Parking in the center lane on Larchmont is not legal

| June 1, 2023 | 0 Comments

You can get a ticket and a point on your license

SHOPPERS AND ERRAND-DOERS illegally park in the center lane on Larchmont Boulevard. Photo by Alan Wolovitch

MULTIPLE CARS and a delivery truck block the middle turning lane on the Boulevard.

Recently, there has been much talk and annoyance about people parking in the center (turning) lane on Larchmont Boulevard, especially between Beverly Boulevard and First Street.The Larchmont Chronicle decided to find out if it’s legal.

The short answer is “no.” Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) West Traffic Sgt. Jeremy Duncan, who has about 20 years of service, says, “by definition, the center lane [on Larchmont] is a two-way left turn lane.” The lane can be utilized to make left turns, not U-turns. So if you see a parking space on the opposite side of the street or you want to pull into a parking lot, use the turning lane. But parking in the center lane is illegal.

LAPD works in tandem with Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) parking enforcement officers. According to LADOT clerk Aldo Andrade, who has worked  for Los Angeles parking enforcement for 15 years, “Parking in the center lane is a hazardous technique; the lane is not for any kind of parking.” This includes delivery trucks.

Armando Vegas, a FedEx driver for one year, says he knows it’s illegal, and he does it anyway. He parks in the center lane daily. “I’ve gotten tickets and been bothered by the parking attendants, but there aren’t any other options. Also, I don’t pay for the tickets.”

The fine for parking in the center lane is $63. It’s considered double parking. Sgt. Duncan commented that LAPD can have a vehicle towed and impounded if parked in the center lane.

Windsor Square resident Julie Kim comes to Larchmont frequently. She was parked in the center lane when I spoke with her. She didn’t realize it was against the law to park there. She thought that — if it was just for a few minutes, especially if she waited in the car — it was okay. She said she does it because “Every time I come to town it’s difficult to park.”

In actuality, by staying in the car, you could receive a moving violation from LAPD “for impeding traffic, minimum speed law” according to Sgt. Duncan. This ticket can also come with a point on your license.

Another woman, who was parked in the center lane, also said she didn’t know it was illegal. She works nearby and was dropping a package off at FedEx. She thought the store would have a short-term parking space in front.

Many people who visit the Boulevard find the cars in the center lane to be annoying and dangerous. Heidi, of Larchmont Village, said the worst part about having the cars parked in the middle is when pedestrians walk in between the cars and then pop out into the lane while you’re driving. She finds it alarming and disconcerting to suddenly see someone in the middle of the street.

Many proclaim that parking is difficult on Larchmont Boulevard, especially when the Farmers’ Market takes up one of the city lots. Trucks from vendors and cars from customers are perpetually parked in the center lane.

If you are lucky enough to score a metered spot along the Boulevard, of course you should take it. Brian Terr of Ridgewood-Wilton says, “I don’t begrudge the people waiting for spots, you just need to be able to get around them.” If the turning lane is filled with parked cars, Terr continues, “You can never get around the cars waiting for a spot.”

Polly Estabrook, of Windsor Square, said cars parked in the middle don’t bother her. But then added, “I rarely drive to the Boulevard because parking is such a nightmare and driving on the street is so slow, which it should be.” She walks or bikes.

Seems like this short stretch of the Boulevard has some traffic issues. Will knowing what’s lawful change drivers’ behavior?

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Category: News

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