Sidewalk Parking Opponents Gain Ground in . . . Where?

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It is hard to tell exactly where the sidewalk meets the street above, where cars dominate the streetscape and wreck the pedestrian experience. Maybe that’s what’s to be expected in Los Angeles, where the photo was taken.

As you can see, the upper row of cars are parked to straddle the curb (front wheels on the sidewalk, rear ends hanging into the street) while those in the bottom row are parked all the way on the sidewalk. None other than Michael Dukakis and Donald Shoup are waging a campaign to end this form of parking, which (guess what?) is illegal but unenforced.

Residents have turned apron parking into an intricately choreographed dance of cooperation and communication. A student attending class might leave extra keys behind so his car can be moved to let other vehicles out. Or another who vacates a spot might ask a roommate to park there until he returns. …

The prospect of losing spaces leaves students with few options.

"People are really worried," Zai said. "Students figure, ‘If I can pay for it and I have a car, I should be allowed to park here.’ That’s going to have to change."

But Dukakis believes that the changes will make the streets around the campus safer.

"You can’t get fire equipment out there. Beyond that, you can barely walk on the sidewalk," Dukakis said. "And for years, no one had done anything about it. It’s crazy."

The story contains this nugget: Dukakis found a ticket agent who refused to ticket the cars. When he suggested that the offending parkers could take the bus instead, "She looked at me like I had 10 heads or something."

(Photo by Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

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