Park[ing] Day LA Coming September 18

IMG_0922Park[ing] Day LA is a guerrilla protest that’s creative, fun, and socially relevant — in other words, tailor-made for Metblogs.  And it’s coming around again, for the third year, this September 18.  So what is Park[ing] Day LA?  As its organizers explain here, people all around Los Angeles will turn metered parking spaces into miniature parks, by feeding the meters and, instead of parking their cars in the spaces, well, take a look at the website and you’ll get the idea.

I like the cause, as encapsulated in the slogan “Parks Not Parking.” However, the practical side of me has a few questions about this:

1.  Is it illegal in Los Angeles to use parking spaces for anything other than parking a vehicle, without special permission?
2.  If yes to #1, do the Park[ing] Day LA participants obtain permission to create their mini parks instead of parking their Minis in these spaces?
3.  If no to #2, will the police enforce the law by tearing down the parks that people set up, and/or issuing citations to people they catch in the act?

If yes to #3, I have mixed feelings about this.  I don’t necessarily think it’s wise or fair to cause the City to expend extra resources during yet another carnival-like event on our public streets.  Specifically, whatever you may think of the L.A.P.D., I don’t see how turning their officers into “junk haulers” for a day, and possibly having to incur overtime pay and extra manpower to do so, if that is indeed what will occur, benefits us.  On the other hand, if the City lets the parks flourish for the day, then, as my friend who told me about Park[ing] Day LA said, this “seems kind of awesome.”  Except, perhaps, for some irritated drivers who may have even more trouble finding parking that day.

What do you think?  Does anyone here have experience with these events from previous years?

6 Replies to “Park[ing] Day LA Coming September 18”

  1. The upside of Park[ing] Day LA is that we get to have great discussions of how it works…or in the case of park[ing] on the street, how it doesn’t work.

    The LAPD wouldn’t be responsible for any of the Park[ing] Day LA activities, that would fall on the LADOT’s park[ing] enforcement department. Of course, without a VIN, they can hardly cite and tow so it would get referred to Street Use and they will respond within 24 hours, unless it’s a furlough day, but probably by Monday.

    Further clouding the issue is the fact that park[ing] spaces are for vehicles and bikes aren’t vehicles yet cyclists have all the rights and responsibilities so can’t they park in a park[ing]space…It will take them another week to find the code book and the decoder ring. By then, the temproary parks will have grown roots and we’ll have changed the world!

    LA’s code was written by people who rode the stagecoach to work and it has gotten more complicated and contradictory since then.

    Which is the purpose of Park[ing] Day LA. It’s time for a robust discussion of public space and the fact that we position 7 park[ing] spaces for every vehicle in LA County as the God-given right of every motorist and then we turn to the kids in our neighborhoods and explain “there is simply no more room for parkland!”

    “See you on the Streets!”

  2. Thanks soapbox, good info! BTW, my question about citation had to do with the people occupying the parking spaces, not about cars that obviously aren’t there. That’s why I was wondering if LAPD could (and, more importantly, would) issue citations to the people for some kind of improper occupation of public streets (or jaywalking or demonstrating without a permit or who knows what?), or perhaps arrest them and take them and their “parks” away.

  3. Good question re: the citation. My answer is “No!” The LAPD would arrive and turn it over to the LADOT who would not be able to enforce. They would call Street Services or Building & Safety and that would get a response on the following Monday. If the LAPD were to intervene, they would be hard pressed to find the “jaywalking” violation on the books. Inappropriate use of the parking space? Back to DOT and the B & S.

    Last year, the LAPD and the LADOT who encountered parks found it a hoot. One would have to try too hard to find an opportunity to cite and in this budget and crime environment, that would be unfortunate.

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