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Parking Quiz Answer! How to Reserve Your Very Own Parking Spot in SF

Photo by Todd Klassy via Flickr.com

A few hours ago, our parking guy David La Bua, author of Finding the Sweet Spot, challenged you guys to guess just what it takes to reserve your own parking spot in the city. The surprising answer is revealed below!

How Much Should You Expect to Spend on a Reserved Parking Spot in SF?
A)   $0 per month because I’m special

B)   $400 per month in a private garage

C)   $200 per month in a city owned garage

D)   $125 per month in a city owned garage if I’m a carpool

E)   $75 per month for a motorcycle in a city owned garage

F)    All of the above

The Answer is: F) All of the above

However, A) is my preferred choice.
If you have to be at a regular place at a specific time each day or even one day a week, and it’s typically a hassle finding parking, then this tip is for you.

Arrive about a half an hour earlier than you normally arrive and park on the street near your location (by the way, you are allowed to park in front of a fire hydrant as long as you are in the car with the keys). Remain in the spot and adjust all of your mirrors so you can see all around you on both sides of the street, and simply wait. “What are we waiting for, smart guy?” You’re waiting for someone to leave their spot.  “Gee, that’s absolutely brilliant, I’m so glad I bought your book.”

Keep reading…here is the great part:
When somebody leaves their spot, take their spot, but make a detailed note of their car’s make and model and any identifying marks such as a bumper sticker.  Remain watching. And make detailed notes of every car that leaves and the exact time that they leave.

We humans are incredibly, habitually punctual, especially in the mornings. Even if we’re not punctual, and always running late for work, we’re usually habitually late leaving for work.  People tend to leave their house at close to the exact minute every morning.  People also have regularly scheduled beauty appointments, therapy appointments, each week, or leave work to pick up their kids, etc., at the exact same time every day. And, they also tend to have favorite parking spots.

The next morning, look at the notes that you made, circle around a bit, find one or two of the previously observed cars and wait. Chances are that one of the people will be leaving their spot at exactly the same time they did yesterday. Keep gathering data. It may take a few tries to gather enough reliable information, but soon enough, you will be able to pull up to a specific car, at an exact time, on schedule, just as they are walking up to their car.  Then pull right into your new, self-created, totally free, personal, reserved parking spot each day.

This really works if you are patient. Every Tuesday afternoon, I have to be at the same place at 1:00 p.m. At exactly 12:55 p.m., every Tuesday, I see this baker walking down the sidewalk smoking a cigarette. His day is done. As he walks up to his car, there I am, waiting in my car parallel to his.  And when he leaves, I pull right into my reserved spot. 

If you combine this trick with a spot that is not restricted by any sign within 100 feet, then you have struck solid gold. Truly, it’s like having a $300 reserved spot for free.

For more parking tips, or to share a parking tip or human behavior observation of yours, click here!