After Miguel Gómez rented the garage at 155 Bartlett for $300 a month, he would often arrive to pick up his car only to discover that one of the tenants had parked in the driveway, blocking his garage space.
In March he decided to stash his mother’s furniture in the garage and park in the driveway. That way, the 45-year-old disabled union carpenter could use his car when he needed it.
Now, however, he suspects that unhappy tenants are calling the city to complain. “Apparently there used to be some tenants that were parking there,” he said, referring to the driveway.
When they call to complain, he ends up with a ticket even though his vehicle protrudes only slightly into the sidewalk. In the last few months he’s gotten three tickets, two for infringing on the sidewalk.
When Mission Loc@l ran a story earlier this month with a photo of one of the tickets, readers pointed out that it was actually for not having a front license plate. They were right, but Gómez contacted Mission Loc@l to say that below that ticket was another, for parking on the sidewalk. The two tickets were issued only one minute apart. Earlier, on June 14, Gómez got a similar ticket for parking on the sidewalk.
The total: $315 in tickets.
“I can’t afford to pay these,” Gómez said. He has been on disability since he fell 28 feet while on a job at the Schwab building downtown. He plans to file a formal protest.
Contacted by Mission Loc@l, Pete Rose, a spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), said that from the photo, “it appears to be a valid citation.”
But, he added, “We are sending someone out to take a look at this location.”
Gómez figures that one of the tenants who used to use the parking space complained to the city. Indeed, as noted on the tickets, neighbors complained. Other cars parked in a similar fashion on the same block have not been ticketed in a long time.
Tenants at the building declined to talk to a reporter, but they noted that Gómez doesn’t own the driveway.
True, but according to RMC Management, which manages the building, he does rent it. A spokesperson for RMC refused further comment on the issue, saying that the company can’t share any additional information.
Gómez said that after he got the first ticket, he called mapping and surveying, which advised him that he is required to leave six feet of space from the front of his car to curbside. Later, a friend who works for the city told him that mapping and surveying was wrong about any specified space between a car and the curbside being OK.
The SFMTA website says:”Do not park on sidewalks. A vehicle parked on any portion of a sidewalk can be cited for a sidewalk violation. A sidewalk citation can be given even if the pedestrian travel path is partly clear or if the vehicle is parked across a driveway. Sidewalks are the area between the curb and the building property line.”
Gómez said that he is trying to clear up the issue with his license plate. It was stolen earlier this year, and when he applied for a new one, the Department of Motor Vehicles took his money for the fee but would not give him the plate until he paid a ticket.
“We pay taxes to register our car and we pay taxes for our home and then the sidewalk,” Gómez said. He tried to figure out how to avoid getting a ticket by calling the city. “Regardless of who it happens to, there should be a certain point where the city can give a ticket or not,” he added, referring to a city employee’s ability to make a judgement call on whether a car is really encroaching negatively on pubic space.