Dear Parking Guru,
I'm a long time reader, first time writer. Thanks for all of your info. It helped me get a bogus $70 curbed wheel ticket dismissed a few months ago. I have been ticket-free for some time now and want to keep it that way so here is my question. People at 511 and SFMTA are quite vague and cranky about white zones and when they are and are not okay to park in. I don't think they really know the answer. Could you clear it up for us please?
Many people think that you can never park in a white zone. Not true. Anyone who has thought this has been driving right past perfectly legit parking spots. And, because of this, white zones are one of the absolute best places to find parking.
White zones are found in front of businesses: Restaurants, apartment buildings, hotels, bars, nightclubs, and churches. Their purpose is to make the loading and unloading of passengers easier. While some white zones are in effect 24 hours a day, most are only in effect during the business hours of that particular business. Knowing the hours of a business is a critical piece of information that will lead you to more triumphant parking experiences.
To know what hours a white curb is in effect, simply read the writing on the white curb itself and/or the meter post to see the specific days and hours that the zone is enforced. If it simply says "No Parking During Business Hours," go to the door of the business relevant to that curb to see the posted hours of business.
Here's how to use white zones to your advantage. In the morning or afternoon, you can often park in the white zone in front of a nightclub or restaurant (whose business hours are typically in the evening). For example, in North Beach before 5pm, the white zones in front of the strip clubs are often vacant. And in the evening, you can typically park in front of churches. Just remember to set an alarm and move your vehicle before the business' hours begin. If you overstay your welcome, you will be promptly towed when the doors open for business. Also remember to look up and down the block for 100 feet to see if there are any parking restrictions that trump your spot, like a street sweeping sign.
So if you see an empty space in a white zone on a busy day or night, don't assume that it's not a good spot. Once you start weaving this info into your parking repertoire, you'll find it to be that much easier to find a spot.
To further increase your parking knowledge, click here.
If you haven't got the time to increase your parking knowledge, and simply want an app to find a spot for you and guide you to it by voice, click here.