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David LaBua

City Announces Corporate Sponsorships For Potholes

City Announces Corporate Sponsorships For Potholes

It's that time of year again: Late Spring in San Francisco. The parrots are flocking, the smell of flower blossoms fill the air, sun dresses have returned from their winter hibernation, and Friday sick days are on the rise. I'll leave these fun and romantic springtime topics to be written about by the horticulturalists and poets, while I'll tackle the post-winter topic that nobody else wants to explore. Potholes.

Number Crunching the Bay Area's Parking and Transportation Facts

Number Crunching the Bay Area's Parking and Transportation Facts

I was researching a couple of numerical facts from fiscal year 2010-2011, a few from 2011-2012 so far for the next edition of Finding the Sweet Spot, and things got a little out of hand. If nothing else, there is definitely some bar betting money to be made. Hopefully there is a little something interesting for everyone. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions and opinions from the facts and perhaps collectively we can write the story in the comments section.
 
805,363 - Resident Population of San Francisco
697,711 – SF Residents 18 years and Older
437,073 – Jobs in SF
522,229 – Non-SF Residents Commuting to SF
102,279 – SF Residents Commuting out of SF

Ask the Parking Guru: How Do I Get Savvy Quickly to SF Parking Rules?

Ask the Parking Guru: How Do I get Savvy Quickly to SF Parking Rules?

Dear Parking Guru,

I recently moved to the City and wanted to share a parking experience that I had recently. It was Thursday evening and I parked in a yellow zone which was right next to a white zone on 3rd and Mission at about 7 pm. I chose the yellow zone because it was after 7 pm. I came back at 9 pm and could not find my car. I called SFPD to make a report. They told me I should check with AutoReturn. Lo and behold, my car had indeed been towed.  

I took a cab to the AutoReturn lot. Once there, they said that my car was not there, but was at the lot next to 850 Bryant street. I wandered around and found it on 7th Street. Once there, it took them over an hour to find it. The whole ordeal took me three hours and cost $495 dollars. And when I got into my car, there was a ticket for $85 saying "tow away zone."  Isn't it legal to park in a yellow zone after 6 pm?  And how do I get my money back?

Thanks,
Portland to SF

Parking Quiz Answers! SFMTA vs. SF Giants

Parking Quiz Answers! SFMTA vs. SF Giants

Just before lunch, we asked you to put SFMTA up against SF Giants in a battle of numbers. Here are the answers!

Parking Quiz: SFMTA vs. SF Giants

Parking Quiz: SFMTA vs. SF Giants

In the spirit of Giants season (and our never-ending love-hate relationship with SFMTA), here's a parking quiz for you on this gorgeous Friday. Between A and B, which is applies to the SFMTA or the SF Giants? We'll have the answers for you after lunch!

Ask the Parking Guru: Angry with My City Government

Ask the Parking Guru: Angry with My City Government

Hi David,
 
I'm following up on our email exchange from February about a ticket issued by SFMTA to my girlfriend for "over 3% grade."  Thank you so much for your help so far. We used your parking resources link. And clicked on the surveyed streets of San Francisco and found that the grade of the street in question in fact is only 1.75%.
 
My girlfriend contested the ticket, on time, sending in a copy of the SF DPW subdivision map which clearly shows a grade of 1.75% for the block in question (Potrero Ave, between 17th/Mariposa), and a letter explaining why the ticket should be reversed.
 
The response from the SFMTA was as follows: "After reviewing your protest, the department has determined that: our records indicate the grade at the location on the citation is in excess of 3%. The circumstances you presented in your protest were insufficient to overcome the validity of the citation. The review has confirmed that the citation was properly issued and is valid."
 
The next step of protest was to request an administrative hearing. The hearing official heard my girlfriend's argument, looked at the DPW maps we printed out, and told my girlfriend she couldn't decide the case on the spot and would have to go look at her records and get back to us.
 
Even if, in the best case, this was a SFMTA clerical error, how can these meter maids be giving out so many bogus tickets on this block? Our experience seems to show that it's very unlikely that any correction to their lack of knowledge will be made. Their lack of knowledge makes SFMTA money, so it's in their best interest to not educate them with trivial things like the law. 
 
Is the City abusing its power, using unethical corporate tactics, giving out bogus tickets and then dumping them into administrative hearings, hoping we will just pay the ticket rather than go through the hassle? If only we could publicly aggregate complaints.
 
Sincerely,
 
Feeling Angry At My City Government

Will The City Adopt a Kinder, Gentler Parking Ordinance?

Will The City Adopt a Kinder, Gentler Parking Ordinance?

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.

Warning: SFMTA Budget Balancing Ahead

Warning: SFMTA Budget Balancing Ahead

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

Parking Quiz Answer! When Is It Safe to Re-Park on the Same Block?

Parking Quiz Answer! When Is It Safe to Re-Park on the Same Block?

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

Parking Quiz: A Good Bet to Stump Your Friends With

Parking Quiz: A Good Bet to Stump Your Friends With

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?

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