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'TIGERS' ON PROWL FOR PARKING VIOLATORS.

Byline: Staff and Wire Services

The city's second "gridlock tiger team" was unleashed in the San Fernando Valley on Monday morning, ticketing and towing vehicles along an 8 1/2-mile stretch of Ventura Boulevard.

Tiger Team II, composed of five Department of Transportation traffic control officers and three tow trucks, will prowl Ventura from the San Diego Freeway to Topanga Canyon Boulevard to enforce existing parking laws and keep traffic moving during early morning rush hour.

"Every morning, commuters deal with the frustration of bottlenecked and gridlocked traffic," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "With this team in action, the commute along Ventura Boulevard will be a little easier for Valley residents."

In July, the City Council approved heftier fines for motorists who park in 23 so-called "anti-gridlock zones" during rush hour.

The fine for parking in a red zone typically is $65, but the ordinance hiked the fine to $140 for motorists who illegally park in red zones during peak commuting times. A second offense costs violators $290.

Jenny Dalir, who works at an investment firm in Tarzana, thinks rush-hour ticketing and towing might help alleviate drivers' frustration on the busy boulevard.

"That would be great because I think lots of people don't like (that people park illegally)," Dalir said.

Villaraigosa unleashed the first tiger team along a 14-mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard in June, resulting in tickets for more than 17,000 drivers and about 5,100 towed vehicles, according to the Mayor's Office.

Not everybody is thrilled with the news, though.

McKenzie Volpone admitted she has occasionally parked illegally in the early morning -- but for good reason.

"From 6 to 7, traffic hasn't really started yet," Volpone said. "Starbucks is just opening. You need that fix of coffee."

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has a fun moment as he holds up a parking sign during a news conference at the corner of Ventura and Sepulveda boulevards in Sherman Oaks on Monday. With him are City Council members Wendy Greuel and Jack Weiss, to his left, and general manager of the L.A. Department of Transportation Gloria Jeff, right.

John Lazar/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 24, 2007
Words:357
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