Many things in Los Angeles have returned to the way they were before the pandemic. That includes the number of parking citations being slapped across windshields in the city.
In 2022, the city surpassed more than 2 million parking tickets dispensed—the first time eclipsing that level since 2017. Altogether, 2,014,088 citations were written, according to publicly available Department of Transportation data. That is a 14.3% increase over the previous year.
It marks a 31.5% increase over COVID-ravaged 2020.
The arrival of the coronavirus prompted a major change in ticketing practices in the city. With Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Safer at Home order in effect, the Department of Transportation relaxed enforcement of many neighborhood parking rules, such as the requirement to move a vehicle on street cleaning days. The impact was immediate. Whereas in February 2020 almost 195,000 tickets were written, in April just 44,550 were issued.
Activity began to increase toward the end of that year and into 2021, though it largely stayed below pre-pandemic levels, with approximately 150,000 citations issued each month. Another factor contributed to the lower figures—a labor crunch. In October 2021, Crosstown reported that the LADOT had a 23% vacancy rate among parking enforcement workers, equating to 76 open positions.
Many spots were soon filled. By January 2022 there were just 26 open traffic officer jobs.
Ticket rates were higher in 2022, peaking at almost 194,000 citations in March. Numbers have generally been declining since August, when about 180,000 tickets were given out.
Beware of street cleaning signs
According to Department of Transportation data, by far the greatest number of tickets were written for parking in street-cleaning zones. There were 487,576 of these citations in 2022, representing 24.2% of the total.
The second most common infraction was for an expired meter, which generated 289,999 citations.
The most common fine last year was $73; a total of 571,298 were for this amount. Another 337,161 citations cost vehicle owners $93.
As anyone who has tried to find a street spot in Venice knows, parking in the neighborhood comes at great risk—the two blocks in Los Angeles with the highest number of tickets issued in 2022 were both in the community. Tops, according to Department of Transportation data, was the 3,376 citations issued in the 1600 block of Irving Tabor Court. The second most common spot was the 1300 block of Electric Avenue, where 2,983 tickets were given.
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Unlucky Honda owners
Certain types of vehicles received many more citations than others, though it does not mean that ticket writers had an agenda—this reflects the most commonly driven cars.
In 2022, 331,306 tickets were placed on Toyotas, more than any other make, according to Department of Transportation data. Hondas, also seen everywhere on the streets of Los Angeles, had the second highest count, with 235,702 tickets.
There were 459,157 tickets for white cars in the city last year, which equates to 22.8% of the total. According to a report last October by Iseecars.com, 30.1% of all vehicles registered in Los Angeles are white.
How we did it: We examined publicly available parking citation data from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation from Jan. 1, 2015–Dec. 31, 2022. Learn more about our data here. Or write to us at email@example.com.