Robert Fox on Parking Tickets

Posted by Robert Fox for Long Beach on Friday, February 14, 2020

We need to reduce parking fines to a reasonable amount.  With the overcrowding of Alamitos Beach and adjacent neighborhoods, parking is now considered a cost of owning or renting.  Your rent simply covers your housing, but parking citations have to be factored into your monthly budget.  You may not be able to afford to live in Long Beach when you are confronted with more than $100.00 in parking tickets per month.   Let’s reduce these fees to assist people to live within their already stretched budgets.

In the budget hearings each year, the City wants more and more revenue.  Invariably, Staff recommends upping the parking tickets to increase revenue generation.   We have to stop this and reverse this trend.  Parking tickets for the most part are a feature of Downtown Long Beach, and the 2nd District, while the dense 1st District also is impacted.  These neighborhoods are not populated by the wealthy.  Certainly some of the people moving into our new high rises in Downtown can afford parking tickets, but those new constructions took into account parking as a part of their approval process.  So when we are talking about parking citations, we are really talking about low to moderate income citizens bearing the brunt of this revenue stream, arbitrarily assessed upon them. 

There are close to 30,000 residents in Alamitos Beach Neighborhood.  The area was developed more than a century ago, and no parking was required in the sleepy tourist town.  We have 8 to 16 unit buildings throughout Alamitos Beach with absolutely no parking.  All of these units are occupied by hard working people who need a car to get to work to pay the rent.  They are already paying a premium rent, so adding on 3 or 4 tickets per month due to lack of parking is more than a minor burden.   This problem extends across the 2nd District, although not quite a severe in Bluff Heights and Carroll Park, but it is still an issue.  With the removal of parking on Broadway, our neighbors and businesses are further impacted. Just where did the City think employees of Broadway businesses would park?  There is no dedicated lot or structure for them. 

The 1st District is also parking impacted with 47 unit buildings with no parking.  These are not “high end” apartments so the tenants suffer every month due to parking tickets.  The City has to understand that these people do not have a choice, they must park somewhere and if they cannot park within a relatively short distance from their apartments and homes, it is dangerous.  We must protect our people first, not fund a bloated budget on the backs of these people. 

Just for explanation, other neighborhoods in the City are parking impacted like Belmont Shores or North Long Beach, their difficulties are the same as ours.   This is a City-wide issue.  Parking Citations have become unrelated to mere parking enforcement, they have now become a revenue stream that the City sucks dollars from. 

Why is this discriminatory?   The entire East Side of the City is residential with garages, long driveways, and plenty of street parking.  In those neighborhoods people can give parties and events and not worry about where their guests are going to park. 

In Alamitos Beach it is almost impossible to host a social gathering of friends who do not live right next door.  No one drives off at night for fear of losing their parking space.  Due to parking citations our people become prisoners in their own homes.  So is the intention of the City to make a holding area for low to moderate income people, or have they just not noticed the consequences of these Parking Citation Policies. 

To add injury to insult, the new Broadway Diet has all sorts of designs on the street, that even according to the Acting Traffic Engineer, Carl Hickman, they don’t know what they are for.  Yet Parking enforcement is writing tickets for parking in these weird designs.   How is it even legal to cite someone for parking in a space when the City doesn’t know what they designate.

I believe this proves that the City doesn’t have a grip on the real issues facing our people.   We need a fierce advocate to change this discriminatory and onerous parking citation program.

If we are not vigilant, the City will raise the parking fees to the State Maximum $110.00 a ticket.   We need not only to stop these never-ending increases, but reverse the trend and make this City citizen friendly and responsive.