Cars On Sidewalks Draw Parking Guru's Ire

Last week, TTLA mentioned Donald Shoup, UCLA professor of urban planning and, among many honors and accomplishments, past director of the university's Institute of Transportation Studies.

This blog emailed Prof. Shoup to check in and see if he could answer user JK's comment left at the end of that recent post.

Shoup's famously been labeled the rock star of parking, not the rock star of stop-and-go traffic, so turns out that JK's question wasn't up his alley. (Still expecting a reply from another expert later this week or next, JK.) But something else, something parking related, was on Professor Shoup's mind: Cars parked on sidewalks.

Story continues below

landfair avenue by shoupbody.jpg

With Shoup's permission to reprint, below TTLA has pasted a correspondence he says he recently sent to Los Angeles City Councilmember Jack Weiss, along with the accompanying photo.

A bigger-picture view of the issues raised in Shoup's email was previously reported by Damien Newton on LA Streetsblog.

And, related to the below, TTLA spoke Monday with and forwarded the email below to Lisa Hansen, deputy chief of staff for Weiss' Council District 5. Citing the ongoing litigation mentioned in Shoup's email, Hansen declined to further comment.

Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 18:16:42 -0800
To: councilmember.weiss@lacity.org
From: Donald Shoup [email address erased by TTLA]
Subject: Cars parked on the sidewalks in North Westwood Village

Dear Councilmember Weiss,

I walked through North Westwood Village this morning, and have attached a photograph I took of cars parked on the sidewalks. Every car parked on the street on the side being cleaned had a citation. On the side of the street that was not being cleaned, not one of the cars illegally parked on the sidewalks had a citation.

I spoke to one Parking Enforcement Officer who had cited a car parked on the apron on the side of the street being cleaned (I have attached a photograph of the car and the citation; the car extended into the street but not onto the sidewalk). The officer told me that he issues tickets for apron-parked cars only if a resident complains that the apron-parked car blocks the resident's car.

I hope you are aware of the many emails and letters sent to you about how parking on a sidewalk violates both the California Vehicle Code and the Los Angeles Municipal Code. More important, the City's policy of allowing cars to block the sidewalks in North Westwood Village may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires that sidewalks be accessible. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Barden v. Sacramento sets a nationwide precedent requiring cities to make all public sidewalks accessible. As a result, cities must remove barriers that block disabled access along the length of the sidewalks.

In case this issue has escaped your notice, here is the link to copies of letters and e-mails sent to you, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, and Mayor Villaraigosa about illegal parking on Los Angeles sidewalks: http://www.its.ucla.edu/shoup/CorrespondenceAboutADA.pdf

If you or any of your staff are concerned about general issue of accessible sidewalks, here is the link to a new article on repairing broken sidewalks in Los Angeles:

And here is the link to a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles about ADA violations on the city's sidewalks:

Donald Shoup
Department of Urban Planning
University of California, Los Angeles

Photo courtesy Donald Shoup; The "Rain" image associated with this post was taken by flickr user Creative Commons license.

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