Monthly Archives: February 2012

Fighting Back Against The Parking Violations Bureau

In Los Angeles, there’s easily no individual more feared than the dreaded parking attendant.

The ubiquity and general persistence of these people infuriates Angelenos of all types. Lately there’s been a growing dissatisfaction with the deteriorating service at the LA Parking Violations Bureau. The problems seem to go beyond just a few disgruntled people complaining about tickets. There’s now a real grassroots push to get the agency to become more efficient, transparent, and most of all friendly. The Los Angeles Times published a story detailing how one local man has decided to take matters into his own hands.

Atwater Village resident Jeff Galfer has become so fed up with the way the bureau operates that he’s begun his own campaign against what he calls a “badly run” organization. He’s gone as far as to file a class action lawsuit against the PVB, detailing the ways in which him and his petitioners have been scammed. The problem seems to stem from a departmental lack of accountability.

His beef is that the parking bureau refuses to admit when it messes up. The tales of appeal runarounds are too widespread to ignore…What really galls the bureau’s critics is its lack of transparency. The Los Angeles Parking Violations Bureau’s operations have been outsourced to a private contractor…

Galfer is still trying to figure out why the crucial services of this organization are being given to non-responsive third parties. The city maintains that it’s doing a fine job of handling LA’s parking revenue, but there are clearly some discrepancies. It remains to be seen whether public outcry will be able to help orchestrate change within the mighty PVB. Stay Tuned

Photo Courtesy of Yelp 

Perfect Parallel Parking

Guest Post By Mark Braibanti

I have a love/hate relationship with parallel parking. Usually I get excited when the perfect parking spot opens up right in front of my destination. All of my attention immediately focuses on the task at hand. Its time to show off my years of practice to the world.

Last week I ended up in a sticky situation. It was the peak of rush hour and I was late for an important dinner. To my surprise, there was a parking spot right in front of the restaurant where I was headed to. Cars began piling up on the crowded one-way street as they saw my turn signal and reverse lights come on. At that moment nothing else mattered; it was my time to shine.

I slowly start to back up, carefully cutting the steering wheel and entering into the space. Everything seemed to be going great. I was mere seconds away from the perfect parking job but then disaster struck. I hit the curb.

No luck. I wouldn’t fit. The cars behind me began to honk and onlookers inside the restaurant smiled and pointed at me. Failure. I drove away defeated and ended up paying nearly $20 for parking several blocks away.

Parallel parking is a a daunting task for some, but for others it is a chance to prove their skills behind the wheel. Oddly enough, many cities aren’t even testing this skill on prospective drivers. The DMV in Washington DC recently admitted as much, revealing they don’t do parallel parking on exams “due to site constraints.”  The Washington Examiner looks at this trend within the district.

“It’s startling to say the least,” said Maryland resident Hasan Solomon after squeezing his Ford Explorer into a tight spot along New Jersey Avenue. “It should be a mandatory part of the exam. I think you can look at back bumpers and front bumpers and see the effects.”

Not everyone has problems parallel parking. Simon Blackburn, a mathematician at the University of London,  recently calculated the “Formula For Perfect Parallel Parking.” The study was highlighted in a recent NPR story. Unfortunately, not everyone keeps a protractor and calculator handy in their cars. Some just
make it look easy with pure driving skills:

 Perfect Parallel Parking Perfect Parallel Parking

A simple YouTube search for “parallel parking” shows that people enjoy sharing the triumphs and travails of this practice. There’s no denying that parallel parking is a globally shared experience. Here are a few of my favorite video clips:

The Good:

The Bad:

The Best:




Entering The Traffic Time Machine

“…Every motorist who fights his way into the heart of a city feels entitled to a hero’s reward: A parking place.”

A rather remarkable piece of transportation footage was recently discovered in the Metro’s historical archives, and its implications are still being widely felt today.

The video, produced in the 1950’s by General Motors, delves into the exploding auto revolution and how it affected the infrastructures of America’s greatest cities. It asserts that our nations forefathers/urban planners failed to take into consideration the arrival of the motored vehicle, and as a result left our city streets woefully incomplete and unprepared to handle the wave of new cars. This proved to be highly problematic to the less than accommodating thoroughfares.

Urban planners put forth some pretty drastic ideas to help alleviate new congestion concerns in downtown cores. Some of these solutions included gutting on-street parking altogether to create more space for drivers. PIM is glad it didn’t come to that. Please enjoy this fascinating trip through the traffic time machine…

Photo Courtesy of The Nifty Fifties