SFMTA falls short with parking meter revenue

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

report from the San Francisco controller’s office shows The City could have potentially collected more revenue from parking meters during the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

The report said that if every one of the 28,000 metered spaces in the city had been fully paid, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency could have generated as much as $190 million in revenue.

Though it might seem to drivers that parking spaces are always taken,  at least 40 percent of parking metered spaces are not occupied at any given time, according to data from the SFMTA’s SFPark program… (more)

They left out the most likely reason for the empty meters, which is that their PR and street diets have have backfired on them. SFMTA has convinced everyone to go somewhere else or take pubic transportation, walk, bike, or stay home. The fewer cars there are on the road, the lower their revenue from cars will be. Get used to it or change the policies to bring the cars and the revenue back.

But it is more fun to blame others than to admit they overplayed their hand, so we will probably get more of the same and they will lose more money and blame us.

How a $900 parking citation became a $25,000 federal lawsuit against SF

By sfexaminer – excerpt

Two San Francisco residents, one of whom is disabled, are furious with what they see as an unjust parking ticket, and they have taken their complaint to federal court.

The lawsuit — which was served Sept. 12 to The City, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and one of its citation review officers, and the Police Department, its chief and the officer who issued the citation — claims the Feb. 16 parking ticket was unlawful.

Although the fine has been greatly reduced, the plaintiffs have decided to press on with their complaint… (more)

Unjust parking tickets

 ktvu – excerpt

Imagine getting billed for a parking ticket that isn’t yours then getting sent to collections for not paying it! It happens more often than you might think. 2 Investigates uncovers mistakes leading to unjust bills… (more)

Man Gets A Parking Ticket In San Francisco, Even Though He’s Never Been To San Francisco

: businessinsider – excerpt

Charlie Carballo, the webmaster for the San Diego radio station Star 94.1, got a parking ticket for violating street-cleaning signs in San Francisco on June 8. The ticket was for $64.

But not only was Carballo not in San Francisco at the time the ticket was issued, he’s never even been to San Francisco. And he has a Foursquare check-in to prove it.

The ticket notice was sent from a collection agency called LDC Collection Systems, that the San Francisco Municipal Parking Agency contracts to collect the funds for outstanding tickets…

Carballo wrote a detailed letter to the SFMTA about why it couldn’t have been his car that was ticketed. “Regarding an additional clerical error on part of LDC Collections and SFMTA, the vehicle make/color listed on your documentation lists my vehicle as BLACK. I drive a WHITE Honda Civic,” he wrote.

The ticket was issued around 2 a.m. PT. But according to a Foursquare check-in just after 8 p.m. PT, he was at a Lionel Richie concert at the Sleep Train Amphitheater in Chula Vista, California… (more)

SF parking citation officer ‘going rogue’ with unwarranted tickets, neighbors say

By sfexaminer – excerpt

A few weeks ago, Gary Malec received what he believed was an unwarranted parking citation.

Malec has lived on Cayuga Avenue near Glen Park for nearly five years, and said he has long done his due diligence to move his vehicle before the four-hour parking time limit to avoid being ticketed.

And Malec’s ticket wasn’t the first instance.

His girlfriend, roommate and two neighbors also said they were victims of wrongly issued parking tickets in the same area.

So Thursday, Malec, 33, moved his station wagon from a block away to directly in front of his home as a bait car and kept watch from inside the home. Sure enough, around 1 p.m., less than four hours after he parked, he saw a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency parking control officer approach the vehicle and appear to be writing a ticket.

Malec stepped outside and said, “Excuse me?”

Simultaneously, another outraged neighbor, who had just received a parking ticket, ran up the street with receipts in hand from a trip she had just made to a store to prove that she had not exceeded the four-hour limit.

When the parking control officer saw them, Malec said, she made a U-turn and “sped away on the street, reckless, and she didn’t come around the Friday after that. She’s, like, hiding or something.”

It was only when this parking control officer, badge No. 53, began inspecting the block that neighbors received unwarranted tickets, Gary Malec’s brother said.

“They have to meet a certain quota, I’m sure, and she’s just going around slapping tickets,” said Mark Malec, 23. “She’s going rogue, because this has never been a problem.”.

Gary Malec on Friday gave his testimony before an SFMTA hearing officer and won his case. He will receive a refund of the $74 fine.

But “no action is being taken against this employee based on that investigation,” said SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose, who added that the parking officer who issued the ticket, Andrea Bouie, has been with the agency since 2003 and has no other unwarranted parking citations under her name… (more)

These folks and others who have received unwarranted tickets will likely support the Restore Transportation Balance initiative to change parking policies at SFMTA:

http://www.restorebalance14.org/

 

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.”

(more)

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.

Are LA’s parking ticket fines and late fees unconstitutional?

Guests on scpr.org  89.3KPCC (Socal public radio) – excerpt

A federal court will decide whether parking tickets in Los Angeles violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments’ prohibition of excessive fines. Two L.A. residents with similar stories are suing after being charged what they call exorbitant penalties for late payment on parking tickets.

The tickets, issued in downtown Los Angeles at $63 each, but after the two-week deadline for payment passed, the fines went up to $175. According to the attorney for the two plaintiffs, the fees amounted to 174.4 percent of the median daily wage for L.A. residents and 336 percent of the median daily wage for Latinos.

Angelenos aren’t the only ones griping about the high price of a parking ticket. Other cities have dealt with heavy fines by allowing violators to make payment plans, extend payments, or volunteer to pay off their debt.

Are parking ticket fines unconstitutional? How long should people have to pay off their tickets, and what penalties should late payment incur? How will this case fare before the court?… (more)

Guests :  Donald Norris, founder of Norris and Galanter LLP and attorney in the L.A. parking ticket case, Norris and Galanter LLP  http://www.norgallaw.com
Beth Colgan, Thomas C. Grey fellow at Stanford Law School and former Managing Attorney of the Institutions Project at Columbia Legal Services in Seattle, Washington