Finding the Sweet Spot
The only thing worse than getting a parking ticket is getting a parking ticket that was issued just a few minutes before you arrived back to your car. The only thing worse than that is walking back to your car and from a block away seeing the DPT three-wheeler with its yellow flashing lights double-parked right next to your car. That's when your fight or flight mechanism switches instinctively to fight.
Muni's budget was reported as being balanced last Thursday. The question now is what will happen with all of the surplus money. No, just kidding. That's just an early April Fool's Day warm-up joke. Muni's budget has as much chance of being balanced, or running at a surplus as do most of our own personal budgets. Muni is facing a $53.2 million budget deficit over the next 2 years ($19.6 million in 2013 and $33.6 million in 2014), and in order to try to slow down the bleeding, SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin has proposed some changes. Here are some of the highlights:
12 SFMTA Managerial Positions Cut
Just before lunch, we tried to stump you with this parking quiz question: You park in a spot with a sign posted that says, 2-Hour Limit, M-F, 9 am to 7 pm. It's 9 am. You move your car at 11am to another block. When are you safe to park on the original block again without fear of getting a ticket?
A) After 1 pm
B) After 4 hours
C) After 7 pm
D) After your odometer has moved one tenth of a mile
E) After Midnight
Here's a good old-fashioned parking quiz for this sunny Friday. You park in a spot with a sign posted that says, 2-Hour Limit, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 7 pm. It's 9 am. You move your car at 11 am to another block. When are you safe to park on the original block again without fear of getting a ticket?
A violation of Div. I 7.2.35 , aka Parking on Grades, aka Block Wheels, aka Curbing your Wheels will cost you $50. But tickets for this violation are often given out erroneously because unfortunately, some DPT officers don't know that in order to cite somebody for violating this traffic code, the street must be a grade of 3% or more. A 3% grade is actually 1.72 degrees (picture a 45 degree ramp). It looks almost flat. Many of these citations are written in error because DPT officers can't possibly know the specific grade of every street in SF. And many of these erroneous tickets are paid erroneously by us, because how could one possibly disprove it?
Last week's story seemed to strike a nerve or two, which generated a lot of first amendment activity in the comments section. I found alot of them to be smart, funny, and insightful. So much so that I thought I'd share some of the highlights with you this week. Without further ado, here are your fellow readers' recent freedoms of expression about parking:
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!
Dear Parking Guru,
I thought I was pretty good at finding parking spaces, but thanks to the 7x7 articles and your parking app I am excellent at finding parking, so a million thanks. However, I'm still getting parking tickets (seven so far this year) and am often not sure exactly why. I'm not really learning any lessons because the violation descriptions on the tickets are always ambiguous, and I often don't know what I've done wrong. Do you have a quick primer for me to simplify parking on a block with a lot of signs?
Somebody recently asked me, "So, when you were a kid, and you were playing with trucks and cars in the sandbox, were you parallel parking all of your hotwheels?" I told her that I have memories of controlled vehicle chaos in the sandbox like other kids...but with an occasional explosion to give the Tonka ambulance and fire-truck something to do. So upon reflection, even then, I was afflicted with the childhood version of parking anxiety, and intermittent explosive disorder.
I enjoy your 7x7 posts and your website. I pulled up at SFO this morning and stopped just for 20 seconds partially on a pedestrian crossing, just to let my son get his stuff out. Saw a meter maid writing me up. She said she was writing me a $332 ticket, and then had me move back out of the crossing. Then she walked away, without any effort to give me the ticket. No idea if she was just staging the ticket-writing process to make sure that I was obedient, or whether I can expect a ticket in the mail. Are tickets enforceable if the meter maid made no effort to actually deliver it in person?
Your book looks great, and I read a rumor that you're making an app, I will be looking for them.