Palisades Residents Threatened With Parking Tickets

By Sarah Stockman 
Staff Writer

Two weeks ago, Pacific Palisades resident Mike Montgomery was going through his morning routine when his wife called him from her car, frantic.

Montgomery says that she was listening to NPR and heard a story about changing parking rules in the city. “We have a problem,” she told him.

A recent change in parking enforcement policy makes it illegal to park on parkways, the public land between the street and the sidewalk.

Montgomery and his wife live on Sunset Boulevard between the east and west entrances of Marquez Avenue (which loops). There is limited street parking on westbound Sunset, so the Montgomerys and their neighbors use the grass, dirt or gravel parkways in front of their houses.

The new no-parking policy, which was approved by the Los Angeles City Council in June, went into effect in August. According to an Aug. 9 Los Angeles Times article, Los Angeles officials are cracking down on a “wave of renegade parking across the city.”

“From what we know, it’s not about the Palisades,” Montgomery told the News. “It’s about Koreatown and Westwood and areas that are largely multi-family.”

Ticketing began in the city the third week in August after residents were notified earlier in the month of the changes. Montgomery knows of one neighbor who received a parking ticket. None of the Sunset residents were notified that this change had occurred.

Sunset residents (near Marquez) who park on parkways, the public land between the street and the sidewalk, may be ticketed. Photo: Matthew Stockman

This is the second time in 10 years the city has tried to enact a law that limits parking on parkways. The first time was in 2011, and it greatly affected residents along Sunset between both ends of Marquez Avenue.

“One Saturday afternoon our neighbors knocked on our door and said, ‘They’re ticketing every car,’” Montgomery recalled. “We got three tickets [because] we had a couple people over, one from out of state.”

By the end of the day, everybody living along that stretch of Sunset had a $62 ticket “with no warning whatsoever,” Montgomery said. [No stopping or parking is allowed on this stretch of Sunset eastbound.]

Montgomery immediately called Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office and worked with Rosendahl to secure a stay of execution for Palisades residents.

An October 19, 2011 letter to residents from Jaime de la Vega, general manager of the Department of Transportation, stated that “Per [the Koretz-Rosendahl motion] and the advice of the Office of the City Attorney . . . LADOT is not issuing parking citations . . . for parking on a driveway apron.”

Montgomery thought the issue was resolved until a few weeks ago when the new city council ruling went into effect. Since then he has been parking his car on Bollinger Drive, although it’s proving problematic.

“I was parking on Bollinger and walking home,” Montgomery said,“ but that even posed challenges because one Monday night I was parking in front of a house just across the street from the preschool and the guy came out and said, ‘Hey, I’m sorry to do this but I’ve got to put my trashcans there.’ With such limited parking, what are our options? Where do we go?”

One of Montgomery’s neighbors, Cece Webb, moved to her home on Sunset five years ago, a year after the parking issue was “resolved.” She was surprised and concerned after receiving a call from Montgomery about being unable to park on her parkway.

“We can only park one car at our house because we have a narrow driveway,” Webb said. “Our minivan, which is what the kids ride in, is too long to turn around down there [so] we park along the parkway.”

Her biggest concern if she’s not allowed to utilize the parkway in front of her house is that it could endanger the lives of her kids, who are two, four and five.

“If I can’t park in front, I technically could park on Sunset a couple houses down either way . . . [but] we’re on a blind curve and cars coming around the curve don’t expect cars to be parked there,” Webb said. “[And], there’s no sidewalk so I’d be walking with kids across other people’s lawns.” Another option is for her to park across Sunset on Arno Way, but then she’d have to cross four lanes of fast-moving traffic with three kids in tow.

Montgomery has submitted a letter and a motion to Councilmember Mike Bonin’s office to allow Palisades residents to be exempt from this new policy. According to his spokeswoman Jamarah Hayner, the Bonin team is looking into the matter.

“As the new regulations begin to take effect, Councilmember Bonin’s office is working with LADOT on an education-first model [and] we will be doing outreach to residents to clarify the new regulations before any enforcement tickets are given,” Hayner said.“It is also important to note that residents and visitors can still legally park in driveway aprons, as long as their cars do not protrude into the streets or sidewalks.”

Hayner also said,“ We are consulting with the city attorney’s office as to the legality of any proposed amendment . . . and will update constituents as those conversations progress.”

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