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Ask the Parking Guru: I Got A Ticket While Fighting A Ticket. What Do I Do?

Photo via Mil8 on Flickr.com

Dear Parking Guru,

I received a notice in the mail stating that I was delinquent in paying a parking ticket.  However during the time that the citation said that I was illegally parked, I happened to be in the courthouse fighting a speeding ticket.  There is no way that this ticket is valid because my car was parked in a valet parking lot near the courthouse at the time, so there is no way that it was parked illegally.  I was just going to give in and pay it, until I read your post last week.  Now I am motivated to contest it.  So, how do I fight this?
 
Thanks,
TJ

 

Dear TJ,

I have some bad news, an educated guess about what happened, some good news, a question, a plan of action, and a tip on how to avoid this next time.  The bad news is that contesting it with the SFMTA using the argument that you were fighting a traffic ticket at the time, while funny, is not going to be helpful.  You may have been in the courthouse, but that doesn’t prove anything about the whereabouts of your car.  I think what probably happened is that your car was parked on the street by the valet parking attendant, and they spaced out on feeding the meter.  A citation was issued, and when the valet parker went to retrieve your car, the citation “disappeared”.
 
The good news is that this is not an uncommon situation and it can be resolved quite easily and simply depending on how you answer this next question:
 
Do you have a receipt from the valet parking service?  If you do, then you are golden.  Take the receipt, and the citation that you received in the mail to the parking lot, and show them to the attendant.  The attendant will say nothing to you, then will make a phone call and will then hand you $65.  If this doesn’t resolve it, let me know and I will handle it for you. 
 
Now here is how you can park at the Superior Court House at 850 Bryant Street easily, and for free. Parking is scarce and expensive on Bryant St. From what I’ve observed, most people like you make a box a few times around the block hoping to find a spot, but eventually just cave in and pay $10-$15 to park in a lot for an hour or two. 


 
But, I found a field of plentiful parking just a block and a half away to the left.  Drive past the court house, heading east on Bryant (toward 
the Ferry Building), take a left and go north on 6th St.  Before you get to Harrison St., under the overpass, there is a parking field-a-plenty. Maybe it’s because it’s under an overpass, maybe it’s because there are several signs to decipher, I don’t know, but every time I’ve cruised by there, there has always been a vacant spot or two here.  It is a meter-less, 2-hour zone. It’s good after 9 am until 3 pm, and then after 7 pm.  From 7 am to 9 am and 3 pm to 7 pm it is a commuter tow-away zone, so be careful.  But from 9 am to 3 pm and after 7  pm it is totally free.
 
For more tips, tricks, and secrets about parking in SF, click here. Going to Booktoberfest on Wednesday, October 5? David will be on the panel of independent publishers discussing new trends in the indie and small publishing world, get tips on getting your book published, reviewed, sold and more.