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LA Parking Tickets Are Back After A Pandemic Hiatus. Here's What You Need To Know.

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A street sweeping parking ticket. Ticketing resumed in Los Angeles (city) on October 15. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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For Angelenos, parking is always top of mind in the classic how-do-I-interpret-this-compicated-parking-sign-in-way-that-will-spare-me-a-$100-ticket way.

The pandemic initially had the potential to compound all of this, as residents not deemed essential workers were (and still are) urged to work and stay at home.

To help, the city and county offered some relief, by suspending ticketing, making it easier for all the folks staying at home, to park at home without getting a stack of dreaded envelopes on their windshields.

But all good things must end. Parking tickets are now ramping back up, with a few notable post-stay-at-home changes.

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Here's where things stand now in the city and county of L.A.

L.A. COUNTY

This is confusing, but bear with us. If you live in L.A. County, you might think cool, this applies to me but here's the glitch: There are many cities in L.A. County (88, to be precise). Think: West Hollywood or Santa Monica. Each of those 88 cities has their own parking rules.

L.A. County's parking rules only affect you if you live in an unincorporated area. Confused? You can find out if you live in one by looking at this map; specific area names are also laid out in this list.

More than 65% of L.A. County is unincorporated. A lot of these areas are more rural, like Angeles National Forest and Topanga State Park... or even off-the-beaten-path places like Catalina Island (where most people drive golf carts, we hear). But there are also more populated areas that make up unincorporated L.A. County like:

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  • Altadena
  • East Los Angeles (including Belvedere Gardens, City Terrace and Eastmont)
  • Ladera Heights
  • Valencia
  • Baldwin Hills

Parking enforcement in unincorporated L.A. is managed by the L.A. Sheriff's Department, not the L.A. Department of Transportation (which is a city department).

The Sheriff's Department stopped most parking enforcement in spring 2020, when local and state officials issued pandemic related stay-at-home orders.

But starting April 1, the county will resume enforcing all parking violations in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. That includes tickets for:

  • Staying too long in a time-limited zone
  • Parking without a permit in permit zones
  • Letting your meter expire
  • Having expired registration
  • Street sweeping

Red tag warnings will be issued to vehicles parked illegally... The county describes it this way: "Red tag warnings will be issued to vehicles parked within the public right-of-way not displaying signs of movement, such as excessive dirt, spider webs, and debris underneath and around the tires, flat tires, missing parts, and vandalism."
Towing will also resume.

CITY OF L.A.

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The city of Los Angeles also dialed back parking enforcement near the start of the pandemic. But they resumed issuing tickets sooner than the county, back in October 2020.

City spokesperson Colin Sweeney confirmed that all parking regulations in L.A. (city) are now back to what they were in the before-times.

The city did, however, throw beleaguered residents a bone, switching street sweeping to every other week, on March 1, 2021, instead of every week.

Why? Because of pandemic-related staff reductions.

So which weeks are on and which are off? City officials say that those affected can sign up for email notifications for move-your-car reminders at www.streetsla.lacity.org/sweeping. The site also has a map with days/times, searchable by street.

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However, the author of this article did sign up for reminders a few weeks ago and has not received a single notification email... several other LAist readers have reported similar experiences.

We have reached out to the The Bureau of Street Services -- which manages street sweeping -- about this.

Another change: The city has issued some new citation payment programs that were not in effect pre-pandemic, including:

  • Early Pay Program: Gives residents discounts of $20 per ticket (if you pay within 48 hours).
  • Unemployment Penalty Waiver Program: If you lost your job during the pandemic, this program will (temporarily) remove parking penalties.

For more info on the above visit https://www.ladotparking.org/adjudication-division/pay-a-citation/.

READ MORE ABOUT PARKING HELL

Megan Nguyen contributed to this story.

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