Ask the Parking Guru: Can You Fight a Parking Ticket Because the DPT Officer Was Lazy?
It's no secret that parking in the city is a bitch. So we've enlisted local parking guru and author of Finding the Sweet Spot, David LaBua, to dish out weekly tips on navigating the ins and outs of city parking.
I hope you can answer this question for me. I have lived in North Beach for about 3 years, and have benefited greatly from your book and site. I just received a ticket for not curbing my wheels on Chestnut at Lombard and the officer delivered the ticket in such a lazy way. It was loosely placed in my door. Is there a legal course of action to 'fight' a parking ticket that has been carelessly and very loosely delivered by the DPT officer in the side of your door, or just hanging by a thread under your wiper blade? If it blows away, then do I have to pay it? Thanks for all of your info, it has been fantastic!
I have bad news, more bad news, good news, an empowering tip, and finally...great news for you.
I like your style of being a stickler for non-laziness, and wondering if you can benefit from SFMTA's laziness. Unfortunately, the SFMTA has built into its system a fail-safe for this. Shortly, you should receive a letter in the mail from SFMTA letting you know that you received a ticket. Not receiving it on your windshield or door is not excusable. If the address that DMV has for you on file is not a current address, the ticket will show up as $155 the next time you register your car.
This infraction is being cited more and more frequently these days because, as we all know (and as they said), the City needs your money, and it is easy for DPT officers to see wheels not being curbed. However, many of these parking tickets are being given out erroneously because unfortunately, many of the DPT officers don’t know that in order to cite somebody for this, the street must be a grade of 3% or more. And most of the DPT officers don’t know the specific grades of each particular block of every street in the City. But I do. And now you do too (I’ll show everyone how to access this at the end of the post).
I checked out the street to which you are referring (Chestnut between Columbus and Mason), and the grade is only 2.42%. This doesn’t qualify for a parking citation, and you don’t have to pay anything. However, you do have to take action. It will take you only 3 minutes.
I’ve emailed you a snapshot of the City Surveyors Map with the evidence. Just print that out (explain what it is because SFMTA probably won’t know) and mail it in with your ticket and a short explanation. On your citation, there will be an address for paying, and an address for protesting. Be sure that you send it to the proper address. Then, you have successfully protested your citation, and are free to spend your 50 bucks elsewhere!
To check out the grades of your favorite streets go to The Surveyed Streets of San Francisco by clicking here. Once there, enter a street name, and then set the limits (cross streets). But being a government site, it won’t let you enter the cross street, so just click search. It will give you an error message, and then it will allow you to enter the cross street. Once the map comes up, click on “grade” on the right side and the percent grade of your block will be in the center of the street. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.
To get a copy of David’s parking bible click here.