Street repair turns proves costly for Silver Lake car owner

Photo by Julian

A Silver Lake freelance writer named Julian walked over to his car parked on Maltman Avenue near Larissa Drive on Wednesday morning as he prepared to  head off to work. But there was a problem. His car was gone. In fact, there were no cars or trucks anywhere on Maltman. Julian later encountered some of his neighbors at a downtown tow yard as they plunked down $272 to recover their vehicles, which had been towed away as city crews prepared to spread a new layer of asphalt across Maltman.  Yes, warning signs and flyers had been posted, but Julian, who also had to pay a $78 parking ticket and lost a day’s work retrieving his car, said the notices  were too vague and small to be noticed when he got home on Tuesday night.

“My car was towed as a result of what I think is inadequate signage and poor preparation by the city,” Julian said in an email.

Julian noted that the white and red “No Parking” signs said Wednesday but did not give a date. A date was provided on a separate notice but that notice was printed on a  hard-to-see blue flyer that was taped on fences . There was also no information on how towed cars could be located and recovered.

He asks that the city provide better notification to avoid such a costly and time-consuming ordeal:

Sorry to sound grumpy. I just feel that this experience is really unfair and I’m sure others – besides me – have been towed before and wondered why the process singles out neighborhood residents who aren’t trying to obstruct street work. It’d be great to hear them, and see if there is any recourse from the City in the future. Even if I don’t get awarded back my money, it’d be good to implement some new rules to help future residents from suffering a similar experience.


  1. notification was definitely rushed and inadequate. the city should have sent letters or emails a couple weeks in advance instead of tacking up a bunch of no parking signs two days before. 😐

    • This is the big city. You can not expect to be babysat. Pay attention to the giant red and white signs. And know that this city will take every opportunity to squeeze every dime they can from your wallet.


  2. The same thing happened to me when they were building those condos on Echo Park Ave! it was a nightmare for weeks for those of us who park on the street. I think in the end I ended up with three tickets and 1 tow because of bad signage.

  3. i had a similar experience when they repaved allesandro last year. they put up about 10 notices of “no parking” a couple of weeks in advance, but no one ever came to re-pave, and they eventually took down the signs. then, i came home one night, parked my car as i normally would, but when i woke up the next morning, i was getting a ticket and the tow truck was about to tow my car. i looked everywhere for a sign, but couldn’t find any “no parking” signs. finally, i found a sign posted on a pole at the very beginning of the street, which was blocked by a tree. there were plenty of other places where they could have posted notices (as they had before), but they didn’t. instead, they ticketed and/or towed at least 8 cars.

    this whole situation is another black eye on LA parking. even when you finally figure out all of the rules on the confusing signs, they find another way to get you. how inept is a city that can’t even be respectful to the people who pay for it to run. it’s almost as if they want to cause confusion so they can generate more revenue from people who aren’t even trying to do something wrong.

    if i’m trying to get away with parking where i shouldn’t and i get caught, then it’s my fault and i’ll gladly pay the ticket. but when i have no idea i am doing anything wrong because someone doesn’t want to do their job correctly (like putting up enough signs), then it really pisses me off.

    • Silver Lake resident

      Long before the lots south of Sunset in Echo Park (behind Masa, etc) were redone, I received a $400 ticket for “parking in a disabled spot.” Problem was that the paint was completely worn away on the parking space AND there was no corresponding sign indicated it was handicapped. I had to fight LA Parking for months with photos, witness testimony, etc. Finally got the ticket dismissed when another woman parked there and also fought her ticket…that was about 6 months later! Less than a week later, a sign was put up and the disabled logo repainted in the spot. Hmph.

      Parking enforcement is the WORST.

  4. Silver Lake resident

    A friend of mine also had his car towed. He didn’t see the signs because of his work schedule — I guess they were put up while he was sleeping and it was dark to notice when he returned from his night shift.

    What are the laws regarding proper notification of residents? Most Silver Lake housing (especially duplex, bungalows and apartments) are street-parking only. The city should have anticipated problems with residents needing more advance notice about the paving; I would think a week would be fair. The City manages to send out liquor licence hearing notifications to everyone in certain radius of the business in question, but they can’t send out letters to residents warning of towing/paving in advance? Seems shady to me.

  5. You saw the red and white sign that said “No Parking Wednesday” and you decided to take the chance that it meant some other Wednesday. You made a risky (and poor) choice. You lost your gamble and now you are crying foul. This is not newsworthy. There was no conspiracy or incompetency on behalf of the public employees who posted the signs in advance of fixing your street. Try to learn something from this experience.

  6. Seriously, if it’s Wednesday, and the sign says “No parking Wednesday,” you don’t park there. It’s not that hard.

    • Apparently to these commenters signs aren’t enough. Even two weeks of signage isn’t good enough. This explains more to me about the demo of these posters than ever before…

      • i would have said the same thing before it happened to me. it’s one thing to see a sign and not understand it or hope that it’s for a different day. it’s entirely different when the signs are hung last minute in poorly lit locations obscured by trees that you normally blow by at 30mph. i don’t ask much, but the city could splurge and maybe put up a sign on each telephone/light post and it would make it a whole lot easier on the residents. i’ve lived in this neighborhood 7 years and i’d never gotten a parking ticket before. i’m no idiot, just someone who would expect a little better signage placement.

  7. This happened to me once when I lived by the lake… definitely sucks when it’s your car, but I don’t know if it’s fair to blame the city. At the end of the day, you’re parking your private property in the public right of way, it’s a privilege not a right.

  8. whether or not there was adequate notification, it is clear that the City of L.A., via increased fines and heightened enforcement, is trying to use parking fines to backfill the numerous potholes in its budget.

  9. so he parked there on a wednesday and hoped they meant a different wednesday?

  10. When the city contractors come to work on the sewers around Benton Way they usually put tiny fold up signs a few hours before dark the day before. Then leave the dirt/mud/debris in the street with zero clean up. It’s awesome!

  11. Since you can park you car for up to 72 hours without having to move it. the city should post signs at least 72 hours prior to towing. It is not unreasonable for someone to be out of town or away for a night or two and have their car there.

    This guy is dumb if he saw the sign that said Wednesday and parked their anyway. Especially since they have been doing re-surfacing on a lot of the streets around there recently.

  12. The signs and flyers went up Monday morning and were really easy to see coming up and down Maltman. Pretty hard to miss lots of big red and white signs saying No Parking on Wednesday Only. To be fair, the signs did not have the date listed, but a little common sense would have gone a long way towards not getting that $272 parking ticket doncha think?

  13. Toooldtoknowbetter

    Maybe, in the future, the city can supply residents with a streetneedsresurfacing liason. They can come to your house, sit down with you, discuss why they need to surface the road, understand and listen to how this makes you feel, and then they can give you a big hug and tell you everything will be better soon. They can tuck you in bed, bring you some milk, hug you again, and tell you that the city of LA loves you.

    Pay attention. Read the signs. If you cannot do that and follow the lead that every resident in this city has had to encounter before you got your car towed, then maybe you need to get rid of your car and rely on public transportation.

  14. When I lived in Miracle Mile there was a street I used to be able to park on during the day for 2 hours at a time with no permit. I was walking to my car one day and saw the city was changing the signs to permit only parking and then going down the street and ticketing everyone who was parked there.

  15. That sign is pretty loud and clear to me. What else could the city have done? Tracked down all the car owners and personally asked them to kindly move their cars in order for the street to be improved for everyone’s benefit? Come on, dude. Take responsibility.

  16. Ted The Driving Instructor

    There was plenty of notice. The streets that have been worked on look great its just a pity some idiot in the condos next door pulled out and drove down the street while the asphalt was still wet. Hopefully they screwed their car up big time!

  17. When I lived in Seoul, many people had their cell phone numbers on their dashboard. I thought it was odd, but often if the car was hit or blocking someone’s way, or anything, someone would just call the number. I wish parking enforcement would call us and warn us to move or else get your car towed or ticketed on street cleaning days.

    • Oh Joey hoe naive of you! Do you think “parking enforcement” means that they’re job is to enforce parking? No. They’re job is to write as many chicken-shit tickets as they possibly can. You see, parking enforcement (like many public service entities) started out as you say it did in Seoul, then the money grubbing politicians saw this as a huge money maker! They are not interested in anything but imposing this tax on the citizens. Yes, a “fine” or a “fee” is basically a tax. It is money flowing from your pocket to the government, a tax.
      The same has been happening with our police officers who pass by the person who sets up an illegal food service on the side of the road to give the motorist a chicken-shit no seatbelt ticket. Why? Because there is NO MONEY to be extracted from the dude selling street tacos. But the motorist hmm well they could at least sell this car to pay us…

  18. Contact the Not-Friends of Towing Committee of the Neighborhood Council.

  19. another coddeled hipster that cannot read and wants to push responsibility onto someone else, grow up

  20. hmm i live on a street that was repaved last week as well. i believe the signs were put up a VERY short notice -maybe a little over 24 hours before the repaving was to occur. thankfully i decided to come home and saw the signs, but i know some of my neighbors weren’t so lucky. a few more days’ notice would have been more than reasonable.

  21. This just happened to me yesterday, only in Valley Village. I came out to go to work and saw my truck being hoisted onto a flatbed towtruck. $232 on the spot and he put it down, and I was able to get to work. People everywhere were livid because nobody saw signs posted the night before. Not only were cars being towed, people were told they couldn’t leave their homes because of the paving.

    Here’s the problem:
    The same thing happened to my girfriend and a bunch of our neighbors months prior. I know for a fact that they had not put out signs the night before, and so did my neighbors. The job foreman said “well, ahhh, we went around and knocked on people’s doors this mornin and told them we were workin. Maybe a bunch of kids ripped them down last night or somethin..” BS!!

    Tried filing a hearing form with the tow truck company and never heard back from them. I’m going to try and do the same this time around, and one of the neighbors and I swapped numbers, but I don’t know what else to do. It IS NOT uncommon for the guys who do the construction to fail in their posting of the No Parking Signs.

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