Justice for All (At Least for a Dozen People in Potrero Hill)


Hello My Dear Parking Guru,
I need your help desperately. My husband's car was towed on a Sunday morning along with other cars, in front of our house. We parked there on a Saturday night after 9 pm, and there were NO SIGNS on our stretch of the street. There were signs on our crossing street, for a Sunday Streets Event which we love and support, but again THERE WERE NO SIGNS OTHERWISE.
When we woke up at 9 am, we thought his car was stolen!

He headed to speak with a meter maid parked on the corner who was already in a heated conversation with someone else about the situation. The meter maid could NOT explain why all the cars were gone! She ended up LEAVING because she had no answers. Our neighbor took pictures documenting the scene and we thought to ourselves, "We'll appeal this." We had witnesses, proof, and to back it up: within 5 minutes after all that stretch of the street was towed, it filled back up again with cars, and there were still no signs.
Since then, I received communications from an SFMTA manager and she put me in touch with the special event's spokesperson who said that there was, "...last minute program shuffling & confusion during the set up of the event with their volunteers, community members and program leaders." She admitted the signs were taken down before the event even started.
SFMTA's last letter says: "The Sunday Streets Agency reports that the area was completely posted...from Wednesday to Sunday morning." I'm sure that many folks don't have time to deal with this. But this is beyond the money aspect of things for me now. This is about the fact that the truth doesn't even matter anymore. The word of an entire block of neighbors seems to mean nothing against the system!

Dear JD,
A block of cars being towed mistakenly is in the ballpark of a $5,000 mistake.  Refunds of this magnitude sometimes take a few tries for all of the information to get into the correct hands before they get worked out. Several signatures are needed, and it is easy to drop a big elephant like this in somebody else's inbox, or to ignore it, hoping that it just goes away.
It seems that it was just a simple mistake of a volunteer not putting signs on the correct streets, and the key is to get that information into the hands of SFMTA. You have done a beautiful job of gathering all of the facts. The only thing remaining is to just line the facts up in an orderly fashion and present them to SFMTA one last time with the signatures of all your neighbors and ideally with the signature of the spokesperson of the special event:
1) The spokesperson for the special event stated that there was a lot of confusion and that the signs were mistakenly taken down on your street before the event started.
2) The DPT officer that morning stated that she saw no signs posted on your street and couldn't explain why the cars were towed.
3) San Francisco Traffic Code 33C and Vehicle Code 22651 were not followed. The code states that 72 hours notice is required.
4) You and your neighbors have photographic documentation to support your experience.
I have faith they will get it right. It might take them a little time, because it involves another agency's error, but it has been my experience that when a mistake has been made and there is evidence to demonstrate it, SFMTA gets it right. Let us know how it works out.

For tips on how to get out of a parking ticket, and better yet, how to never get one again, click here.

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