Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sidewalk Tickets in San Francisco

This is surprisingly not a rant about the DPT - although they are the harbingers of the evil "On Sidewalk" ticket that has been adorning my windshield wiper lately. It is actually a rant on some of the residents of San Francisco. I have lived at my place for about a year. I am not going to say where that is and you will soon learn why.

I am fortunate, or thought I was, to have enough space between the garage door and the adjacent buildings wall to park my car in front of my front door. A spot that does overhang the five concrete tiled sidewalk by about 40-50% depending on how close I park to my front door. Plenty of room for a wheelchair to go through. Glorious I thought - a free parking spot that is not in anyone's way (logically at least). For the most part things have been fine. To this date, during my twelfth month of living here I have received only three "On Sidewalk" tickets.

Each sidewalk violation clocks in at a whopping $100. One hundred dollars. Again, one hundred dollars. Some stats:

  • That is two and half times the price of a parking meter violation and street cleaning ticket
  • Second highest violation (bus stop violations are $250 - yikes!)

I didn't notice on the first two citations, but on my third it says "Complaint 60% in sidewalk". Regardless of the fact that I was only 50%, I found the part about the complaint very interesting. Someone, some other resident of the city, actually called the DPT complaint number and complained that my car was blocking the sidewalk.

As a happy San Francisco resident who has had his fair share of crap to deal with regarding street cleaning tickets, and parking meters, etc. I would only in extreme circumstances call out another resident, especially when there is five feet or more of room on the sidewalk to walk, bike, hop, skip, whatever. You could park a motorcycle behind my car!

If I am blocking the whole sidewalk, then go ahead, complain.

If I am blocking your driveway then tow my ass.

That's about it though - other than that just let it be. Or at least write a note on my car explaining what the problem is.

Another strange thing about this is that it happened at night. My ticket was written up at 10:12 pm. Thoroughly interested, I called the DPT tonight and spoke to two very friendly ladies about the issue.

The first told me the following interesting tidbit:

If one car on the block gets a complaint than every car that is in violation of the sidewalk law is written up on the block.

This is where the City of San Francisco becomes evil again when it comes to how they fill up their coffers. I also asked if I could have the name and number of the person complaining (not that I expected to get it) and was told that they don't take that down for sidewalk complaints since it is the law (a California one at that). That means I could drive by a street that is not even my own, see a car on the sidewalk (or partially as mine is) and have the whole block written up. That is messed.

Where is your compassion people? Next time you think about filing a complaint about something that is not too severe - like partially overlapping the sidewalk - think twice about how $100 would feel sucked out of your checking account.

Also, these tickets cannot be appealed - I mean they can- but both ladies told me you have a chance in hell at actually getting them dismissed. If anyone has done this successfully please let me know.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Wow, I am generating some traffic

Well it seems as if more people actually read this blog now, at least two that I know of: Shaan Hurley, Between the Lines and Steve Johnson, Blog Nauseam.  As Steve mentions we do tend to agree on disagreeing and this time it is my Mojave Experiment post. But what I don't agree with is Steve's interpretation of my post. I said that the Mojave Experiment is "cool" and "great".  Whether a gimmick or not it is a fun experiment. I don't think this is serious marketing or will be able to make any big waves for Microsoft in ramping up Vista adoption. That said I think the experiment does show how brainwashed the everyday consumer is around Vista. I have friends and relatives when asked about Vista will reply, "Oh, I have heard its bad." From who - someone else who heard it was bad, the Apple commercials (because those aren't biased, right), etc.

The Mojave Experiment will at its best be a small viral addition to what will be their next large scale ad campaign.

Also, the mojaveexperiment site now uses Silverlight (definitely not because of my surprise) ...

Lastly, Steve, those early posts can get a little racy ... I now write all of that kind of stuff to friends only on Facebook :) ... Happy reading ...


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