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.

6 comments:

Christian said...

Wow... Unlike when you speak, I can actually understand you when you write.

Steve Johnson said...

Given what I remember of parking in San Fransisco on my last visit 11 years ago, $300 a year is pretty cheap. Less than a dollar a day: bargain!

Solution: buy a shorter car. :P

Steve Johnson said...

Johnson, write out "Francisco" one hundred times!

zignorp said...

I just got a $100 ticket for parking in my own driveway, with a good amount of room behind me on the sidewalk, definitely enough for a wheelchair to pass by. It's wet, but looks like it was issued at 16:52? This is where I always park, for years, and all the cars on my block are parked in the same manner. Has anyone successfully fought a blocking the sidewalk ticket like this?

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