In honor of Los Angeles’ new advertising slogan, I’m starting a new semi-recurring feature highlighting the things that make this city just so L.A.
And while the focus of this blog is cycling, let’s kick it off with something that might be more appropriate for Streetsblog or maybe LAist.
More specifically, the new parking meters in Brentwood.
As I mentioned previously, we went out to dinner in Brentwood over the weekend. And after doing my part to contribute to high gas prices, smog and global warming by repeatedly circling a several block radius looking for a parking space, we finally found one in front of the Whole Foods on San Vicente.
As soon as we got out of the car, we noticed that the city’s attempt to gouge every last dime out of its citizens free up parking spaces and increase revenues— without providing viable alternatives — had spread to Brentwood.
Meters that had previously cost $1 an hour now cost $2. And the hours of operation, which had previously allowed free parking after 6 pm, had now been extended to 8 pm.
It might have been nice if they had posted something about the rates going up — after all, I ride through there at least a couple times a week, so I would have noticed.
But this is L.A., after all.
So we started digging for quarters, until we looked up and noticed this sign directly over our parking space:
To pay or not pay? That was the question.
The sign suggested we could just walk off and enjoy our meal without worrying about a ticket, since it was well after 6. Yet the meter insisted we would be ticketed if we didn’t pay.
We finally concluded that a handful of quarters were cheap insurance against a ticket, even if we could — or at least, should — beat it in court. But it just wasn’t work risking the aggravation.
So the city got an undeserved buck out of us. And reinforced once again how deeply dysfunctional this city is.
And that’s just so L.A.
Next: New and improved pedestrian-free crosswalks!
A couple of must-reads: A great, in-depth report on the problems with traffic and bike lanes in the Big Apple, with lessons that could easily apply here. And an article on why California cyclists need bike lawyers, including insights on fallacy of the “I just didn’t see him defense” (#3) and the sanctity of bike lanes (#7). The increase in cycling means more riders are getting injured, while a cyclist in Japan dies after being refused treatment. Is that what we have to look forward to? Finally, the Governator takes to the road, with security — and without a helmet. Way to set the example, Arnold.
Maybe I am a heartless bastard, but personally I don’t have much sympathy for the increase in parking meter rates. Historically car parking in urban areas is valued vastly lower then the value of the land it occupies. However I agree the Los Angeles implementation of parking policy and conflicting signs and a few areas now being overpriced for demand (obviously not the case in Brentwood since there was wondering for a space)is just sloppy.