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David LaBua

Ambiguous Special Events Signs That Don't Match Normal Parking Signs, Plus a Quiz

Before we get to this week's question, I have a preliminary question for you. I would love to see how this savvy audience interprets this. It's 6:45 pm on Wednesday 8/22/12.  Can you park in front of the pic above legally and without worry?

Parking Rules on Labor Day

The banks, the post office, and most private businesses will be closed on Labor Day, and most people get the day off.  Many people reason that it is a public holiday and therefore public meters should be free.  But, Labor Day is a workday for DPT officers and they will hand out approximately a quarter of a million dollars worth of parking meter violation citations, making their bosses and the finance committee happy, but possibly ruining your weekend.  

Proposal for a Change in How Parking Tickets are Issued in SF

Dear Parking Guru,
Using the keywords "help to protest, SF, parking citation, insane, ridiculous, parking rules", Google directed me to your
7x7 Column.  We received a street-sweeping ticket while on vacation in lovely San Fran this summer, and paid it. No problem there. However, we are in the process of contesting a "Hill Parking 3%" citation that we were allegedly issued on the same day.
My husband and I are from Washington D.C. and are by no means rookies when it comes to urban parking. We are old school and we make it a habit to curb our wheels whenever we park. Several months after our trip to SF, we received a letter from a collections agency about a "Hill Parking 3%" violation. We never received the citation (perhaps it blew away, or fell off, or was never put on our windshield to begin with). We never received any follow-up letter, or other communication about it and we are now being charged lots of late fees and collections fees.

Alternatives to Paying Parking Citation Fines

Dear Parking Guru,
I woke up this morning and thought that my car had been towed. I was wrong. I just forgot where I had parked. However, it raised a question. I have four outstanding parking tickets this year and can't pay them. With all of the late charges and fees, etc., I owe over $500.  Do they boot or tow cars for outstanding tickets? And what do I do if I don't have the money?  Paying the rent comes before paying $72 for being 2 minutes over the meter limit. My car is probably only worth $500. Should I just blow it off, let them take it, and start over with a new car or scooter?

When SFMTA Suddenly Takes Away Parking Spots

When Muni Suddenly Takes Away Parking Spots

Dear Parking Guru,
I just received a ticket on Howard between Steuart and The Embarcadero on the South side of the street (the ballpark side). It was for 7.2.25 Red Zone and the fine is $98. There used to be meters here and they suddenly took them away. I was just assuming that they were changing the meters to the new, hungrier meters and that I happened to catch a free day. Much to my chagrin, that was not the case. I cannot figure out why it was for a red zone.  How do I contest this and have half a chance at winning?  Will they just say, "We're right, you're wrong, pay the money, MUNI needs a new pair of shoes"?
Keep Up the Good Work,

How to Navigate the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza Cluster-F

How to Navigate the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza Cluster-F

Dear Parking Guru,
Big fan here. You have made me look like I am smarter than I am on a topic that unites San Franciscans of all shapes and sizes!
I've never seen this topic covered before, so I thought I'd ask. When I am driving back into the City from Oakland, I can never figure out if I can use the carpool lane. Some signs say "Carpool Lane M-F", other signs only say "3 people required for carpool".  If it is a Saturday, and I have 2 people, can I use the lane? Or do I have to have 3 people? Or am I not charged with 3 people but charged with 2 people? I am sometimes tempted to pull a Larry David and pick up a "friend" on the way back from Oaktown just to speed through the carpool lane and save myself 20 minutes of cluster-f misery.

A Parking Rule Even SFMTA Doesn't Know

A Parking Rule Even SFMTA Doesn't Know

Dear Parking Guru,
I have been soooo good and haven't gotten a parking ticket in a long while, I've done everything that you said and I'm more than a step ahead of the parking police, but I just received a $72 parking ticket for violation "7.2.23 - Over Limit Meter Violation" and I am really po'd for several reasons. Number one, when did tickets for a meter violation become 72 effin dollars? Secondly, I thought you were allowed to park at a broken meter for free. Can I contest this ticket?
Yours Truly,
PO'd in SF

Parking Over the Line - Fair or Foul?

Parking Over the Line - Fair or Foul?


Dear Parking Guru,

I just got a ticket for violating traffic code TC58c - "Not Parked Within Marked Space." What a ridiculous ticket. I was like six inches over, and my car is small. It wasn't even my fault.

The reason I had to park like that was because of the terrible parking job of the guy at the beginning of the block wasting 5 feet of space behind him and screwing up the whole line. But even so, it doesn't make sense, because I counted, and there were 8 spaces, and 8 cars were parked there, and they all got a ticket, even though money was put in the meter.

Can I fight this ticket and win? What do you think of this law?



How to Make Parking Laws Work In Your Favor

How to Make Parking Laws Work In Your Favor

Dear Parking Guru,
This morning I found not one, not two, but three parking tickets on my windshield, and I am beside myself with frustration. On Sunday night, my boyfriend and I parked our car a couple of blocks away from where we live in the Richmond. The only restriction is for street sweeping on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month. It was the 4th week when we parked, so we thought we were good. I went back to my car on Friday (five days later), and there were three tickets for a residential parking violation. After looking down to pick up the crumpled tickets, I looked up and saw a freshly installed 2-Hour (from 9am-6pm) parking sign. It was put up sometime after we parked the car there.

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