Ask the Parking Guru: How Can I Get My Money Back From An Erroneous Ticket?
Dear Parking Guru,
I got a ticket yesterday on my birthday for not curbing my wheels on Clement Street and 6th. You wrote that the law states that you only have to curb your wheels if the grade of the street is 3% or more. I couldn't find any information regarding the grade at this location. SFMTA couldn't tell me the grade of the street, nor how to ascertain that information. Please Help!
Happy Birthday Zoe. I have some good news for you. It's very funny that you write about this because when the first edition of Finding the Sweet Spot was published, I took it to Green Apple Bookstore on Clement to see if they were interested in carrying it. When I went in, there just happened to be a recent epidemic of customers getting tickets for not curbing their wheels in the same area that you are talking about. The info that I gave them that day is the same info that I'm about to give you, and it will get you your $50 back.
A violation of Div I 7.2.35 , aka Parking on Grades, aka, Curbing your Wheels will cost you $50. But tickets for this violation are often given out erroneously because unfortunately, many of the DPT officers don't know that in order to cite somebody for violating this traffic code, the street must be a grade of 3% or more. And the DPT officers can't possibly know the specific grades of each particular block of every street in the City. But I do. And now you will 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 (Clement between 6th and 7th), and the grade is only 2.08%. 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 to contest it. To check out the grades go to The Surveyed Streets of San Francisco by clicking here.
Once there, enter a street name, and then set the limits (cross streets). Being a government site, it doesn't work properly the first time and won't let you enter the cross street, so just click search. It will give you an error message, and after that, it will allow you to choose the cross street limits. 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.
I've emailed you a snapshot of the evidence. Just print that out (explain what it is because they 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 contesting. Be sure that you send it to the proper address.
Now that you have successfully protested your citation, you are free to spend your 50 bucks elsewhere!
If you'd like to receive a copy of Finding the Sweet Spot for yourself, or for a parking challenged loved one, please click here.