What Brings Parking Tickets? In Some Cases, Neighbors’ Complaints

En Español.

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.

53 Comments

  1. Guapo Status

    Unfortunately it seems that meter maids participate in selective ticketing. Certain neighborhoods, cars and times are more likely to be ticketed than others. The rules on horizontal parking in front of one own drive way are murky at best. A person may park that way for years and the be ticketed repeatedly in a matter of weeks or months. The city is strapped for money and predatory ticketing is one of the main ways to recoup funds. That being said…RIDE A BIKE or WALK, its the only way to not go broke in frisco.

    • BJ

      But the man is disable. Please….when you get older you will find your joints will not be able to bend properly. Please remember not all people can walk far distances. Perhaps this is an issue that the Mayor Office Disability should take up as well.

    • DaMayor

      Don’t call it “frisco”, tourist.

      • Guapo Status

        @ Da Mayor. I know you may think that frisco is some tourist stuff, but I was born at st lukes hospital and have spent my whole life here brother. do you remember the early 90′s store frisco zone on 24th and mission, maybe you should talk to some og’s and see if frisco is tourist stuff. You may be a young buck or probably a transplant who thinks he’s from frisco, but I guarantee FRISCO is not some tourist stuff. If you from frisco where did you grow up? what school you go to? let me know, please.

      • Guapo Status

        ps. do you know who Da Mayor is? The person you are naming yourself after did more for gentrification in the mission and empowering “yuppies” than anyone else before him. If you really from frisco you would know that. holler at a real frisco cat if you want an education. If you want to keep on acting like a sucker and calling yourself Da Mayor, like thats something to be proud of, be my guest but we dont belive you, you need more people.

  2. I love hearing from all you whiners. I love knowing that at this very minute someone is most likely to getting their “parking bill”
    Yet what is most amusing and as certain as gravity is that you (all of you) will do absolutely nothing to change the situation, if in fact you could. Which you can not. Further more it is also a FACT that those with real influence are not subject to those same fees as are the most dangerous parts of the city where your parking police do not
    go to.

  3. sfmissionman

    Most people obey the law because it’s the law. If you only obey the law because you think you may be ticketed, you are missing the point. If you habitually disobey the law, and get away with it for a while, but then get caught, don’t complain. You are the problem.

  4. Rick

    It is time for people to take responsibility for their actions. It doesn’t matter if the other tenants called DPT or not. If his car was parked illegally, he needs to just pay the ticket and stop whining – same with the license plate – if he doesn’t have plates, he can’t even drive the car, so he should just put it in the garage, pay his tickets, get new plates and if someone blocks the garage, have them towed. End of story. I get so irritated with people complaining about getting tickets. When I get a ticket, I am irritated, but I recognize the fact that I was caught doing something I shouldn’t and I try to learn and correct my behavior. It’s called being a responsible adult.

    • BJ

      You apply quick judgements….Do you lived long in the Mission? Do you understand the long time residents of this neigborhood?

      • BAS

        Oh BJ silly us, the fact that you might be low income or might have lived in a certain low-income neighborhood your whole life makes you exempt from the laws. Totally forgot about that…

      • Sameer Bansaki

        I’m a longtime resident of the Mission, but, sure, talk with me like I’m cluless (oh wait, you already are), and go ahead and explain to me the long time residents of this neighborhood. What is it about the long time residents of the Mission that makes them different from the rest of us? Go ahead, explain. We’ll wait.

  5. soop

    “pubic space”? really?

  6. DownWithRentControl

    His rent controlled, entitlement mentality tenants complained. Figures. Another landlord who got screwed by his tenants. Nothing new here. Business as usual.

  7. christina

    So if the SFPD/DPT is so gung ho on making sure all violators are properly ticketed, how come “churches” get to park their patron’s cars in the streets when they have a service?
    Valencia St. near 24th, and many blocks close to Mission Dolores on Sundays.
    This practice is dangerous to drivers who are not aware of the special parking allowed to christians.
    Also dangerous to people trying to cross the street.
    Really the SFPD/DPT is a joke, they definitely do not enforce the laws according to what is posted.
    I live by Hog&Rocks, and their employees take up a lot of the parking on San Carlos during the day and night, and even though they do not have neighborhood parking stickers, they rarely get ticketed.
    Yes, I wish SFPD/DPT would enforce parking tickets to same for everyone.

  8. censeable

    The thing that noone seems to be addressing is price gouging by the city coupled with a $400,000 golden parachute to man who put the system in place, who is now leaving. to me, whether he should be ticketed or not and whether one could travel by bus/bike is entirely irrelevant. $315 is the issue. $65 as the starting parking ticket price is the issue, and a clear example of price gouging. if you can’t afford that $65 it jumps to $90, then $125, and then you get booted (an additional $280), then towed (towing fee PLUS HOURLY CHARGES, and then the city claims the car as its own. the only people that can afford these prices are the rich, and no, they aren’t the only ones that have the right to drive in this city.

  9. Sameer Bansaki

    I’m still really confused. Let’s lay out the steps:

    (1) Man on disability with little income, who can’t pay $315 in parking tickets, however, pays $300/mo to park his car.
    (2) People are blocking this guy’s garage. So, he doesn’t call DPT to get them ticketed/towed.
    (3) Instead, he parks his car in the driveway in FRONT of the garage he’s paying $300/month for. Repeat that again. He’s PAYING for a garage, then NOT USING the garage.
    (4) Gets ticketed for parking in the driveway.
    (5) Dumb shit hypocrite hipsters concoct outrage over the goddam fucking TICKETS he gets?

    Is this right, more or less?

    Explain again why this guy can’t drive around the block and get street parking the way the rest of us do?

    • censeable

      he clearly made plenty of mistakes. and if you get a ticket, you should pay for it. however, that doesn’t absolve the city of price gouging regardless of who it is or the mistakes they make. it is incumbent on the city to make the fines fair, and they clearly are not in this city.

  10. virgo70

    I agree that cars tat block the sidewalk should be ticketed, however, why do cafe’s and restarants get to put chairs out on the sidewalk. When I walk with my stroller and can’t get through because of the pedestrian traffic caused by these outdoor dining areas it makes me wonder about people with disabilities.

    • anothergirl

      They have to get minor sidewalk encroachment permits, and are suppose to leave the minimum passable space (and maybe more on certain high-traffic streets) for ADA access – that’s 4′ of straight pathway all the way down the block. If they’re not leaving the space that they should be, call 311 and file a report.

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