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Welcome to San Francisco! When Parking, Remember to...

Farifax Parking

Photo by Theo LaBua

Dear Parking Guru,

I recently moved to SF and in my first week here I got two tickets in one day.  Not the warm welcome I was looking for. I did a little research and found you. How am I supposed to know all of this stuff? I get meter time limits, etc. But the stuff you write about like the 100 foot rule, and 72 hour limits. How can anybody be expected to know this if it is not posted?

Bummed Out Big Time

Dear BOB,

I've written about how the information on some signs could be easily augmented to tell you the whole story about that particular parking restriction restriction. And I have been loosely lobbying for a few years about these sorts of signs being posted, but wondered if it was a pipe dream. But then, last week, I drove across the GG Bridge, over the river, and through the woods to the little town of Fairfax. As I entered the city limits I noticed a sign that said, “Welcome to Fairfax. When Parking in Fairfax, Please Remember to…”  “What in the world was that,” I thought to myself. Could this be the sort of sign I have repeatedly seen so vividly in my parking vision quest ceremonies?  (The ghost of Carlton Cole Magee and I are the only ones who attend these ceremonies, but everyone is invited). It was the sort of sign that would free San Franciscans of so much pain.

I couldn’t read the entire sign quickly enough, so I just had to turn around to read it in its entirety, to see if it was true. It was true. It was a sign reminding drivers to curb their wheels, leave room for people to pass, and to make a note of the times when your car will get ticketed and towed. Great information for a little town that probably gives out fewer tickets in a year than SF DPT officers hand out in a day, which is 4,100. So, I wondered to myself, if SF had parking warning signs like that, what would they say?

Welcome to SF.  When parking, remember to:
Look up and down the street from where your vehicle is parked, because every parking sign is enforceable for 100 feet.

Welcome to SF.  When parking, remember to:
Curb your wheels on any street over a 3% grade, which is not steep enough to roll an orange down, and 90% of the streets are steeper than 3%, so get in the habit of curbing your wheels. If you forget to curb your wheels because you parked on a flat street, and you get a ticket anyway, challenge it by going to the official map of the surveyed streets, and contest your ticket.

Welcome to SF.  When parking, remember that:
When you contest a ticket and get rejected, appeal it. Your chances of winning grow from under 5% to over 50% on the second appeal.

Welcome to SF. When parking, remember that:
In 2-Hour and 1-Hour Zones, you are only allowed to park once per day, during the time-frame (ex: 9 pm-6 pm) anywhere on that block, only for the time limit allotted.

Welcome to SF. When parking, remember that:
There are 11,000 cars per square mile and 17,000 people per square mile, so relax, get informed, get creative, use a good parking app, but, most of all, relax. And remember that those 17,000 pedestrians like to wear black, at night, in the rain, while texting, and think that intersections and crosswalks have Steve Jobs-designed, magic force-fields built in, which will protect their bodies from 2,000 pound machines.

Welcome to SF. When parking remember that:
It’s cheaper to overpay an extra dollar in the meter for a 15-minute buffer zone than it is to pay $72 because you got back two minutes too late.

Be sure that you have at least $453.75 worth of room on your credit card, because if you get towed, that is the minimum it’s going to cost you.

Welcome to SF. When parking, remember to:
Got a good one? I’d love to hear your comments…
David LaBua is the author of  Finding the Sweet Spot – The Insider’s Guide to Parking in SF, and is the founder of VoicePark, the award winning iOS app that guides drivers by voice to over 3 million available on-street and off-street parking spots in the US.