Dealerships showcasing vehicles violates state law

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's a violation of state law and city code: parking in the median or in the right of way. When that area needs repairs, it's coming out of taxpayer dollars.

They're meant to be attention grabbers, but in doing so, cars showcased can be trouble.

"We're excited about them selling cars on Florida Blvd., but they're a little too close for the safety of the public," said Mid-City Merchants' Chairman Coleman Brown.

They're too close to drivers and an obstruction for those on side roads.

Brown said dealerships along Florida Blvd. have made it habit for the past year to showcase their vehicles. Some in the right-of-way, others in the median between Florida Blvd. and the service road. Only problem is, it's illegal.

"You cannot park any vehicles or put anything permanently in DOTD's right of way," said Department of Transportation & Development's Jodi Conachen.

Louisiana law states no one can stop or park a vehicle on the neutral ground, sidewalk or right-of-way.

"It's a 200 foot wide right-of-way that the state owns," said Brown.

That's a little more than the length of half a football field where no cars, signs or anything should be because it's state property.

Utility poles cannot be placed on private property so consider them the boundaries for the right of way. Everything on one side is in the clear. Everything on the other side to the utility poles across the street is state property so anything parked between the two is violating the law.

Conachen said the state sends out letters to car dealerships violating the law.

"Our engineers go out. They speak to people along the corridors on a regular basis. Some people are not aware, so notifying those who may not be aware," said Conachen.

Which was the case with some of the dealership managers along Florida Blvd.

One particular manager told 9 News this was the first time he had heard of the violation, and within 10 minutes of our conversation, all of the vehicles were moved.

That specific area falls under Baton Rouge Police. They can ticket violators with a parking citation.

As for any repairs needed to the right of way or median, that comes out of the maintenance budget from DOTD, which are tax dollars.

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