“Ooops. I did it again” is not just a Britney Spears song. It’s the theme of any of us who live in this pit of parking pandemonium. Where pandemonium refers to being the capital of hell from Dante’s Paradise Lost when it comes to the present parking nightmare that has become our fair city.
Last week I went to meet a client for breakfast at the Lazy Daisy on Pico and found a spot on 22nd that sure looked to me to be a “safe space” to park, but I was wrong. That cost me a cool $64.
Monday I went to grab a quick lunch at the California Chicken Café on Wilshire. There is metered parking on the side street. You’re allowed to park for 20 minutes at the meter. Fresh off my last ticket I dutifully grabbed a couple of quarters to throw in the machine. “Plunk” goes the first one. 15 minutes. “Plunk goes the second one. 20 minutes.
So here’s my issue. It’s a quarter for 15 minutes, which means that the next 5 minutes should be 8.33 cents. How is one supposed to pay that? Who would know that you need to put in 8.33 cents? And is that even possible?
I dropped the extra quarter. Just like most people probably do. The city then gets a windfall because the meters are calibrated poorly, or the pricing is structured in such a way as to create the extra funding. I find it rather annoying, this LITERAL nickel and diming us at every opportunity.
Government is supposed to serve the people. Contrary to the current President and his administration’s beliefs, it does not run like a business where every interaction is a constant game of ‘Gotcha!’ I find it demeaning and offensive that I have to constantly be on guard against my own government. Perhaps that is the price of liberty, but should it be the price of parking?
Vigilance against overreach by the Executive and Legislative branches is always a good idea, but to have to be vigilant against my own city’s overreaching is just annoying. We’re neighbors. At least we should be. I realize that most of the police force probably doesn’t actually live in the city. I know two of my family law clients who were both on the Santa Monica Police Force didn’t live here.
For those of us who do live here, it would be nice if we could get an annual citywide pass. Seriously. I would gladly pay a one time fee of $1,000 even $1,200 if I could just get an annual pass to park throughout the city. I live here. I work here. I have a bazillion friends and divorce clients here. I am in and out of the courthouse on a regular basis. If I could just have the freedom of knowing that I could park worry free it would be worth it to me, and I bet many others.
I’m not expecting that a parking pass would allow me to avoid the laws like parking head in while using the structures. Or even parking on the streets during street cleaning periods.
Considering I spend on average $3.00 a day on parking, the annual cost would be the same, but without the additional joys of parking tickets that are frankly existential annoyances that just frustrate the bejeezus out of me.
Now I realize that this is a go nowhere idea. The city would never allow it, and it would frustrate the purpose of the meters, which is to force regular circulation of cars and parking so that no one person can monopolize a space.
But we’ve made exceptions to our parking regulations before. The electric car parking policy allowed for NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles) to park for free at meters. So we have precedent for a carve out of preferential treatment of some members of the polity. I don’t see why there couldn’t be a way to allow me to park throughout the city with relative impunity, for a fee.
It’s all a pipedream I know. Today I am stuck putting too many quarters in a meter and just waiting for the next time I misinterpret some arcane parking regulation. Until then I’ll just enjoy the benefits of life by the beach, and count my blessings.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra