2:32 PM PST, January 8, 2013
Legislation introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) that would prevent authorities from issuing tickets for parking at broken or malfunctioning meters may be eliciting fist pumps from drivers everywhere, but in the tri-city area, it’s largely a moot point.
Introduced this week, Assembly Bill 61 would essentially prevent local governments from enacting laws that make it illegal to park in a space controlled by a broken meter.
But Burbank doesn’t employ parking meters, and neither Glendale nor Pasadena prohibit parking at a broken or malfunctioning meter, although both cities do ticket drivers who park longer than the posted time limit.
Still, in a region of commuters, the bill would no doubt settle longstanding confusion among drivers who travel from city to city and never quite know whether they’ve struck the parking jackpot — or sand trap — when pulling up to a broken meter.
“It’s just wrong for cities to ticket people who want to park at a meter that the city has failed to fix, or to force a motorist to drive around or park in a paid lot when a perfectly good spot on the street is available,” Gatto said in a statement on Monday.
The Los Angeles City Council last year upheld a law prohibiting drivers from parking at broken meters, allowing the city to continue ticketing drivers. The ordinance was approved after state legislators unanimously passed a law that permitted parking at a broken meter up to the maximum time allowed by the meter — unless there was an ordinance prohibiting it.
Gatto said that he introduced AB 61 to close the loophole and prevent cities from penalizing drivers for the mistakes of local government.
“It is the responsibility of local governments to maintain their meters and keep them in good working order,” Gatto said in his statement. “The people should not have to pay for the government’s mistakes or inefficiencies, especially when the people already paid to install and maintain the meters in the first place."
-- Daniel Siegal, Times Community News