Worst L.A. Neighborhoods for Parking Tickets Revealed in New USC Report

Data pix.

More parking tickets were issued in downtown Los Angeles than any other L.A. neighborhood so far this year, according to a report released Wednesday by USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Known for being a heavily congested area where signs advertising parking fees around $10 are the norm, downtown accounted for 105,405 of the more than one million tickets given in the city of L.A. between Jan. 1 and July 31, according to the report's analysis of data from city budget reports and the Department of Transportation. It's a number that far exceeds that of any other neighborhood.

Hollywood came in second with 55,691 citations issued during the same time period while the third-most ticketed neighborhood — Westlake — had just 35,920. Neighborhoods have been defined by boundaries laid out by the Los Angeles Times.

The report, compiled by co-authors Ethan Ward and Coco Huang through a data-driven journalism project out of USC called Crosstown, also revealed some surprising facts.

Despite its reputation for jam-packed parallel parking, Koreatown actually saw the eighth-highest number of fines so far this year with just 35,678. More tickets were issued in Sawtelle, Van Nuys and East Hollywood.

And the number of parking tickets in the first half of 2019 has dipped compared to the amount issued during the same time last year. From Jan. 1 to July 31, the city of L.A. saw 1,070,440 parking tickets — a number that's 13.1% lower than the 1,232,235 citations during the same 7-month period last year.

Along with the drop in actual tickets, of course, has come a fall in revenue. And it's one that has been steadily declining since 2016. Nearly $140 million in parking ticket revenue came into the city during a period between 2017 and 2018, a decrease of almost $20 million from the $158,446,609 seen from 2016 to 2017.

An L.A. Department of Transportation spokeswoman told the USC report's authors that the decrease can partially be explained by the agency grappling with an aging workforce and understaffing issues that have left it stretched thin.

Meanwhile, the violations that have led to thousands of citations vary but the USC report notes that street cleaning is by far the most common reason for a ticket.

Parking in a designated street cleaning area at the wrong time led to 327,462 during the first seven months of this year, which is more than double the 152,525 citations given for the second-most common reason for a ticket — parking by an expired meter.

The third-most common violation was parking in a red zone, which accounted for 95,196 tickets, followed by 74,427 tickets for "preferential parking" violations such as illegally using a spot reserved for handicap individuals and 63,363 tickets for having expired registration tags.

As for the decrease in parking tickets between 2018 and 2019, the biggest drop was in Hollywood where there were nearly 25% less tickets.

Of the top 10 worst neighborhoods, downtown L.A., perhaps not surprisingly, saw the smallest decrease in tickets from 2018 to 2019. There were 7% percent less tickets there this year compared to last.

Meanwhile, the other most-ticketed neighborhoods saw around 10% to 20% less citations.

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