August 2008 – Pay Stations coming to Venice

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Thirty shiny new parking pay stations will be unveiled around Venice sometime this month, according to Dan Mitchell, a Senior Transportation Engineer with the city.

Parking rates will be doubling shortly, but not because of the pay stations. The L.A. City Council recently doubled parking meter rates city wide. As a result, less people will buy gasoline to drive to a parking meter that will take more of their remaining cash. The air will become cleaner, there will be less carbon released into the atmosphere, and, oh yes, the city budget deficit will be defrayed by those diehard drivers who persist in trying to park.

Rates near the beach will be:

May 1 – Sept. 30 – $2 per hour.

Oct. 1 – April 30 – $1 per hour.

At other locations around Venice, the rate will be $1 year round, for now. With pay stations, someone downtown could flip a switch and increase parking rates throughout Venice, or even Los Angeles. Mitchell says that will not happen because the posted signs must state the cost of parking, and at present they are not electronic.

According to Mitchell, there will be no expansion in pay parking in Venice because of the pay stations. However, Abbot Kinney Blvd., Lincoln Blvd., Rose Avenue, and the lots behind Abbot Kinney must be tempting targets to city officials looking for ways to balance the budget. 

The L.A. City Council, by a unanimous vote on July 15, once again raised parking fines by $5 a ticket to help balance its budget. The increase is expected to bring in an addition $6.6 million to city coffers this year. The Council had originally wanted to raise the fines by $10 – $15 but was told that such a high increase could create voter anger and possible violence against parking officers.

With pay stations, it will be almost impossible to fight a parking ticket. No receipts are issued and the last word is the electronic data in the pay station. In addition, there will be no more alibis that the meter was broken. If a pay station is not working, you must pay at another one even if it’s on another block.

The new pay stations will accept coins, credit or debit cards, but no bills. You can also pay with your mobile phone if you register with a company called Mpark <mpark.com>. More information about pay stations can be found at: http://ladot.lacity.org/pdf/PDF1.pdf

Where will riders lock their bikes once the city converts to one pay station per block? Fear not, the city is thinking about you. Not all parking meters will be removed. Some will be converted to bike parking racks with a different cap on top. Currently, it is technically illegal to attach anything to a parking meter, including a bicycle. But with the old meters decommissioned, you’ll be able to lock your bike to one with a clear conscience. And with increased parking fees and fines, bike riding will be more attractive than ever.

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