Ask the Parking Guru: Angry with My City Government
I'm following up on our email exchange from February about a ticket issued by SFMTA to my girlfriend for "over 3% grade." Thank you so much for your help so far. We used your parking resources link. And clicked on the surveyed streets of San Francisco and found that the grade of the street in question in fact is only 1.75%.
My girlfriend contested the ticket, on time, sending in a copy of the SF DPW subdivision map which clearly shows a grade of 1.75% for the block in question (Potrero Ave, between 17th/Mariposa), and a letter explaining why the ticket should be reversed.
The response from the SFMTA was as follows: "After reviewing your protest, the department has determined that: our records indicate the grade at the location on the citation is in excess of 3%. The circumstances you presented in your protest were insufficient to overcome the validity of the citation. The review has confirmed that the citation was properly issued and is valid."
The next step of protest was to request an administrative hearing. The hearing official heard my girlfriend's argument, looked at the DPW maps we printed out, and told my girlfriend she couldn't decide the case on the spot and would have to go look at her records and get back to us.
Even if, in the best case, this was a SFMTA clerical error, how can these meter maids be giving out so many bogus tickets on this block? Our experience seems to show that it's very unlikely that any correction to their lack of knowledge will be made. Their lack of knowledge makes SFMTA money, so it's in their best interest to not educate them with trivial things like the law.
Is the City abusing its power, using unethical corporate tactics, giving out bogus tickets and then dumping them into administrative hearings, hoping we will just pay the ticket rather than go through the hassle? If only we could publicly aggregate complaints.
Feeling Angry At My City Government
Dear Angry at MY City Government,
I've had many a disgruntled parker send me a thank you note for helping to gather the info to get their erroneously issued 3% grade ticket dismissed. So, this one is puzzling.
What better case could you have possibly made than showing a parking hearing official a surveyed map of the street in question, created by the San Francisco Department of Public Works itself, showing the exact grade of the street in question? The only possible thing that I can think of that makes sense is that the official is over-thinking the situation and getting confused by slope versus grade (3% grade is a slope of 1.72 degrees), but I seriously doubt it.
Her saying, "She couldn't decide the case on the spot and would have to go look at her records and get back to us within 20 days," is very intriguing. I have marked my calendar for 20 days out to find out what her "records" showed.
I predict that your girlfriend will be set free and that her credit card will be refunded. I'm sorry that you had to jump through so many hoops.
In order to finally put an end to so many of these tickets being issued, I will volunteer to create a handy 2.99% Graded Street Pocket Sized Chart for the SFMTA officers and administrative officials. All they would have to do is look at the list. If the street is on the list, then no ticket should be issued. Case closed.
For more ways to get your parking ticket dismissed or to learn how to never get one in the first place, click here.