hates getting parking tickets, but parking tickets are an important tool to keep parking spots available in front of businesses, ensure first responders have access to fire hydrants and fire lanes in case of an emergency, and help make sure Angelenos can find parking spots near their homes,” said Galperin.
“But, out of date technology and miscommunication between departments can lead to unfair and punitive ticket fines,” stated Galperin. “Angelenos deserve more than a fine reduction, they need a fair system that gives them a fair shake. No matter the price of a parking fine, an unfair ticket is still an unfair ticket.”
The Controller’s new parking information site includes data on the more than 2.4 million tickets issued annually in the City of Los Angeles. The most frequently issued tickets were for street cleaning (26%), expired meters (23%) and expired tabs (10%). The site also includes information on the Dept. of Transportation parking enforcement budget, when and where you are most likely to get a ticket, the number of tickets issued to rental cars and much more. Among other things, the data reveals that the City of Los Angeles employs the equivalent of ten full-time traffic officers just giving tickets to the two biggest recipients of parking tickets, delivery companies UPS and FedEx — which together received more than 45,000 tickets in one year alone. Insofar as the tickets issued to these companies are a cost of doing business for them, the Controller urged the City to explore alternative approaches to citation and collection.
This parking website is the latest addition in Galperin’s award-winning open data program which includes ControlPanel LA, featuring information about the City’s expenditures, revenues, payroll, accounts and more; Checkbook LA, your source for information on all the goods and services purchased by the City of Los Angeles; and Property Panel LA, the most comprehensive map of the 9,000 parcels owned by the City of Los Angeles.