Too many parking tickets in SF

By David Hegarty : sfbg – excerpt

OPINION San Francisco made $87 million in parking citation revenue in 2012; roughly double what the city made off actual paid parking meter revenue.

Let that sink in for a minute.

It’s become so hard to park a car in San Francisco that its citizens are paying almost $281,500 a day simply to park, and then they’re cited for doing it wrong.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency should be responsible to the people — to create and maintain clean, orderly streets and transit systems that work for the people who use them.

The responsibility of the SFMTA is not to incentivize government agents to write more tickets and make citizens a passive revenue stream because it’s convenient. Parking citations, in their current form, do not support an ethical citizen-focused approach by the city to parking law and violations.

The simple fact that revenue gained for parking citations is roughly double that of legal, paid parking meter revenue shows an inherent flaw in the system. If it is easier for the city to make money by writing citations, why would it change its systems to create more revenue through meters or alternative means such as license fees or permitting, even if it significantly benefitted citizens of San Francisco? It makes more financial sense to incent its relatively small fleet of parking authority officers to write more tickets…

Conflicting rules and regulations between systems are also a common issue in San Francisco — often signs will contradict themselves or other SFMTA systems, with no clear indication of which rules precede the others. Meters are inconsistent with other regulatory systems in use, permanent parking restriction signs are sometimes missing, hidden, or poorly maintained, and temporary restrictions are often inaccurate — creating grossly unfair conditions for people parking, and incorrectly written tickets by parking enforcement officers…

Ethical parking law would be a clear, mutually fair system which benefits citizens of San Francisco, creates revenue for the city through legal, noncriminal means, and enables a parking environment where citizens can easily follow the rules. Parking law should be optimized for clean, orderly streets and transit programs that are profitable and reliable — instead of convenient revenue.

There must be another way to achieve SFMTA budget requirements than to make the people this government agency should be serving into unintentional criminals.

David Hegarty is the founder of Fixed (www.getfixed.me), a company that helps customers contest parking tickets… (more)

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