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TIGER BEAT NEW TEAM TOWS THE LINE SQUAD BEGINS STRICTER ENFORCEMENT OF PARKING LAWS.

Byline: RICK ORLOV Staff Writer

Kicking off a tough parking enforcement program called the Tiger Team, city officials pledged Monday to aggressively cite and tow illegally parked cars and to toughen penalties.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other city officials watched as two cars were towed from the busy mid-Wilshire intersection where they held a news conference to announce the program.

``I made a pledge during the campaign to make improving traffic one of my top priorities,'' Villaraigosa said. ``This is one more step. We have more officers at traffic intersections, we are synchronizing lights and now we're doing this.''

The Tiger Team will be made up of 10 traffic officers and 15 tow trucks that will patrol the 14-mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica. The officers will work 7-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m., citing cars that park illegally in the curb lane and deploying tow trucks to remove them.

``The Tiger Team will be on the prowl,'' Villaraigosa said.

The enforcement effort, costing $600,000 to start, will eventually be expanded to other areas of the city, Villaraigosa said.

``We want to bring this anywhere there's a problem,'' Villaraigosa said. ``We started it on Wilshire Boulevard because more than 120,000 cars use the street each day and gridlock develops during rush hours if cars don't obey the traffic signs.''

The cost of a traffic ticket is now $65, with towing costs adding $144 plus $33 in storage fees each day.

But Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, chairwoman of the City Council's Transportation Committee, said she wants to double or triple the fines.

``We are going to be harsh,'' Greuel said. ``These should hurt so people know it's not OK to be a jerk and ignore the law.''

rick.orlov(at)dailynews.com

(213) 978-0390

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 6, 2006
Words:304
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