This week the Los Angeles City Council voted to increase the penalty imposed by parking tickets.
The move is yet another sign of the times, by which I mean that Los Angeles is in a fiscal mess: an almost $240 million budget shortfall. We spend more than we bring in; what is a city to do?
In the case of Los Angeles, we are putting an increased burden on those of us who either park in the wrong place or stay too long in the same place. The latest fine increase is the sixth of its kind in the last seven years.
How much money will these increased fines bring in? Estimates put the number at over $8 million. That money will be put in the city's general fund, which pays for basic services like firefighters and police officers.
Most of my fellow Angelenos are familiar with that panic-inducing moment when one realizes that their meter runs out in three minutes, but they are at least a seven-minute walk away. If you don't somehow figure out how to cut your time in half and race back to your car, that parking spot is about to get more expensive. Another less than fun experience is realizing that it is in fact Tuesday, street cleaning day, where you have just parked.
How much will the fines increase? Expired meters will now run you $63. Illegally parking during street sweeping will go for $73. And finally parking in a red zone will cost you a cool $93.
So to all of you who either forget about the meter, neglect to remember sweeping day, or just parking in the red zone for reasons unknown, the city is counting on you.