Thursday, January 17, 2013
How City Hall Uses Downtown LA Drivers and Pedestrians To Balance The City's Budget Deficit!
KCET's blog has a story on how one man (Fred Prator) - after years of abuse - finally got the mysterious - and the only - 'no-right-hand-turn on a red light' sign in Downtown LA removed from the corner of 7th and Broadway.
But it took 15 years for this injustice to be righted and Prator calculates this may have illegally cost LA drivers around $15 million dollars. And if that figure is even remotely correct- then all of the traffic scams the city has been running in Downtown may have cost people who live and work in Downtown hundreds of millions of dollars in the past 15 years.
Even today, we are probably the only neighborhood with our own personal transit cop who does nothing but ride a bike around a couple blocks of Main and Spring to cite anyone whose parking meter is even a minute over.
We even used to have regular police officers on foot - hidden away on corners all day - when the area was still almost wall to wall drug dealers - to ticket anyone who stepped into a cross walk even a second after the don't walk signal started flashing. And some of those signals were set to start flashing just seconds after the light had turned green - and long before they were needed to allow people to safely cross before the light turned red. And there are still the mid-block signaled cross walks that are NOT synchronized with the signals at the major intersections so that when the street is clear of vehicles - even if you have pushed the button - the light will still not turn green.
And we still have police officers measuring how far a car is parked from the curb at 1 and 2 in the morning - and then giving them tickets - even though the cars are parked well within the white lines of where parking is allowed. But it's not the LAPD's fault. All the orders to do this come straight from City Hall to fill the City's ever growing structural deficit.
Another con game has been the removal of loading zones around busy office buildings - making it impossible for Fed-Ex and UPS to deliver packages without getting dozens of tickets every day - while, of course, government post office truck don't get tickets. And, of course, the people who work in those buildings also get tickets whenever they try to load anything into or out of their offices.
But the single biggest rip-off is all the phony no parking lanes during rush hour. Many of them have tow-away lanes TWO HOURS before they are needed during rush hour and some of the tow away lanes in Historic Downtown - don't even to be cleared during rush hour.
Those signs are also often hidden - or even removed - so you can't see them and then the city changes the times on some of them so that it's 4 PM on one block and then 3 PM on another block - to confuse drivers. And there is never any warning or notice when they make those changes, since that would defeat the whole purpose of those changes.
And then there are the ever expanding number of hours the parking meters are - again without any notice to the public that this has happened - and lack of notice on when the meters are NOT working - to further confuse people into paying for parking when no payment is required. And - of course - if you park at a broken meter that can not accept money - you will also get a ticket.
And that's just some of the worst of the many scams City Hall has used - and continues to use - to extract money from Downtown drivers and pedestrians.