The worst neighborhoods for parking in San Francisco

By Mike Moffitt : SFGATE – excerpt  (includes map)

SF collects millions in parking fines every year

In San Francisco, parking regulation enforcement helps ensure that spaces are turned over, bus zones are not blocked, street sweepers can do their job and residential spaces are reserved for residents.

But they also have another purpose — making millions for the city.

Recently we wrote about a new app that pinpointed the 10 most parking ticket-prone blocks in San Francisco.

Now we’re looking at which neighborhoods hand out the most parking citations — and reap the most money… (more)

RELATED:

S.F.’s Worst Block for Parking Pain

By Michael Cabanatnuam and Steve Rubentstien : sfchronicle – excerpt (linked file)

More than 4,000 tickets issued last year on street riddled with confusing signs, changing rules South of Market. (download pdf)

“Parking, which is horrible everywhere in SF and is especially horrible on the 300 Block Townsend” between Fourth and Fifth Streets. This block, located next to the train station, has many conflicting signs regarding traffic and parking instructions.

Thank you Spot Angle for gathering and sharing the data on parking and traffic tickets in SF, and thank you SF Gate and SF Chronicle for conducting further research and reporting on this most irksome issue that plague our citizens.

The public is confused and outraged over many issues on our streets and tickets are responsible for a lot of that anger . Many tickets are issued unfairly and can be contested successfully if you have the time to go to at least two or three hearings.

Muni riders are not immune from erroneous tickets. Many riders complain about tickets issued because of false readings on scanners. This is one more reason people are getting off the bus.

So, what is City Hall going to do about it? They are conducting hearings on a lot of complaints related to street projects. Add this one to the list  We suggest a citizens’ review of all future signs be added to the public outreach of street projects to assure the signs at least make sense and are understood by some humans who know the neighborhood. Tickets given out where signs and rules conflict, should be disregarded as incentive to the department to fix the problem.

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That parking ticket could be a scam

Got a parking ticket on your windshield, or a notice in the mail, when you thought you were parking legally? Investigate before you pay, said Christopher Elliott, a consumer advocate and author of “How to be the World’s Smartest Traveler.”

A long-time scam involving fake parking tickets is revving up, thanks to cheap and sophisticated hand-held printers that can make fake tickets appear real. Elliott, who invites defrauded consumers to complain on his website, said numerous consumers have contacted him about suspicious tickets. Scam sites like Snopes and DefensiveDriving.com are also warning about fake citations… (more)

Good reason to stop more scams by opposing AB-342

Program Will Allow Homeless To Pay LA Parking Tickets With Community Service Instead Of Fines

cbsla – excerpt

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday approved a measure to allow homeless people to pay parking citations by performing community service rather than paying a fine.

Under the newly approved program, people who meet the federal definition of being homeless under Title 42 of the Public Health and Welfare Code can go into one of the city’s service provider agencies and apply to perform social services or community services instead of paying the citation fine… (more)

Muni riders defend Mission ‘red carpet’ lanes

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Those seeing red over the new transit only “red carpet” lanes along Mission Street are now facing backlash from bus riders.

Led by the advocacy group San Francisco Transit Riders, supporters of the lanes are sounding off by creating a social media campaign called #KeepMissionRed.

The controversial bus and taxi-only lane stretches along Mission Street from 30th to 14th streets, and comes packaged with a number of turn restrictions that have frustrated drivers.

Also, Mission district shop owners the San Francisco Examiner spoke with said they saw a dip in business since the lanes were painted in February.

But Andy Bosselman, a spokesman for the transit riders, said they don’t want to see transit improvements sacrificed.

“The streets we have need to move more people,” Bosselman said. “That means prioritizing transit and bikes. Unfortunately, these changes affect drivers and we know without doubt that drivers are going to scream and holler.”

The 14-Mission and 49-Van Ness, two heavily trafficked commuter lines, are already speeding up because of the lanes, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Despite the outcry, the red lanes aren’t going anywhere — yet.

“No changes to report at this time,” said Paul Rose, spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. But Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes the Mission, has called for community meetings about the lane…

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“We have committed to continue to work with Supervisor Campos’ office to coordinate an additional meeting with the community to listen to their concerns and make additional adjustments, if appropriate,” Rose said.

Campos said in a Facebook post that he’s heard from many frustrated Mission district businesses who’ve had problems with loading zones, as well as drivers who’ve seen “traffic jams” since the red lanes were installed.

“The changes look better on paper than in practice,” Campos wrote.

Rose noted that 60 percent of people get to the Mission by transit and only 12 percent by car.

“Riding (Muni) is much faster/smoother with the new transit lanes,” Jamison Wieser, one of the many to sound off using hashtag #KeepMissionRed, posted to Twitter.

Others using the hashtag on Twitter said buses are “key” for low income families.

A survey conducted by the SFMTA before the red lanes were installed found that 63 percent of 500 residents polled were neutral about bus only lanes.

Bosselman said the SFMTA is often hamstrung by public anger.

“The result is that every project gets watered down,” he said, “The entire problem the project tries to solve ends up getting little or none of the intended benefit.”… (more)

SFMTA just announced their number priority is MODE CHANGE. If your number one goal is to stop traffic to force people out of their cars, painting red lanes all over town is essentially a great way to evict cars, and the people in the cars.

If your number one goal is to promote the economic viability of the Mission and avoid displacing the merchants and residents who live in the Mission this plan will not make your happy. Just like every other political argument we have in San Francisco, it all comes down to one thing. Do you support displacement or preservation of our San Francisco culture than celebrate freedom to choose.

San Francisco Parking Meters: A $130MM Industry

by Vivian Poole : TheSpokedBlog – excerpt

The most popular page on this blog is the “How to fight the SFMT and win.”
Not only does the SFMTA harass drivers, they also go after Muni riders.

If you’re a vehicle owner in San Francisco, you’ve likely been brought to tears at least once by a dreaded white envelope under your wiper, or towering hourly parking meter rates. If so, you’ve probably wondered: exactly how much money does the city of San Francisco rake in from these revenue streams every year? For many, the cost of parking in this city seems unreasonably high, but how does it compare to other cities? Here’s the answer: San Francisco has the the most expensive parking tickets in the entire United States. Parking Citation Fees and Meter Fares On its website, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) jokes, “Even parking tickets get a day off now and then.” During just three select days every year — Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years’ Day — the SFMTA doles out free parking, releasing city dwellers from the burden of enforced meters. But this “gift” is deceiving; the SFMTA spends the other 362 days a year dutifully handing out parking tickets… (more)

Federal transit bill falls short, may impact SF transit projects

Fixed, The App That Fixes Your Parking Tickets, Gets Blocked In San Francisco, Oakland & L.A.

by Sarah Perez : techcrunch – excerpt

Fixed, a mobile app that fights parking tickets and other traffic citations on users’ behalf, has had its parking ticket operations blocked in three of its top cities, San Francisco, Oakland and L.A. after the cities increased the measures they were taking to block Fixed from accessing their parking ticket websites.

The company confirms it has suspended parking ticket operations in all three cities as of three weeks ago – a move impacting around 100,000 users. Going forward, Fixed will focus on its Traffic Ticket business instead, we’re told.

The startup has had issues with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) for some time.

The agency was never all that receptive to the service, and the way it automated the ticket contesting process for locals. Using its app, Fixed customers could snap a photo of their parking ticket using their phone’s camera, and then Fixed would check against a variety of common errors before writing a customized letter to the city on the user’s behalf. The app also cleverly tapped into Google Street View to check to see if the city had the proper signage in place in the area a ticket was received… (more)

See the next story for a luck at how “fair” SFMTA is in its business dealings. They are very selective when it comes to picking winners and losers in their “sharing” game.

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Local California Drivers Can Now Contest Traffic Tickets Without Having To Pay Fine First

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Motorists in some California counties will no longer have to pay traffic tickets before they can contest them in court under a new rule adopted Monday by the state court system’s governing body.

The Judicial Council voted unanimously to abolish the practice of demanding bail as a prerequisite to challenging a traffic citation. The vote came as state officials have raised concerns that traffic fines and penalties are ensnaring minority and low-income residents. Fines have skyrocketed in California over the past two decades, and courts have grown reliant on fees as a result of budget cuts during the recession.

The Judicial Council’s decision takes effect immediately, and also requires courts to notify traffic defendants that they don’t have to make the payments to appear in court in any instructions or other materials they provide to the public.

“I am proud of the rule that has been developed,” California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said in a statement. “This is an important first step to address an urgent access-to-justice issue.”…

The ACLU challenged the practice, saying a court appearance was a right that should not be contingent on someone’s ability to pay. The pre-payment requirement disproportionately affected minority and low-income residents, according to the ACLU…

Monday’s vote came as Gov. Jerry Brown last month proposed amnesty for residents who can’t afford traffic fines and penalties that have resulted in 4.8 million driver’s license suspensions since 2006.

Under Brown’s plan, drivers with lesser infractions would pay half of what they owe, and administrative fees would be slashed from $300 to $50. Brown called the traffic court system a “hellhole of desperation” for the poor… (more)

I wonder what kind of effect this will have on SFMTA’s billion dollar budget. Not much.

Feature Disabled After San Jose’s ‘Smart’ Parking Meters Unexpectedly Reset, Leading To Tickets

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — San Jose’s “smart” meters have been leading to lots of unexpected tickets for drivers, and the city is making them just a little bit dumber to solve the problem.

Some of San Jose’s new ‘smart’ parking meters downtown have been resetting to zero when some heavy trucks pass, leading to tickets for drivers.

A lot of construction and heavy machinery around downtown has led to a lot of parking tickets.

San Jose lawyer Todd Rothbard has been snapping photos with his cell phone when he feeds meters outside the superior courthouse.  He had gotten three tickets in less than two weeks.

“I would have paid it if it had just been a single ticket, because it’s well more than $40 worth of time goes into presenting a case, and telling them they’ve got a problem,” Rothbard said.

San Jose did own up to the problems and have disabled the troublesome reset function on some meters. But, the city is relying on people to report the faulty tickets themselves… (more)

Apps Fixed, The App That Fights Parking Tickets, Raises $650K More And Heads To Oakland

: techcrunch – excerpt

Fixed, the mobile app fights parking tickets on your behalf, which has been before today only available in San Francisco, is now expanding to the neighboring city of Oakland. It then plans to add on a new city at a rate of about one per month, the company says…

The idea for the Fixed mobile application is clever. Customers snap a photo of their parking ticket using their smartphone’s camera, and the app checks for a variety of common errors before writing a customized contest letter to the city on your behalf. But it does more than that, too, explains Fixed co-founder David Hegarty, the company will even tap into Google Street View to determine if the city has the proper signage in place in the area you received the ticket.

He says that Fixed home base of San Francisco hasn’t been all that receptive to the way the startup has helped automate the ticket contesting process for locals. “Over 50% of tickets have an issue or error that makes them invalid,” he explains. “But we get frustrated because the SFMTA [San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency] doesn’t play by the rules of what’s valid versus invalid. They’re a complete stickler for the rules when issuing the ticket…but they have a very lax interpretation of the rules when it comes to arbitrating disputes,” he laments… (more)