Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

David LaBua

Six O'Clock In the Evening: The Parking Witching Hour

If you knew before you left for your destination that you were going to easily find parking that was not only free, but right in front of your destination, wouldn't that be amazing?

The Cat & Mouse Game DPT Officers Play When Chalking Your Tires

I was reading the comments from last week’s post, and thought I would respond to one of them: I'd love to hear about parking in two-hour zones. Are meter maids marking tires still? I never see them do that these days. I often rush to get back to the car after two hours and never even see my tire marked. - Nader

Ask the Parking Guru: What's the Quickest Way To Decode Parking Signs?

Dear David,
I really like your book and your posts!  I have a problem that you may not have addressed before. I sometimes find myself in parking denial.  If I find a parking space, any space, that is available, I will park there.  I feed the meter, but I don't look at the signs, ever.  I have about $700 in tickets this year so far. To tell you the truth, I'm anxious just talking about it.  I think that I just find all of the information and rules to follow so overwhelming.  Do you have any tips for how to quickly and easily read all of the signs and figure out if a parking spot is okay to park in?

Queen of Denial


Ask the Parking Guru: Car Was Towed While on Vacation, Can I Contest?

Dear Parking Guru,

I came back from vacation yesterday and found that my car was stolen.  I made a report and soon thereafter I found that it wasn't stolen, but was towed by the SFMTA, impounded, and had racked up charges in excess of $1700 while I was away.  I was parked in my residential neighborhood, with a valid residential sticker prominently displayed on my bumper.  The people at AutoReturn would not listen and told me to contest the ticket, but said that I better hurry because in two weeks, it will be auctioned off.  I refuse to pay this fine, but am racking up $60 each day that it is impounded. Help! 

 - JL


Ask the Parking Guru: I Got A Ticket While Fighting A Ticket. What Do I Do?

Dear Parking Guru,

I received a notice in the mail stating that I was delinquent in paying a parking ticket.  However during the time that the citation said that I was illegally parked, I happened to be in the courthouse fighting a speeding ticket.  There is no way that this ticket is valid because my car was parked in a valet parking lot near the courthouse at the time, so there is no way that it was parked illegally.  I was just going to give in and pay it, until I read your post last week.  Now I am motivated to contest it.  So, how do I fight this?

I Fought The Law and I Won: SF Parking Success Stories

The last couple of posts about using the parking laws to your advantage were met with a few anonymous naysayers who wrote in saying that fighting a ticket was not worth it because it will, “…take 5+ hours in travel time, waiting in court, stating your case, etc.” And, "You can't fight City's a waste of time...just sell your car...blah, blah, blah."

A Breakdown Of SFMTA's Newest Texting-Based Solution for Parking Nightmares

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.

As we all know, the SFMTA implemented its SFpark demand-responsive pricing on the streets. With all of SFpark's pros and cons not yet resolved, it now has implemented the demand-responsive pricing model in eight city-owned SFpark garages, with six more planned for the coming months. Since the SFpark approach is based on parking occupancy, some city-owned garages that are underutilized will see rates go down, and some will see rates go up. The Fifth & Mission Garage rates fell from $3.50 to $3 per hour before noon and after 6 pm. Rates in these SFpark garages vary by time of day and are adjusted quarterly based on occupancy.
Yesterday, the SFMTA launched their latest effort to get you a driving while distracted ticket: A text message service for SFpark garages. Customers can receive parking availability and pricing information for the 14 SFpark garages (see list below), along with garage locations and hours of operation. To get started, customers can text "SFpark" to 877-877.  When you text the code for a particular garage, it'll send you the info.

Ask the Parking Guru: How Hard Is It to Contest a Parking Ticket?

Dear Parking Guru,
Thanks for all of your parking insight. I recently received a $65 ticket for a meter violation at a broken meter. I thought it was legal to park at a broken meter. Is this ticket worth fighting? Do people ever win?
Bummed out

Labor Day Weekend Parking Enforcement Tips

There are two extreme ends of the spectrum when it comes to thinking about holiday parking. One popular rationalization around holiday parking goes something like this: “The Banks are closed, the post office is closed, DPT parking officers are government employees, so they don’t have to work, right? So, parking restrictions are not in effect on labor day right?” Wrong.
Those coming from the other end of the spectrum look at it like this:  “Well, some of the rules are in effect, and some of them aren’t and there is simply no possible way of knowing this or keeping it straight, so it’s a crap shoot,  so, you should just put money in every meter just to be safe.”  While safety oriented, this view is expensive, and could still get you a ticket and/or towed.

Are San Francisco's Parking Restrictions Pro-Dating?

Last week I was driving and parking in the streets of Boston. Even though I was on vacation, I couldn't stop myself from analyzing the parking situation, asking locals questions about parking, and comparing the driving experience with SF.

First of all, I was searching for all of those horrible roads that have earned Boston the nickname Land of 10,000 Potholes. Guess what...I didn't find one. Truly, not one. I was in the North End, in the South End, on Boylston Street, on Mass Ave...not one pothole. The best that I could find was a 230-year-old cobblestone street near Paul Revere's House that was actually a smoother ride than some of the bone-jarring and tooth chipping streets in our fair city.

Daily Newsletters

Essential SF knowledge in your inbox

Sign up for our email newsletters to keep up on events, restaurants and SF haps.

Subscribe to 7x7
Give a Gift


The Big To-Do: 100 Things to Do In SF Before You Die

The Big Eat 2011: 100 Things to Try Before You Die

Pole Position: Our Subjective Guide to SF's Strip Clubs

Four Awesome Northern California Hot Springs

Refreshingly Unhip: SF's Old-School Pastrami Sandwiches

The 7 Best Carne Asada Burritos in San Francisco

The 10 Best Dishes Under $10 in Bernal Heights

The 10 Best Dishes Under $10 in the Lower Haight

The 10 Best Lunches in Union Square Under $10

The Path To Ramen Enlightenment

Secret Recipes: How to Make Some of the City's Best Dishes

Drink Up: SF's "Cocktail Movement" Bars

8 Solid First Date Ideas

Where to Learn An Instrument in SF

7 Local Musicians to Watch in 2011

The Best Wine Shops, Neighborhood by Neighborhood

The 7 Best San Francisco Albums of 2010

Refreshingly Unhip: The Best Glazed Dougnuts in SF

Tea: Our 7 Favorite Spots to Drink & Buy

Fireside Buzz: 7 Bars That'll Warm You Up

Beer Tasting Road Trip Itinerary of Sonoma & Mendocino Counties

Six Great Boots for Fall in San Francisco

Get A Room: Bars That Rent Private Spaces

The Best Phone Apps for the Food-Obsessed

9 Great San Francisco Football Bars

The Best Bowls of Soup (That Aren't Pho or Ramen) In SF

The 10 Best Burgers in San Francisco

Expert Advice on Parking in The City

Sonoma v. Napa: Which Does it Better?

Biking for Beginners: Routes to Take and Avoid

5 Ways to Get the Wine You Want in Restaurants

San Francisco's Best Dance Classes: 9 Places to Bust A Move

The Big Eat 2010: 100 Things to Try Before You Die

The Big Sweet 2010: 50 Treats to Try Before You Die