Quantcast
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

City Council to consider suspending partial enforcement of driveway apron parking rules*

Drivers from Westwood to Silver Lake have learned in recent months that they can be ticketed for parking in what’s called the driveway apron – that sloping portion of driveway between the sidewalk and street.  Today, the City Council is scheduled to consider a motion that would temporarily allow drivers to park in the driveway apron without fear of getting a ticket.  But there is a hitch: the vehicle must fit entirely within the apron and can’t encroach on the sidewalk, said Paul Michael Neuman, a spokesman for City Councilman  Paul Koretz, a cosponsor of the motion. “There are aprons that are large enough to park their entire car,” said Neuman.

The motion is being considered as the city looks for a way to deal with lawsuits claiming that apron parking violates provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act.  The city has stepped up enforcement of laws prohibiting apron parking but there is confusion as to certain definitions, including the term “parkway” used in the city ordinance, according to the motion. Enforcement of the city’s no-apron parking rule would be suspended until those definitions are cleared up or a new ordinance is adopted.

But Neuman warns that drivers should play it safe by making sure their entire vehicle fits into the apron even if the law is suspended.  The issue remains far from settled as city lawyers and officials look at ways to comply with the ADA and perhaps allow for some types of apron parking.

What happens, for example, if your car does not block the sidewalk but juts out into the street?  That’s not clear, Neuman said. “It strikes me as being an iffy proposition,” he said.

Here’s a summary of the issue Koretz’ office published in an August newsletter:

Residents all over the City are learning what too many in Westwood and all over the Fifth Council District already know – that the City needs a new policy on “apron parking.”

The apron is the portion of the driveway between the sidewalk and the street.In many parts of Los Angeles, particularly older multifamily neighborhoods, the sidewalks are fairly close to the buildings and residents have parked for many years on the aprons of their driveways between the sidewalk and the street. In years past, regulations against apron parking largely have not been enforced.

Unfortunately, that changed this year.Law suits were filed against the City claiming, among other things, that apron parking interfered with the mobility of disabled residents. Partially in response to this litigation, the City Attorney’s Office instructed the Department of Transportation to enforce existing prohibitions on apron parking. This abrupt elimination of many parking spaces all over Los Angeles is causing great hardship in many neighborhoods.

Councilmember Koretz has a long history of support for the rights of the disabled and differently-abled and continues to strongly advocate for justice for the victims of disability discrimination.Nonetheless, Councilmember Koretz believes that the City can develop an apron parking system which fully protects the rights of the disabled and addresses the legitimate parking needs of neighborhood residents (some of whom are in fact disabled).

One issue is whether Sacramento must pass legislation before the City can act to meet the needs of all of its residents. The California Vehicle Code is silent on the issue of apron parking.Some have interpreted this silence as a prohibition on the development of a Los Angeles City apron parking altogether unless and until Sacramento revises the Vehicle Code to expressly provide for such a program.
The Councilmember therefore authored a proposal, which was adopted by the full City Council, to direct the Department of Transportation and the City Attorney to report on a dual strategy regarding apron parking – both the immediate development of an apron parking plan and also the development of a Sacramento legislative strategy. Again, either strategy should and in fact must fully protect the rights of the disabled. Councilmember Koretz has already begun seeking legislators willing to explore possibly writing and carrying any appropriate legislation, and has also urged the Department of Transportation and City Attorney’s Office to begin the necessary work leading to a report.

 

*Update: City Council adopted the motion to suspend enforcement of  parking in driveway apron.

7 comments

  1. I thought this was the law already. As long as you don’t block the sidewalk, and your car does not jut out farther into the roadway than the cars parked on the street, you should be okay.

    Remember, the two most important phrases in determining if something is an infraction, does it interfere? and is it a safety hazard? They drilled this into my head in traffic school, and I heard a cop use those exact same phrases in a courtroom to justify his writing a questionable ticket, and he prevailed.

  2. Our neighbors have that problem on Scott Avenue. It’s great when they are allowed to park in their spaces, even on street cleaning days, because it helps relieve the whole street of parking woes. Mostly however, the city has been inconsistent with the enforcement, so you never know when you’re going to see them handing out tickets. A solid policy one way or another would be great!

  3. Something has to be done. Parking is getting worse in Silverlake .
    Especially streets behind Thirsty Crow. Now with this new club opening below Los Globos …..fuhgetaboutit… I hear rumors of permit parking ;|

  4. yay…my car is still famous!

    so, after getting 2 tickets (at 3am!) for parking just as you see in the pic, i’ve started parking parallel to the street – like all legally parked cars – but completely blocking my driveway. been doing this for 2, 3 weeks without incident.

    still, good news that they’re looking at fixing this money-grabbing enforcement, disguised as helping handi-capable folks.

  5. The problem here is one made by the city itself. The city clearly has not required enough parking spaces to be built when it gives out building permits. Neither has it provided sufficient setbacks that otherwise would provide enough driveway space — and feeling of having enough open space to make for a neighborhood rather than a can of sardines — so that this entire issue would be moot. And because of that shortsightedness, thee residents are suffering dearly even as developers are lining their pockets.

    Fro instance, I am in a 10-unit apartment building in silver Lake. It has only 8 parking spaces! And most of the units have two adult roommates in them! You see, not only are the zoning rules insufficient, but the city hands out conditional use permits — that is, variances — allowing for even those insufficient rules to be waived. They hand those out like there is some constitutional right to them. It is nearly impossible to fight them as the city administrators bend over backwards and go to extremes to find a way to give them to any developer who asks for any reason whatsoever, common sense and fairness tot he rest of the neighbors and neighborhood be damned. These easy variances make the zoning rules completely superflous, completely meaningless!

    And they sue every variance given out as a justification for the entire street to get the same — that is the formal policy!

    Frankly, apron parking is very undesirable. It is being sought merely as a lesser of two evils. The people suffering had nothing to do with creating the problem — the ones who created it, the city, are reaping a windfall in parking ticket revenues.

    Whatever is done about apron parking, the city must change its zoning rules and variance policies to provide enough parking in the first place, and to provide greater setbacks. Anything less is to continue to make this parking situation worse and worse.

  6. So this would entitle a visitor to park in a driveway apron of a residence that’s not their own right? There’s no way for parking enforcement to know who lives there and who’s just patronizing the coffee shop down the street. My driveway isn’t wide enough for this anyway, but of it was, I’m not sure I’d want random people to be able to park in it.

  7. evan,

    ” i’ve started parking parallel to the street – like all legally parked cars – but completely blocking my driveway. been doing this for 2, 3 weeks without incident.”

    WaRNing: i did exactly that- parallel park blocking my own driveway and got ticketed. apparently, its illegal for anyone, including the owner/renter to block their own driveway.

    the CA vehicle code allows cities to pass an ordinance to allow owners to parallel park in front of their own driveway but (parking deficient) los angeles doesn’t allow it. i researched other cities that passed the ordinance, presented it to president garcetti’s office CD13 but they told me its “complicated”. no help at all.

    maybe since he’s running for mayor, he might be more amendable to listening to all the registered voting citizens that are struggling to find a parking space in los angeles.

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>