Kelton Avenue is empty and quiet at 8 a.m. on a Friday morning. But in Westwood, this is one of the busiest times for city parking enforcement. Over the course of half an hour, a parking official patrols the street twice, and 15 cars parked along the two-block stretch of road are flagged with white parking tickets in their windshields.
Stretches of ticketed cars along the street are a common sight in the North Village, the housing area west of Gayley Avenue and north of Westwood Village, where street parking is restricted every Thursday and Friday morning because of street sweeping.
A Los Angeles Times analysis in December found the North Village was one of the most heavily ticketed neighborhoods for street sweeping in Los Angeles in 2012, with more than 15,000 citations that year. The North Village blocks on Strathmore Drive and Landfair Avenue were among the most ticketed blocks in the entire city, with 1,156 tickets on Landfair Avenue and 842 tickets on Strathmore Drive between Gayley Avenue and Veteran Avenue.
“I’ve been towed once, and I get tickets all the time,” said Madison Smith, a fifth-year sociology student residing in the North Village. “The mornings with street sweeping are the worst, because everybody’s trying to move at once.”
Some students said they think the early hours for street sweeping, which occur from 8-11 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, unfairly target students.
“The early morning hours for street sweeping seem pretty mean,” said Laurel Gregory, a third-year anthropology student. “During finals week, I got two parking tickets, one because of the two-hour limit and one because of street sweeping – and I don’t even think they cleaned the streets that day.”
Parking enforcement in the North Village still issues tickets even if street sweepers don’t clean their posted routes, according to an internal report from the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services cited by the Los Angeles Times. According to the report, the bureau said past lapses in street cleaning occurred for a variety of reasons, and they are working to improve street cleaning reliability.
Street sweeping parking tickets are $73 each – a price some students said they struggle to afford. In 2012, the city issued more than 6,100 tickets in the North Village, totaling nearly half a million dollars.
“These tickets are almost $100, and that’s like a week’s worth of food,” said Julie Campos, a fourth-year political science and philosophy student, who said she has been ticketed in the North Village several times. “It almost makes having a car not worth it.”
Some students said they are also concerned about the amount of time it can take to find street parking.
“The worst experiences I’ve had are when street cleaning comes through and you can’t find any parking,” said Rita Khatchadourian, a fourth-year mathematics/applied science student. “I’m worried that it’ll make me late for class.”
Neighborhoods surrounding the North Village all require permits to park on the street, leaving many students with few options when the parking spots near their apartments fill up. Resident parking spots in Westwood can cost up to about $100 per month, depending on the lot.
“One night, I came back from campus, and I was driving around for an hour trying to find a parking spot,” Smith said. “It adds a lot more pressure, especially during finals week.”