The Los Angeles City Council approved a new law Tuesday that requires some markets to install systems to prevent the theft of shopping carts from store property.
The law was intended to reduce the proliferation of abandoned shopping carts on city streets and sidewalks.
The plan, approved on a 12-0 vote and sent to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, will apply only to new markets and those in which at least 50 percent of the store is being remodeled. The city Planning Department is studying ways the law can be expanded to all markets.
“It’s a massive study,” said Tom Rothmann of the code studies section of the Planning Department. “There will be thousands of stores affected.”
The law passed Tuesday applies to stores that have at least six carts. It gives them a variety of options to keep the carts on site, including posts that block removal, wheel locks or other options, including customer service to keep the carts on the property.
Councilman Tony Cardenas said he’s wanted to limit abandoned shopping carts for years, prompted by complaints from residents.
“They are not only an eyesore, but they are a danger as well,” Cardenas said. “Imagine if you are driving along and a cart is suddenly in your path. Every driver knows it will cause damage.”
Councilman Dennis Zine said he is concerned about the city’s ability to enforce the measure.
“Street Services does not have the people now,” Zine said. “What can we do to get enforcement now? I don’t want to be anti-business, but these carts are a major nuisance.”
Sarah Paulson Sheehy, local government relations director for the California Grocers Association, said her organization is concerned about the cost of the city’s proposal, which will be about $40,000 per market.
Stuart Waldman of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association said his organization has recommended the city also consider allowing the stores to develop cart retrieval programs as one of the alternatives.
“That would be less expensive for the stores and a better way to get the carts off the streets,” Waldman said.
Reprinted from Los Angeles Daily News