Tuesday, February 7, 2012
BY THE WAY
Hey, Charlie: Tell Your Officers To Move Their Cars
By JO-ANN W. GRACE
Parking spaces on Fourth street in the civic center may be dominated by cars carrying handicapped placards as recent news reports have highlighted, but Second and Spring streets are home to LAPD cars—lots of them.
Taxpayers spent millions of dollars constructing the new Los Angeles Police Department headquarters building on First and Spring streets with substantial underground parking. They also paid for a multi-level LAPD parking structure half a block away on Main Street. Yet, recently four of the six metered parking spaces on the Spring Street side of our building, located at the corner of Second and Spring streets, were taken by LAPD patrol cars. A few months ago, all of the parking spaces on Second Street side were taken. There was not one spot left for any of our tenants’ customers.
Not only do the police cars park free at the meters, precluding ordinary citizens from easy access to the surrounding businesses, they force people into higher priced lots. In areas with “market-priced meters” as spaces fill up, they can actually raise the rates being charged at the remaining available spaces. (We are in a proposed test zone for these new meters.) If that were not enough, the LAPD cars have been taking over load zones and no parking red zones.
Last Wednesday, two LAPD cars parked in front of our building. One was at a meter and the other pulled into a red zone at the corner…although a metered space was available three cars down. I was crossing the street as the patrol car pulled into the red zone. Although I called to them, the officers apparently didn’t hear me. They headed off, on foot, east on the south side of 2nd street. I didn’t follow them so I must assume they crossed over to the LAPD building at the end of the block and weren’t just stopping for lunch at the pizza parlor several doors down.
About a half hour later I saw the red zone parkers as they returned to their car. I queried whether the officers could provide the name or telephone number for the watch commander at the LAPD headquarters. Another officer had told me earlier that the commander was the person to whom to address my concerns.
No luck. These officers were from Rampart division. The driver didn’t have a card but kindly gave me the telephone number to call at Rampart to get the information I sought.
I called. The conversation became annoyingly bizarre.
Could they provide the name and telephone number for the watch commander at LAPD headquarters?
No, was the response. There was no name or number available for the watch commander at LAPD headquarters.
Okay. Could they provide any telephone number for someone who might assist me with a parking problem involving police cars?
“Call City Hall.”
I opined that it did not make sense to call my city council representative to complain about parking patterns of LAPD cars. I asked if the officer could provide any telephone number for LAPD headquarters.
“No, I don’t have a number.”
I repeated myself. “You have no telephone number for LAPD headquarters?”
I recount this conversation from my notes and to the best of my recollection. I was left with the distinct impression that if they ever heard of Charlie Beck, they certainly didn’t have his telephone number.
SPEAKING OF PARKING PROBLEMS –Sunday, Feb. 12, the city Department of Transportation will be testing new green paints on the bike lane on Spring street. The lane, opened Nov. 21 of last year, is already shabby despite its infrequent use. People who have already purchased their monthly parking on the west side of Spring Street have been told they will have no access from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is suggested they move their car to another lot. DOT has not indicated who will be reimbursing them for the cost.
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company