Parking Gold or Parking Pyrite?


Dear Parking Guru,

Eureka!  I think I may have found parking gold right in my own neighborhood and was hoping for your confirmation. Right outside of my house I measured from the corner of the street to the closest sign heading down towards the Castro. The closest parking restriction sign (a street sweeping sign) is 101 feet. And, up the street from the other corner the closest restrictive sign is 130ft. I measured with my own 150ft tape measure. Is it true, did I find parking gold? Tomorrow is Friday and it's a street sweeping day, so I’m hoping to find out before noon.

Mr. Goldspot

Dear Mr. Goldspot,

I admire your scientific precision in your rigorous quest for this precious and rare treasure.  Parking gold. "Eureka!" comes from the Ancient Greek word εὕρηκα heúrēka, meaning "I have found (it)" The first exclamation of 'Eureka!' is attributed to Archimedes, who zestfully said it when he stepped into a bath and noticed that the water level rose. What he observed in that moment was that the volume of the water displaced must be equal to the volume of the part of his body he had submerged. Thus, he understood that the volume of irregular objects could be measured with precision, a previously intractable problem.

What you are in search of is a solution to today's intractable problem of finding a legal parking spot on street sweeping day. You have demonstrated that the position of your parked vehicle when more than 100 feet from a parking restriction sign is exempt from the rules of that parking restriction sign as your vehicle is outside of the range of that sign’s governable limits.  You are the only person other than myself who keeps a tape measure handy in their car for this very purpose. And if you choose to accept the responsibility that the title carries, you may now consider yourself a Special Deputy Parking Guru. 

That being said Deputy, let’s take the 100-Foot Ordinance, and apply it to your specific situation to illustrate what is parking gold and what is parking pyrite…aka fool’s gold.   The 100-Foot Ordinance states:

San Francisco Traffic Code Sec. 1001

When street signs noticing any Parking restrictions are required by state or local law, the signs shall not be placed more than 200 feet apart. The signs shall indicate by legible letters, words and figures the hours prescribed for said Parking restrictions within 100 feet on either side of the sign…

In other words, each restrictive parking sign's enforcement zone extends for 100 feet in each direction in any one block. 

In your first example, the sign is 106 feet from the corner.  Parking Gold?  Nope.  Parking pyrite.  Why?  Because you forgot to factor the length of your car into the equation.  Once your car is parked on the street, the measurement will be from your car to the sign.  Unless your car is less than 6 feet long, this spot is fool’s gold. Great spot for a motorcycle or scooter though. Let’s check out the other measurement down the other end of the street.  You have 30 feet of gold to work with.   Unless your car is longer than 30 feet, this spot is 99.999% pure California parking gold! 

In the event that your car is given a citation, include the measurements and the 100-foot ordinance in your protest, and you will be golden.  Thanks for the great question.  Keep us posted!

David LaBua is a leader in the sustainable urban mobility movement, the author of  Finding the Sweet Spot, and founder of VoicePark, the world’s first voice-guided mobile parking app.

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