Drivers beware: If a parking meter is broken, you either need to find a new place to park or get a ticket.
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The Los Angeles City Council voted 12-1 on Wednesday to uphold a two-year-old policy that makes it illegal to park at spaces with broken meters.
City transportation officials said violations issued at non-working meters generate about $5 million a year in revenue for the city.
The action exercises an option for cities to override a new state law that greatly limits the practice of ticketing drivers who park at broken meters.
Under the state law, motorists may park for free at broken meters up to the maximum time allowed for the space
The City Council argued that allowing people to park for free would cost the city a big chunk of ticket and parking fee revenue. They also worry it would encourage meter vandalism.
Before 2010, when L.A. allowed free parking at broken meters, about 10% of the city’s meters were broken at any time, transportation department official Dan Mitchell said.
He said vandalism has gone down sharply since the city began switching to more advanced meters that take credit cards and coins — and banned parking at broken meters.
Currently, only about five of the city’s roughly 40,000 meters require repairs each month, according to Mitchell.
The new meters, which are expected to be installed citywide by the end of the year, include red stickers warning against parking at broken meters.
They also automatically message transportation employees about operational problems, which officials say are usually fixed within three hours.
Still, many drivers are upset about the policy of handing out tickets for parking at malfunctioning meters.
They say it’s just another way for the city to nickel and dime the public out of extra money. The cost of a ticket for parking at a broken meter, by the way, is $63.