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Finding the Sweet Spot

SFpark: How We The People Can Influence Our Parking Future

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.

Well, last week’s post about SFMTA raising the prices of parking meters in SF generated quite a few comments. I think that the comments embody representation of all sides of the issue. I want to thank everyone for writing. I find most of the comments on my posts from both sides to be quite thoughtful, which is far from what’s typical in comment sections. In this post I would like to continue the discussion about SFpark, distill the information further, try to come closer to an agreement on the issue, and then perhaps influence policy.

Parking Dilemma: Deep Skepticism About SFpark's Elitist Parking Meter Plans

I was checking out the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s SFpark website today, and I actually laughed out loud to myself…twice. On the SFpark facts page, they ask themselves questions, and then answer them. My first chuckle came after simply reading the first question they asked themselves:

Is SFpark a way for the City to raise revenue?
 
The second laugh came after the first word of their response:
 
“No. The primary goal of SFpark is to create easier parking by improving availability. Hourly parking rates may increase in high-demand areas and at high-demand times but rates will also decrease in low-demand areas and times.”

Ask the Parking Guru: How to Contest Tickets with The 100–Foot Rule

Dear Parking Guru,

Last Saturday I was driving down Broadway toward its intersection with Columbus and I saw a single vacant parking spot on the corner (every other spot was taken). It was about 6:30 p.m. on a Saturday night in North Beach, I thought, wow I am lucky to get this spot.
 
Later when I came back from the restaurant, my car was missing. It was towed by AutoReturn. I checked the meter. The sign on the meter said that it was in effect only from 9 am to 6 pm, so, WTF? I found out later there was a sign way down the street that stated, "Towing after 8 p.m.".
 
My question: Is there any way for me to fight the towing ticket based on the fact that I was deliberately mislead by parking authorities?  Is this not a clever misleading trap for a motorist?  Any person with common sense could have parked there, couldn't they?
 
Regards,
Igor

Parking Tips: How to Achieve Parking Karma

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.

Rules and structure are indeed essential for an orderly society to function smoothly–especially if that orderly society needs to find a place for half a million cars to park. But, the greater the number and the more complex the rules, the harder and more frustrating it becomes to follow them. This city of ours is phenomenally unique, and parking in this city of ours is a unique phenomenon. With 2 million parking tickets given out per year, 470,000 vehicles roaming the streets and only 320,000 street parking spots, parking is an act that requires significant concentration and, on some days, can require absolute cunning and nearly transcendental calm.

Ask the Parking Guru: Can You Get a Residential Parking Permit in a Non-Permit Zone?

Dear Parking Guru,
 
Can I get a permit for parking on my street where it isn't a residential permit area? I understand that they will be installing meters here and in other residential areas.  Any help would save us $ in meters and in parking tickets.  Do you think we should go to our Supervisor???  Any info you have would be most helpful.
 
Thanks,
M.K.

Ask the Parking Guru: Can You Avoid Tickets by Parking On the Same Block?

Hi David,

I have a question for you.  I work on the 3200 block of Van Ness.  The parking in front of the building is an island in the center of the street, there are spots on each side of the island, and there is a 4-hour limit. Last week I lucked out and found a spot right in front of the building.  Four hours later I went to move my car and somebody four spots down happened to be moving at the same time so I took that spot. 

Well, I got a ticket saying I parked over the 4 hour limit.  Not true, I moved my car 4 spots away.  Is that legal to just move a few spots down and park for 4 more hours or is there a restriction?  Or did the meter maid just have me logged on that block and I got a ticket because they thought I was in the same spot?

Parking Tips: Paying For Smart Meters By Phone. Good or Bad Idea?

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.
 

SFMTA has unveiled their plans for the next phase of SFpark which will be arriving "later this year".  This phase will add technology allowing drivers to pay for parking by phone at all 26,000 meters in San Francisco, not just the 5500 SFpark meters in pilot areas.
 

Parking Tips: SFPark Is Here, Get To Know It

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.

The numbers have been crunched, the new parking meters and street sensors have been installed, the iPhone app has been created, and the switch has been flipped.  The new parking experiment in San Francisco called SFpark has begun.

Parking Tips: If The City Starts Ticketing Its Employees, Won't It Be Paying Itself?

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.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how SFMTA is getting their act together and doing their part to tighten the budget gap by eliminating 1000 free parking spaces for SFMTA employees. They did that, and we applauded them.

Another of the policy changes that SFMTA said they were going to implement was to make City government cars subject to time limits at meters. I laughed publicly at this one because I didn’t think that it would ever be enforced. I wrote that the first person to email me a picture of a City vehicle with a parking ticket on the windshield for parking over the time limit would get a free copy of Finding the Sweet Spot and a $25 smart parking card.

Well…ladies and gentleman…we have a winner.  Dan, aka “Man the Dan” [sic] sent me these photos of a San Francisco government vehicle with a parking ticket on its windshield.  I was chuckling at the suggestion of this policy change, but after some reflection, I am now laughing even harder.

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

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.

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