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 (, a company that helps customers contest parking tickets… (more)

2 Investigates: Fighting Unjust Parking Tickets

by Melanie Woodrow : ktvu – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO — There’s a system in place to fight tickets, but some frustrated drivers who spoke to 2 Investigates say navigating the bureaucracy is next to impossible.

Know the code
“I’ve only lived here for two and a half months and I’ve had four tickets,” said San Francisco driver Deckel Israeli, who lives on a street where the parking signs are covered in graffiti.

“It’s complete B.S. that they have a sign like that and they’re not making a decision to either fix it or not ticket people,” he continued.

According to San Francisco Transportation Code Section 1.3, parking tickets aren’t enforceable if parking signs can’t be seen by an ordinarily observant person.

Rules for parking in San Francisco and elsewhere are clearly outlined in city and state transportation code. The code is hundreds of pages. It’s available online but 2 Investigates found many drivers aren’t familiar with the code.

SFMTA says you can report a sign covered in graffiti to 311.

Parking tickets by city

City Citations Issued
Contested –
Initial Review
% Dismissed –
Initial Review
Contested –
Admin Hearing
% Dismissed –
Admin Hearing
Contested –
Superior Court
% Dismissed –
Superior Court
San Francisco 1.5 Million 77,248 28% 13,085 38% No Data No Data
Oakland 745,581 24,914 35% 2,454 19% 47 45%
San Jose 214,842 9,048 26% 1,008 17% 34 38%


One of the most popular rants against SFMTA is agaisnt the ticketing appeals process. We suggest that you vote to Restore Transportation Balance so the voters can take back control of the streets from the forces that are destroying them and feeding the car wars. Donations are needed to win at the ballot:


Nobody Wants My Spot: An Hour in Haystack’s Nonexistent Predatory Marketplace

By Austin Tedesco : – excerpt

The Haystack parking app launched in Boston last week, and to test out the service I did exactly what the city doesn’t want. I used it. Or, I tried to use it.

I held two public parking spots hostage creating a “predatory private market,” as a San Francisco city attorney called it, that would benefit almost nothing except my credit card balance. That was the goal, at least. It failed miserably…. (more)

This is one of many stories about the “sharing economy”. Stay tuned for more, including a graphic illustration of how it works and what it does and does not mean.

San Francisco’s oppressed motorists are fighting for change

: newstatesman – excerpt

They’ve been silent too long.

Drivers in San Francisco have been having a hard time of it. All the public parking spaces created since the 1990s have been for cyclists. There’s no longer any requirement to build parking spaces for new houses and apartments. The transport agency even made them (gasp!) pay for parking on Sundays (mayor Ed Lee abandoned the policy after a year).

But fear not – for like countless downtrodden, voiceless groups before them, the city’s motorists have come together to fight back. Earlier this week, a group called “Restore Transportation Balance” delivered a ballot initiative to the town hall, demanding a change in policy to pay more attention to the poor, ignored motorist. Ballot initiatives can be proposed by individuals or interest groups and are then voted on in a local election. To qualify, they need to collect 9,702 (yes, 9,702) signatures from locals, but, just to be safe, this one had 17,500.

In an editorial for SFGate, Bill Bowen, a member of the Restore Transportation Balance team, described the initiative’s backers as “a coalition of neighbourhood activists, small businesses, first responders, disabled advocates, parents, churchgoers and just plain folks”… (more)


Motorists fight back in “transit-first” San Francisco

Believing that they’re somehow discriminated against on the streets of San Francisco, a new political coalition of motorists, conservatives, and neighborhood NIMBYs yesterday [Mon/7] turned in nearly twice the signatures they need to qualify the “Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco” initiative for the November ballot.

It’s a direct attack on the city’s voter-approved “transit-first” policies and efforts to reduce automobile-related pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It would prevent expanded parking meter enforcement unless requested by a neighborhood petition, freeze parking and permit rates for five years, require representation of motorists on the SFMTA board and create a Motorists Citizens Advisory Committee within the agency, set aside SFMTA funding for more parking lot construction, and call for stronger enforcement of traffic laws against cyclists….

But with a growing population using a system of roadways that is essentially finite, (that is being reduced by the SFMTA’s million dollar road diets and other disruptive programs, while they cut Muni service and Muni stops, making it harder for people relying on public transit) even such neoliberal groups as SPUR and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce have long promoted the idea that continued overreliance on automobiles would create a dysfunctional transportation system…

The coalition behind this ballot measure includes some of the combatants in those battles, including the new Eastern Neighborhoods United Front (ENUF) and old Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods. Other supporters include former westside supervisors Quentin Kopp, Tony Hall, and John Molinari, and the city’s Republican and Libertarian party organizations…   (more)

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San Francisco Start-Ups Cause Headaches for Lawmakers

: nbcnews – excerpt

n dense, wealthy San Francisco, where parking spots and decent apartments are at a premium, a battle is brewing over whether government officials should be regulating the so-called “sharing economy.”

It’s a city that has created a lot of tech millionaires and has sky-rocketing rents to show for it. Recently, people have been questioning whether services like Lyft, Uber, Airbnb and MonkeyParking are “disrupting” archaic business models backed by bloated bureaucracies, or whether they are simply taking advantage of gaps in regulation and enforcement.

MonkeyParking’s name is goofy and the premise is simple: People auction off their parking spots for up to $20 to drivers using an app. On Monday, the city slapped the company with a cease-and-desist letter, warning it to stop operating in San Francisco by July 11 or face a penalties of $2,500 per transaction… (more)

Good to see a legal line being drawn somewhere. We need a long conversation about the “shared economy” and where it is taking San Francisco.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, “Chicago wins George Lucas Museum”, “Chicago set a record in 2012 with 46.37 million visitors while the city of San Francisco attracted 16.51 million visitors that year…”

Maybe being famous for bad traffic and parking nightmares is a turnoff.

Maybe Chicago shows more love to its artists and cultural heritage by protecting them and their venues from being overrun by stack and pack housing, wifi coffee shops, trendy parkletts and bike paths.

Maybe the soul of Chicago is the big draw and that is where San Francisco is falling short since we sold ours was to the highest bidder.

Group wants to revamp how L.A. collects parking ticket revenue

grass-roots group of Angelenos wants to revamp the way Los Angeles collects money from parking tickets — and has pledged to take its campaign to the ballot box if the city doesn’t embrace change.

The Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative wants to cap fines at $23 for violations that don’t affect public safety. Its list of proposed changes also includes giving neighborhoods a way to help shape local regulations and fees and having parking ticket money funneled into a separate fund instead of the general city budget…

Critics argue that many of the fines fall especially hard on the poor, particularly in dense neighborhoods with scarce parking. The Coalition for Economic Survival, a community organizing group that isn’t affiliated with the parking ticket campaign, has repeatedly raised concerns about street-sweeping fines, which now stand at $73 for parking in a prohibited area…

Beeber and Vincent were hopeful that the process would steer Los Angeles in the right direction, praising Garcetti for his openness. But if the city does not take sufficient steps toward change, the activists say they could still place their proposed reforms before voters next March.

“We’re not looking to stick it to the city — although there’s certainly a lot of angry people out there,” Vincent said. “We just want to solve the problem.”…

“The Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative wants to cap fines at $23 for violations that don’t affect public safety.”


Looks like people all over California are fighting back against the costs of parking tickets. Let’s get to the state legislators and let them know how we feel about the recent efforts to increase fees and fines. That is where the damage is being done.

Greed knows no bounds. Non-profits suing hand that feeds them.

Let’s see if we have this right, Mario and his non-profit friends who are funded by the government (our tax dollars) are suing said government over a CEQA review requirement. Was a CEQA review performed prior to instating Sunday meter enforcement? If not, how can there be a requirement to eliminate enforcement now?

Muni doesn’t have a money problem. SFMTA has a spending problem. They also live in a time warp. They are planning for 2030 and we are living in 2014. When things are mess now, why should we trust them to fix the future?
Sign up to take back our streets and Restore Transportation Balance:

How will the Dark Money Disclosure Bill SB 27 impact the future of non-profits who have been hiring lobbyists in Sacramento? How many conflicts of interests will be exposed?
They should pack up their tents and leave quietly with their winnings and leave us to fix the mess they made.

This App Sums Up Why Everyone Hates Silicon Valley

By Lydia O’Connor : huffington – excerpt

If you’re wondering why so many San Franciscans claim the tech industry has turned the city into a playground for the wealthy, this new parking app does a pretty good job of summing things up.

MonkeyParking, which started in Rome and recently made its U.S. debut in San Francisco, lets drivers auction off their curbside parking spots to the highest bidder and earn as much as $150 a month, according to the app makers.

“Publish your parking spot on MonkeyParking every time that you park your car and get notified about drivers willing to pay for the spot,” the company explains on its AngelList investor page. “Accept the price and leave your spot to the driver within 10 minutes. It’s a smart way to make some extra $ when you’re about to leave your spot anyway.”

Parking spots in San Francisco are notoriously difficult to find, and MonkeyParking thinks it’s created a convenient solution.

But it may only end up being convenient for well-to-do smartphone owners with enough superfluous income to buy parking spots. The app has already aroused the ire of residents upset seeing a tech startup trying to commoditize public space… (more)

No trickle down money here. Just a lot of good old-fashioned greed, the kind that used to be considered so gosh in San Francisco, but now its the currency of choice. Making money off other people’s misery. No wonder San Francisco is now ranks as the fourth most stressed city.

People Go Bananas Over MonkeyParking – The SF City Attorney’s office is also looking into whether it’s legal. “So far, all we’ve determined for sure is that it’s extremely weird,” a spokesperson told The Chronicle.
As far as I can see (Twitter) tech people are lauding MonkeyParking as the most novel form of “sharing economy” yield management yet, and SF veterans are arguing that it is yet another example of a tech corporation profiting off of public space. I guess the moderate view is that it’s some sort of Italian anarchist performance art… (more)


Car Owners Strike Back

By : sfhog – excerpt

For the last couple of years, car owners have sat quietly watching their streets narrow to make way for bike lanes, transit lanes and parklets.  They’ve also seen parking lots dwindle, parking fines increase, and parking meters expand throughout the city.  Battle lines were recently drawn with the “Restoring Transportation Balance in San Francisco” ballot measure submitted to the Department Of Elections last week.  This new measure aims to curb parking fee increases, direct SFMTA funds into new parking garages, and achieve better representation for motorists in the SFMTA.  Pending approval, the ballot measure will be voted upon in the General Election this November… (more)