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Parking Tips: Start a Revolution, Never Get a Ticket Again

Image by David LaBua

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.

Over the last few months, as I’ve shared more and more information about parking in SF, I’ve received an increasing number of emails wondering when the parking ticket revolution is going to happen. Many people are outraged with the increases in meter fees, increases in fines, and the past mismanagement of the SFMTA, such as their wasting half a billion dollars by giving away free parking and other perks for public employees over the last 10 years.
With city officials admitting that they use parking tickets as a form of taxation; 2 million parking tickets handed out per year totaling 100 million dollars; 90,000 cars towed per year; huge recent increases in fees, fines, and penalties; San Francisco having the highest government union pension plans, salaries, and benefits - and the worst roads; it makes sense that there is a growing call for action, and all of the above are valid reasons for wanting to start an organized protest and revolution.

Okay. I’m down. Let’s do it. Revolution it is! It won’t be all that difficult to get the attention of the powers that be and bring an end to the parking “tax”. It’s a simple plan, but will be incredibly effective. It will take conscious effort, and will require spreading the word and supporting your fellow revolutionaries.  Ready?  Okay….the plan is…starting right now, everyone reading this….never get a parking ticket again…help your friends do the same, and spread the word.

I’m serious. It fits nicely into the revolutionary philosophies that, “Action expresses priorities." And, "A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”  If you are outraged with the price of parking tickets and the number of them handed out per year, then fight the good fight by never getting a parking ticket again.  I’ll agree that this plan is not as sexy as other revolutionary acts and protests, but can be just as effective.

How can you never get a parking ticket again? Start off by doing these 5 things, and share them with others to make sure that they know them too.

1. Every time you park, look up and down the street for 100 feet. (That’s the legal distance for which all parking restriction signs are enforced.) Read the sign, and heed its warning.              

2. Know what day and time it is. Then read the signs and do the math.  Remember, if you’re out dancing on a Tuesday evening, at 12:00 a.m.  Tuesday becomes Wednesday.

3. Set an alarm on your phone when you park. If you live where there is weekly street sweeping, set an alarm to go off every week the night before street sweeping, and the morning of street sweeping, to remind you. When you feed the meter, set an alarm for 5 minutes before it expires. If you park in a commuter tow zone, set your alarm for 2:55 p.m.

4. Get a parking Smart Card so you will never again get a ticket for not having enough change.

5. Know the rules, especially the ones that nobody told you such as: The 3% grade rule; the 72 hour rule; the 1/8th of a mile rule; the difference between no stopping, no standing, and no parking; when you can and when you can’t park in a red, yellow, white, or green zone; how to protest an incorrect ticket; etc.

To get your own parking revolution handbook click here.