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How to Hit the Parking Ticket Trifecta

Photo by Sascha Grant @ flickr.com

Dear Parking Guru,

I appreciate all of your insight into the world of parking and have benefited from it immensely since moving to SF.  I want to share my experience with you because I think you and the readers will find it entertaining.  I stopped by the local market this morning to pick up a few things.  I parked just for a second...

Well, 6 minutes at the very most. When I returned to my car, I saw some papers on my windshield. I thought they were just some advertising flyers.  They weren't.  I didn’t receive one parking ticket, nor two parking tickets…I received three parking tickets.  One for an expired meter, one for a street sweeping violation, and one for not curbing my wheels, for a total of $176. It was the most expensive 6 minutes of my young life.   Anything you can say or do to help me?

Sincerely,

Ms. Trifecta

 

Dear Ms. Trifecta,

Of all the parking stories I've heard, and I have heard a lot of them, I haven't heard this one.  “Is there anything I can say?” you ask.  Yes, there is plenty I can say.  First off,  I think we would all agree that you have been immediately and unanimously inducted into the SF Parking Hall of Fame.  You are in contention for top billing with the guy that got towed twice in one day

Now is there anything I can say that is helpful?  I think so.  I think you can legally change your name from Ms. Trifecta to Ms. Daily Double.  I checked out the grade of the street to see if you can get the 3% curbing your wheels violation dismissed.  Nope.  It’s a 7% grade on that block.  The street sweeping ticket seems to be valid as well. 

However, I think you have a good case to get the meter violation dismissed.  Here is the reasoning:  If you were not allowed to park on that block in order for the street sweeper to have a clear path, then the parking meter shouldn’t even be an option at that time, because no parking is allowed.  If no parking is allowed, then you can’t be guilty of not feeding the meter.

It’s the same as parking at a yellow meter during the loading zone hours.  Don’t even bother to put money in the meter as you are not allowed to park there anyway.  You can be legally towed, but since you are not allowed to park your car there, you won’t also get a ticket for an expired meter.  So, simply state that logic in your protesting of the ticket, send it in to the address on the back of that ticket, and $52 from your $176 bar tab will be deducted.

It reminds me of a story I heard about University of San Francisco and Boston Celtic basketball legend Bill Russell.  He got pulled over for speeding one day and the officer began to list all of the reasons why speeding is not a good idea.  Bill interrupted the officer and said, “Look son, you can give me the lecture, or you can give me the ticket, but you can’t give me both.”  He got the ticket. 

Good luck and thanks for giving us all a chuckle.

 

David LaBua is a leader in the sustainable urban mobility movement, author of Finding the Sweet Spot, and founder of VoicePark, the world’s first voice-guided mobile app that guides drivers to the closest available parking spot in real-time. Follow him on twitter@ParkingGuru