Tag Archives: los angeles parking

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Parking & Streets in Los Angeles

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LA Established 1781

Upon moving here I realized that the driveways and roadways are anorexic. Seriously, they are symbolic of the actresses here in that they are really skinny. I did a walk around my neighborhood near The Grove. I took my tape measure with me. Most driveways I found were 8 feet to 9 feet wide. That’s it. They are 96 to 108 inches wide. Most cars occupy about 7 feet wide of space. So basically on the 8 foot driveway you have 6 inches on each side.

I measured my car’s width and it was 7 feet mirror to mirror. The offstreet parking I was given was 96 inches wide. So this means I had 6 inches on each side to get out of the car. Needless to say I don’t park my car there.

Now, some of the carports I saw for multi-unit buildings had 9 feet wide spaces. Just be sure when apartment hunting you know the width of your car and the space you get to park your car. Off-street parking is at a premium here in Los Angeles.

Why? It is because the streets are skinny. They are 30 feet wide like in my neighborhood. If you subtract parking for 2 cars at 7 feet each, you have 16 feet for two cars to pass in traffic. What happens here is that a car will pull behind a parked car in a safe space to let another car go by and then you can be on your merry way. This is common here. Not all streets are as skinny as mine. I have seen some residential neighborhoods with wider streets.

Visual of how LA streets are constructed

Visual of how LA streets are constructed

Another note is that there is a regulation that says you can’t park more than 18 inches off the curb.  With these skinny streets it is truly in your best interests to park as close to the curb as you can.  That does become an art form again of parking.

Now because I can’t park in my own space I have to park on the street. This comes with its challenges. In my neighborhood we have street sweeping. Well in most neighborhoods we have street sweeping. It varies what day and time by neighborhood. This is a very necessary thing for Los Angeles because of the limited amount of rainfall we receive. Most stuff on the streets just sits there until the sweeper truck comes by.

My parking spot

In my neighborhood the street sweeping days are Monday and Tuesday between 12 and 3. Because of this, parking becomes a game of musical chairs. We have to vacate the side of the street that is being swept from 12-3 on those days. So if you work from home like I do, it’s essential that you get a “good” spot on Monday and wait until 3 to get a good spot on the opposite side. This is my weekly ritual. As I type this, it’s Tuesday around 2:30. In about 20 minutes I’ll move my car to the other side until next week.

Clearly states the day & time you can't park

Clearly states the day & time you can’t park

If you get caught on the wrong side of the street for street sweeping days you will get a nice $78 parking ticket. Parking is one of the ways Los Angeles pays its bills. They are trying to improve it but it still a moneymaker.

To parking in general, this is the norm everywhere. If you go to business areas of town, every space has a meter. There is no free parking anywhere. Thankfully most all meters can take credit cards. Add to this, you must be proficient at parallel parking your vehicle. This is an art form and some people do it well and others not so much. Sometimes I do it well and sometimes not.

LA parking meter

For myself, if I’m within a 2-mile radius of where I want to go, I will use Lyft or walk there instead of parking. Why? Because of the traffic and the parking.