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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Aug 28, 2004

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

FREE METERED PARKING FOR HYBRIDS IN LOS ANGELES? By ROY NAKANO Just when you thought you've heard the last possible perk for hybrid vehicles (so far, you've heard about tax incentives, single-occupant use of the HOV lanes, and smog check waivers), Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn and Councilmember Eric Garcetti announced a new one: A proposal to make parking at city meters free for hybrid vehicles. 

"We want people to have just one more incentive - besides helping to reduce air pollution - to drive a hybrid vehicle," Mayor Hahn declared at a press conference along a busy stretch of Hollywood Boulevard.

"This pilot program would mean the end of fishing for quarters beneath the seats of your car, the end of digging in the bottom of your bag, and the end of paying a quarter to park for seven minutes...but only if you drive a hybrid," Mayor Hahn added, speaking against a backdrop of hybrid vehicles parked at city parking meters.

"This motion says to LA drivers: Don't worry locally, be happy globally," said Councilmember Garcetti. "At the same time that you can be happy you're polluting ninety percent less than other drivers, you don't have to worry about whether you just put your last quarter in a tip jar when you're parking on city streets."

The City of Los Angeles currently provides free parking at city meters for electric and natural gas cars and trucks designated as "Clean Air Vehicles" by the State's Department of Motor Vehicles. Based on the perceived success of this initiative, and in an effort to promote cleaner air, the Mayor developed a plan to extend this program to owners of hybrid vehicles for a six-month period. Councilmember Garcetti will introduce the motion in the City Council that will direct LA Department of Transportation to begin implementation of the program.

"Initially, hybrid owners will not need to do anything different to take advantage of the policy" says the Mayor. "Parking enforcement officers reportedly will be trained to recognize hybrid vehicles and will simply not cite owners of such vehicles for not paying at parking meters," according to Hahn. However, vehicle owners would still be required to comply with posted time limits. In addition, if the State of California and DMV decide to include hybrids as "Clean Air Vehicles," then hybrid owners will need to receive a sticker from the DMV to qualify for free parking, just as electric and natural gas vehicle owners currently do.

According to the City, California has twice as many hybrid as any other state, and over 4,700 hybrid vehicles were registered in Los Angeles in 2003 - more than any other city. The City of Los Angeles is currently converting its fleet to hybrid and electric vehicle, and also maintains a small fleet of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The free hybrid parking pilot will last for six months. At the end of that period, LADOT will analyze the program and make a determination of whether or not to continue the program.

"Hurry, Hurry - Get Your Hybrid Badges Here"

In response to the above article (which was originally posted on the LA Car Blog), enterprising members of wondered if they can start a cottage industry to make non-hybrid vehicles look like hybrid vehicles. The natural target of such an industry are the vast number of four-door Honda Civics in the city. A few badges, and presto! - a Honda Civic Hybrid look-alike. The Vortex's 16volt doesn't want to stop there. He wants a Hybrid Synergy Drive badge for his Volkswagen Scirroco, while Y2KRiceBoy says, "Hey, anyone want some JDM Prius/Civic hybrid badges? They work good on Navigators and H2!"  

A cottage industry in the making? 

This article originally appeared in the LA Car Blog. To go to the current Blog, click the LA Car Blog link on the homepage.  

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