L.A. Councilmember Blumenfield Seeking Stiffer Fines For Parking Placard Abuse

Councilmember Blumenfield wants to increase fines for misusing disability placards. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia
Councilmember Blumenfield wants to increase fines for misusing disability placards. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia

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Parking expert Donald Shoup has called disability placard abuse the main parking problem faced by Los Angeles. Rampant placard abuse gets in the way of various efforts to manage parking – from high-tech Express Park to low tech meters and even simple time limits.

Anyone using a disability placard can park for free anywhere in California. In hard-to-park places, like downtown L.A. and Venice, block after block fill with placard after placard. This eats up space for people who actually have disabilities, and anyone else arriving by car.

The California DMV and L.A. City Transportation Department (LADOT) catch many placard abusers. The media report often on various sting operations and individual enforcement. State audits reveal numerous placard issues, but attempts to reform state laws have failed. The problems persist.

L.A. City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield calls placard misuse “unconscionable.” He is proposing increased fines. Blumenfield’s motion (council file 13-0465-S1) would “add a monetary civil penalty in the maximum amount allowed by State law for misuse of disabled parking placards and special license plates.” The current city base penalty amount of a parking placard misuse ticket is $250 – of a total $363 citation. Under Blumenfield’s proposal that $250 portion would increase to $1,000. LADOT

The motion was approved unanimously at yesterday’s L.A. City Council Transportation Committee. If approved by the full city council, likely within a week, the City Attorney will need to draft a revised ordinance which will come back to committee and council for approvals.

  • KJ

    Good start.

  • keenplanner

    My observations of the many cars with placards parked near my workplace would indicate that many placard users are employed with good-paying jobs that allows them to purchase expensive cars, which begs the question of why employed, disabled (or not) people deserve free parking? Why not allow all-day parking in time-limited, metered spaces for a flat daily fee similar to market-rate parking fees in the area? Can’t meters be programmed to spit out a $10 disabled tag that would allow all-day parking for working disabled users? Working disabled people are not poor people, so why the free parking?

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