Eyes On the Street: Cars Parking On Sidewalks

Car on sidewalk on 4th Street near Normandie. Photos by Joe Linton
Car on sidewalk on 4th Street near Normandie Avenue. Photos by Joe Linton

The latest reports show that L.A. County has 18.6 million parking spaces, a whopping 14 percent of developed land. But apparently drivers want even more. It may be just anecdotal in my neighborhood – which is Koreatown near East Hollywood – but it seems like I am seeing more and more cars parking on sidewalks and curbs.

When I am walking, sometimes these are blocking the sidewalk, which is especially irritating when pushing a stroller. I don’t remember ever seeing this five to twenty years ago, but just this year it feels like it’s increasing. I don’t see it every day, but I did notice it a half dozen times before I began taking pictures last month with this article in mind. Parking is not easy here and it is somewhat more scarce on street-cleaning days, but it seems like drivers used to make do with the spaces allotted to them.

Car on the curb on First Street near Vermont Avenue.
Car on the curb on First Street near Vermont Avenue.

Are other Angelenos seeing this? What neighborhoods? Can we come up with some kind of shaming process? Maybe just a hashtag?

What should we do to keep it from proliferating? Can we get some law enforcement to act? Unless… sometimes it is law enforcement vehicles which are parked on the sidewalk.

LAPD car parked on the sidewalk at the Wilshire/Vermont Metro Red Line Station
L.A. County Sheriffs car parked on the sidewalk at the Wilshire/Vermont Metro Red Line Station

I guess that police parking on a sidewalk is probably OK in a full-on emergency. The above picture is the only time I’ve observed it. But it seems like it’s still harmful to walkability, especially if it becomes widespread and sends the wrong message to already entitled drivers.

  • 1976boy

    ALWAYS key a car parked on a sidewalk.

  • Road flares through the windshield of all cars parked in pedestrian spaces or bike lanes.

  • sarah

    I think it’s been getting worse even in the past few months. I moved to Ktown in August (near Fedora & 8th) and there was one car who would routinely park on the sidewalk almost every night. Last night as I was walking home there were FIVE on my block alone. What gives??

  • M

    There’s an apartment building on my street that uses small golf cart like vehicles (some have license plates, some don’t) to show off their buildings to potential tenants and they habitually park these vehicles on the sidewalks. I’ve tried talking to them, yelling at them, calling the police and then started reporting them to my council member (this happens a LOT) and taking photos. Finally once I had photos and reported to my councilmember it stopped… for a while. Now it’s happening again (this has been going on for years.) It’s ridiculous considering there ARE people that use wheelchairs on my street and it’s not like people parking in the middle of the sidewalk are around to move the carts when someone tries to use the sidewalk.

  • M

    I do have to admit, I was pretty amused when they left their cart parked in the middle of the sidewalk on Halloween night and then I spotted some people trying to get in and take it for a joyride as I was approaching to take a photo of it.

  • Asher Of LA

    I don’t condone this of course, but I’d blame the lack of good parking management by the city. Koreatown and East Hollywood, in my experience, have a terrible parking situation – every inch of street curbspace occupied, and there’s no turnover. Sometimes there will be an overpriced parking structure nearby. Extending metering hours on busy streets to say 10 pm or midnight would help as well (Koreatown, more than any place in LA, is an all hours area).

    Adding a kiosk per block face for where there aren’t meters already would help as well.

  • Gemsoff

    t’s a violation to park on the sidewalk and/or to block a sidewalk when parked in a driveway. Call parking enforcement and let them deliver a citation. You have to give the correct street address plus the make, model and car color

  • M

    They aren’t even in the driveway… they’re flat out in the middle of the sidewalk. For example: https://www.flickr.com/photos/51221241@N02/7377638864/

    I’m assuming either they 1) never show up 2) the carts are moved before they show up or 3) they are repeatedly getting tickets and consider it a “business expense” or ignore it.

  • Gemsoff

    Try reporting them, it might make a differnce.

  • saidit

    This definitely only happens in low SES areas. You don’t see this in WeHo, Silver Lake, Los Feliz — all of which have parking drama. Immigrants from countries with no rule of law. I said it.

  • User_1

    Dang it! This is perfect opportunity for the video “man walks on car on sidewalk” but couldn’t find it! :-( I think it was in SF if I remember correctly.

    I’m hoping for the Eyes On the Street: Businesses take over the sidewalk issue soon!

  • Justin Runia

    JJ Auto Center in West Adams has a car or two out on the sidewalk most days…

  • calwatch

    I don’t know, in San Francisco people parking on the sidewalk in front of their garage is a problem even in places like West Portal which are mainly Caucasian.

  • Gemsoff

    No way! Let the air out …

  • I lived on Fedora off 8th in Ktown up until this August and it was happening every day and night for at least 6 months. Never saw a ticket issued once.

  • Asher Of LA

    Happens in Westwood Village where students live. Honestly, I think it’s just a combination of desperation and the odds of getting away with it.

    Judging from experience in other matters, cops seem to have a more laissez faire attitude in areas like Ktown, because you don’t have a much of anal retentive white homeowners squealing on each other.

  • neroden

    This is definitely a “meter it” situation.

    Anyone parking on the sidewalk should have their car removed as abandoned property. Unfortunately it sounds like the corrupt cops in LA won’t do it, perhaps because of corrupt councilmen, I don’t know.

  • neroden

    Those look small enough to overturn, or even to carry away to the dump on a pickup truck. If reporting them isn’t working, you might just remove the trash left on the sidewalk.

  • neroden

    Tow them. I guess most people don’t have the capability, but… that’s the way to remove the hazard.

  • cutty sark

    No license plate – not a registered road-legal vehicle.
    So the parking citation is charged to?????

  • Juan Gonzalez

    What the hell is the point of this article, exactly?

  • Juan Gonzalez

    Disqus…you’re a fucking joke.

  • Juan Gonzalez

    Honestly…did you even go to college? You guys suck!!!

  • Joe Commuter

    Do you want to clarify what you’re so upset about?

  • ALMAR42

    That’s what is happening on my street, there are lots of cars parking on the sidewalks, yes on both sides.
    Come and take a look on Normal Ave.
    Between N. Virgil Ave & N. Madison Ave. (90029) East Hollywood.
    It is very disgusting.

  • Joe Linton

    I’ll check it out… though I am not sure exactly where the leverage is to get this practice stopped.

  • D G Spencer Ludgate

    If it is “Apron Parking” it is allowed by the City of Los Angeles. Apron Parking is a big issue in Westwood. In 2011, the City of Los Angeles suspended enforcement of Apron Parking laws.

    Though not allowed by law, cars are allowed to park on the part of a driveway that is between a building and the sidewalk as well as the part of the driveway that is between the sidewalk and the street. On streets with street parking, cars are also allowed to park perpendicular to the street (half on the apron/half on the street).

    There are many neighborhoods in Los Angeles with more cars than available parking.

  • Sway

    This is going on in my neighborhood as well. I live in Koreatown between Wilshire and 3rd. It has gotten to the point where property owners are installing poles to deter people from parking in the sidewalks. So darn annoying because they take up so much space!

  • Johnny

    Same in my area. Cars are parked literally on the sidewalk. And when there’s street cleaning, they just park the car on the sidewalk. No parking tickets at all. I don’t know if it’s legal but its blocking pedestrians.

  • Isabel Gallegos

    I dont think its a big deal as long as the sidewalk isnt disturbed. Sure you act like people are entitled and want more parking space but even in small neighborhoods its hard to find parking and the streets are sometimes so small parking distrubs the flow of traffic and not everyone has a driveway… i say as long as they arent on major roads and not disturbing the sidewalk and its alright with me

  • Joe Linton

    Cars already get so much of the city… I think it’s a bad sign when they take even more. I find it very frustrating when I am walking my daughter on the sidewalk and we have to walk into the street to get around cars illegally parked. (At a time when LAPD is putting resources toward pedestrian “jaywalking” stings nearby.)

  • Isabel Gallegos

    Please refer to my first sentence.

  • daviddancer

    I’m parked on a grass spot between the sidewalk and the street tonight, because my building owner sucks and started the seismic retrofit without notice that our parking would be impacted in koreatown. Luckily I’m completey on the patch of grass and not on the sidewalk at all, but my biggest concern is basically a dog taking a piss on my car tonight. That, or other vandalism/MS13 graffiti. :(

  • Issac

    It’s always disturbing. Tire markings and oils stains as well

  • Aldo

    Being a former traffic officer for L.A. it is legal to park the way the mazda is. But the sidewalk can’t be blocked.


Anti-parking posts like these (which didn't prevent the car from its spot) are proliferating in Koreatown. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

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