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Dear LAist, '2 Hour Parking, 8 AM to 6 PM' Signs Don't Match Meter Hours, What Do I Do?

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A sign and a nearby parking meter on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks

For years us Angelenos have been trained when the clock strikes six, we're free from parking tix. But now that the city standard for enforceable parking times has been pushed back later into the day, our human habit ways are out of whack.

Last night in Sherman Oaks, a cursory street poll found that people didn't pay at meters enforced until 8 p.m. with signs above saying "2 Hour Parking, 8 AM to 6 PM."

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"I thought we didn't have to pay after 6 p.m.?" one bemused woman questioned. She pointed to the sign noting the "8 AM to 6 PM" text. Then I pointed the meter text out. "Ohhhhhhh. I'm glad I didn't get a ticket," she said relieved.

Ohhhhh yeah, indeed. The problem in this case is that after 6 p.m., there is no posted restriction on how long you can park there. In theory, if it's a Friday night when the same meters are enforced to 12 a.m., you're free to park there for more than 2 hours after 6 p.m., provided that you keep feeding the meter. It's just that with no sign telling you this directly, this situation feels rather ambiguous at the moment.

And ambiguous it is. The Department of Transportation is not ticketing people in these situations just yet, but they're not going to stop you from paying after 6 p.m. in the meantime. "The hours on the meter insert will eventually be enforced," explained Bruce Gilman of LADOT. "Once we're able to switch out the signage that's posted, they will be enforced. It would be inappropriate [to ticket] without the new signs."

What happened is that the department swapped out on inside on the meter faster than the signs. "Ideally we wanted to do it together, but we got a little ahead of ourselves," Gilman said. He warned that new signs are being installed and most all limits--the standard is two hours--will remain exactly the same, but will reflect the new enforcable hours.

So what's the moral of the story here? Read everything and pay attention. Those signs are coming soon and and a new life in LA, like it or not, is coming.

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