Drivers lucky enough to find a parking space along a popular commercial stretch of Los Angeles' Larchmont Boulevard will no longer have to search for a pay station and remember their space number.
City officials this week removed 16 pay stations between 1st Street and Beverly Boulevard that drew complaints from unhappy motorists who struggled with the machines and said they were ticketed while waiting in line to pay. In place of the pay stations, street parking spots now have individual meters that officials say will simplify parking and eliminate accidental tickets.
"Technology has advanced," said Daniel Mitchell, a senior engineer at the Transportation Department. "We have equipment with bigger screens, that take credit cards, without the hassle of standing in line."
A similar conversion occurred in Studio City in May and is being considered for more of the city's 320 remaining pay stations, most located in high-traffic areas such as downtown, Hollywood and Westwood.
It's the latest in a series of upgrades aimed at improving the city's street parking program, officials said.
"No more remembering your parking spot number as you go to pay," said Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district includes Larchmont.
When the 4-foot-tall pay stations were installed in 2008, they were considered state-of-the-art systems that accepted credit cards and served up to a dozen curbside spaces.
But in response to complaints about improper ticketing, the Transportation Department had to run special computer checks each night to compare station payments with citations, Mitchell said.
All of the city's 38,000 parking meters now accept credit cards, and this year plastic surpassed cash as the main form of payment.
Pay stations are expected to remain at 95 city parking lots, Mitchell said.