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County / IN BRIEF : LOS ANGELES : Post-Quake Parking Reprieve Is Ended

January 27, 1994

Start saving your quarters, dimes and nickels to feed the parking meters. Authorities will begin citing parking violators again, now that a week and a half has passed since the Northridge earthquake.

Since the quake, frazzled Angelenos could at least rest easy in the knowledge that parking enforcement officers were not issuing citations for cars parked at expired meters.

The laws were "suspended by Mother Nature," said Robert Yates, general manager of the city's Department of Transportation.

But City Councilman Nate Holden instructed parking officials Wednesday to go back to regular enforcement, except in areas around shelters, disaster application centers and collapsed parking structures.

"If you do the crime, you should do the time," said Holden, chairman of the council's Transportation Committee.

After last week's temblor, parking enforcement officers halted most citation duties to focus on traffic control at intersections where traffic signals had been knocked out of service, Yates said.

"It's not that we suspended (parking enforcement); it's that we didn't have the people to do it," Holden said.

But they didn't sanction parking anarchy. The most essential laws were still enforced, including rules against parking by fire hydrants and at curb spaces needed to make room for peak-hour traffic lanes on such roads as Olympic, Pico and Sunset boulevards.

The reprieve came to motorists who parked at metered spaces and at curbs that set parking limits to allow for street sweeping.

The number of parking tickets issued by the city dropped from about 10,000 on an average day to about 3,000 daily after the quake, Yates said. That amounts to a loss of about $100,000 in fines daily.

It's the drop in revenue that prompted Holden to take action.

"That is the revenue we need to balance the budget," he said. "If you put money in the meters, we get it."

In the next few days, Holden said, the city will put up signs in areas where parking regulations are not being enforced.

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