New Echo Park parking meters accept major credit cards but not excuses

Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park is now sporting the newest thing in parking meters,  solar-powered, wireless devices that accept credit cards in addition to coins. The retrofitted single-space meters – Echo Park Now has a handy map of their location – should help address complaints by neighborhood merchants and drivers of dealing with jammed and overflowing meters and finding sufficient change to pay higher rates. But drivers should not expect free parking if they pull up to a failed meter.  The shiny new meters come with a big red warning sticker that makes it clear that drivers won’t be able to avoid getting ticket by claiming the meter was broken as was the case with the old machines. Instead, the “Pay to Park” notice on the new meters advises drivers to look for another spot if  coins or credit cards cannot be accepted. Just another reason to take a walk.

Related post:
Buddy, can you spare a quarter and a parking space? The Eastsider


  1. Why did the city change its policy that allowed motorist to park at a broken meter without penalty? I’m tired of their nazi-esque parking methods they need to find another way to generate revenue other than squeezing us every chance they get. It’s difficult enough to find parking and now this new rule will increase the level of stress one goes through to find parking.
    Also, I wonder how secure their credit card feature is?

  2. “should help address complaints by neighborhood merchants and drivers of dealing with jammed and overflowing meters”

    -are you serious??? no driver ever complained about a jammed or broken parking meter… they would just park for free. this sucks, no two ways about it. the fact that you must simply move your car from a perfectly usable spot if the meter is broken is simply ludicrous.

    where’s the rage?

  3. The new “no parking at broken meters” policy is due to the fact that valets would break meters and park cars in that spot all day.

    The complaints from local merchants etc. was NOT that customers were parking free all day (that’s not a problem for the businesses) but that the valuable parking spaces were being hogged by valets from local restaurants who – again – would bust the old meters with a hairpin and monopolize that space.

    Essentially, the drivers must now suffer because of egregious meter messing by valets.

  4. Bastards! Valets would jimmy the meters any way. If you park
    at a broken meter you still get a ticket after two hours. City Hall is
    punishing the people for their own ineffectiveness!

  5. Wait, it was legal to park at a broken meter? I thought that was always a penalty. Rule of thumb I’ve always had is broken meter = instant ticket. I always just assumed that was the case in LA, as its the rule in pretty much every other city. Crap, how many times have I missed getting free parking?!

    The reason they ticket at broken meters is because it would give incentive for people to break meters in order to get free parking

  6. I suspect it has less to do with meter tampering as it does with having vehicles to be towed by the company who operate the parking meters.
    It’s the biggest racket the city has going for itself. The cost of parking has increased dramatically over the recent years now with the new credit card systems they can condition folks to pay whatever tickles their city #*%!

  7. Lame about the broken meter thing. If they can’t keep them operational we should not have to keep driving around the block to look for functional ones.

    More importantly though – I hope they are prepared to deal with people tampering with these and installing those credit card skimmers that have been showing up on ATM and gas station credit card slots. These are the perfect place for someone to skim as there are not cameras like at ATMS and gas stations.

  8. If anyone has ever had to deal with the company that the city procures to operate the parking meters you would understand where my levels of frustrations stem from. I’ve been cited on numerous occasions through the years for meter failure. And you really have to jump through a lot of hoops to clear their mess up. I’m skeptical that the new meters will be trouble free, and I know that when they do fail having one less space to park will be problematic for many.

  9. Boyle Heights has also the new parking meters, and I am very happy because now we can see that people dont park for free, and all those plastic bags covers on the top of the parking meters are gone. if you do not want to get a parking fine just use one of the city lots. This is another improvement to our area.

  10. Forget all the agonizing. If you park at a meter and it’s broke, contest it. The law that you can’t ticket at a broken meter still applies, no matter what some red sticker tells you.

    If you fail to contest, then appeal that failure. Why not? it’s free and you just might win! I did!

  11. @CD14, yes because city lots are every where? Its not an issue of parking for free but one of locating parking in dense areas.

  12. The parking fees have really gone up to ridiculous prices lately. What does one quarter give you? About 5-8 minutes at a meter? I think its really ironic that the city is saying “Los Angeles is so broke, we need to generate revue from parking”, while at the same time, I wonder how much it cost them to install these super fancy new meters.
    I feel like high parking fees hurts local businesses. I feel like sometimes people in the area don’t go places because they don’t want to have to deal with parking. It’s either, pay 5-10$ for the valet, or drive around and around and around looking for a space to park, and then shell out a bunch of $ to pay at the meters.

  13. I agree with Jsauce. Where are there city lots in Echo park?

  14. La mordita. That all this is. Los Angeles should be “proud” it has fallen to that level.

  15. Parking limits and subsequently meters with a token payment were originally justified for free PUBLIC streets merely to make sure everyone in the public could get a chance to park by barring any one from taking the space all day. They were not there to raise money, and in fact lost money.

    Now, the public is supposed to pay again and again for what it already owns and has already paid for — use of the public streets! And our current set of shallow yuppies on the City Council think we should pay through the teeth. You see, this way, rather than making sure all of the public gets a chance to park, we will make sure only the affluent of the public who don’t mind $3+ an hour to park on the street can get a space.

    In fact, the city is now proceeding to install a system in downtown that will set a continually changing price for on-street parking depending on the amount of spaces filled — always making sure at least 15% of the spaces are empty. The price will go as high as needed to make sure that 15% is empty — and that is going to mean a LOT higher than $3 an hour, especially at midday on weekdays and during special events! To hell with the poorer people. Get them out of the way, the affluent want to park. The poorer people should be happy we let them exist at all. (Same idea with these toll lanes being put on the freeways, which will be priced as high as needed to make sure rush hour speed is no lower than 45 mph — get the damn poorer people out of the way, the rich want to cruise through.)

  16. @Mark-

    Welcome to America. It’s called Capitalism.

    Those with money get better seats on airplanes … better lawyers when they run afoul of the law … eggs without salmonella at Whole Foods .. and parking.

    Oh, and they contribute to the political campaigns of our City Councilmembers.

  17. If you live in an area you must have to know where the city parking lots are at. If you are a visitor and know how to read you will notice the signs on the commercial areas. if you dont want to pay, walk or stay home. I have not get a fine for 7 years, because I have been useing the lots. its cheaper and you dont want to burn yourself with city workers……

  18. Parking is too cheap, still. As a community we have an interest in making driving more expensive, to address the true costs of driving, including congestion, environmental effects, etc. All this driving is more expensive than it seems, we pay as a community rather than individually, and increasing parking rates is one way to adjust this imbalance. See Donald Shoup, The High Cost of Free Parking.


  19. CD14- I live at Sunset Junction – a neighborhood with a major parking problem. This doesn’t effect me because I have a permit, but it does effect my visitors at certain times and certain days. Please tell me where this City lot you speak of is located? In 5 years of living there I’ve never seen one…

  20. @Lauren-

    Your guests have trouble parking because you have restricted permit parking?

    The solution to your problem is simple – repeal the permit parking and return the street to the general public whose taxes pay for it.

  21. Maybe I’m weird, but I don’t mind meters, and I’m thrilled about the new ones. I rarely carry cash on me, and meters that accept both cards and change won’t be inoperable nearly as frequently as ones that go out of service when they get full or simply get jammed all the time, so it’s not like the revised rule about parking at broken meters is likely to be in effect very often.

    Besides, it’s worth noting that the text of the warning doesn’t say you can’t park at a broken meter. It says if one method of payment is out of order, you must use the other method of payment to park there. They know that the odds of the card-swipe method being out of order are vastly smaller than the odds of the coin slot being broken, so the odds of them both being broken are pretty slim. The question of whether or not one can park at a broken meter may be moot pretty soon.

  22. don’t tell her where the parking lot in Echo Park is!!!!

  23. @CD14, “burn yourself with city workers”? City workers are civil servants they shouldn’t act as though they are above everyone else, but I realize it happens. But what goes around comes around, i.e. D.M.V. employees who had there pay reduced and hours cut due to budget cuts… and after years of less than excelent service they wanted public sympathy?
    @echoeparker, Professors Shoup’s, “The High Cost of Free Parking” tries to penalize places like Southern California and their car culture but fails to realize that the system of utilizing automobiles has a direct symbiosis with our flow of commerce. His theory is unjust to folks who were directed to live further out and asked to commute so I deny his justifications for paying more for parking.

  24. @Lauren, you live in Silver lake and this area was not very popular before, Now You have a problem with parking. Having a permit parking its good for Homeowners, and bad for visitors, Request to the City to have parking lots near by.

  25. I wish Joan would share her thoughts. 🙂

  26. Much or most of Manhattan has no parking meters. Why does LA not only have to have them but charge high prices?! No wonder New York remains number 1.

  27. CD14 – She lives at Sunset junction which, while is apart of silverlake(decent size area that sorta varies in size residentially), does not have any sort of relief. Oh and as for just simply “asking” the city for parking lots? Sure. No problem. There’s plenty of areas to just tear down to turn into a parking lot. This isn’t a densely populated area at all. But thanks. I’ll go over to the city’s house later and ask him after a couple of beers.

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