(Excerpt from Press Release)
Sacramento, CA – Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D-Los Angeles) legislation to prohibit local governments from fleecing motorists who park at broken parking meters was signed by Governor Brown today. Gatto introduced the bill in January 2013 due to outrage, both popular and personal, at cities who were changing their parking laws to make them unfair to motorists. The measure will ensure cities such as Los Angeles fix their broken meters in a responsive and timely manner by prohibiting them from ticketing cars parked at such meters.
AB 61 guarantees that parking spots remain available to the motorists, shop owners, and small businesses that rely on them, even when the meter is not working properly. This was the law in California from 1935 to 2012, until a few cities began considering ordinances to reverse it, and the Los Angeles City Council actually passed an ordinance allowing for the ticketing of drivers who park at broken meters.
“Taxpayers already pay for street maintenance, meter installation, and meter upkeep,” said Gatto. “Local governments should take responsibility and keep parking meters in good working order, not squeeze a double-penalty out of cash-strapped citizens.”
An NBC4 investigative report found that, in a single year, more than 17,000 parking tickets had been issued for meters that had been reported to the City of Los Angeles as malfunctioning or broken. The overwhelming majority of these meters were not intentionally broken by motorists but, rather, had internal malfunctions which the city had failed to fix.
“Forcing a motorist to drive around aimlessly in search of a parking spot is not healthy for the driver or for the environment,” said Gatto. “And it’s just wrong to force a driver into an expensive lot when perfectly good spots are available on the street.”
The law will go into effect on January 1, 2014.