Mission District drivers and shop owners would like to see San Francisco consider the more driver-friendly parking policy that has been proposed in the East Bay.
If enacted, ordinances proposed in Berkeley and Oakland would forbid parking officers from issuing a ticket for an expired meter when the driver is present, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“It would be helpful,” said Dustin Senovic, an employee at Gravel & Gold, 3266 21st Street. “I think it’s a bummer when you’re running to your car but you get a ticket just because the officer beat you there by a few moments.”
The Mission District’s commercial corridors are notorious for their limited parking, and drivers often must park blocks away from their intended destination, only to have to dash back to feed the meter.
“Customers always come in asking for quarters in a panic,” said Franny Giuliani of Paxton Gate, 824 Valencia Street. “A quarter is only good for like five minutes — it’s ridiculous!”
Lupita Alonso at Mary’s Beauty Salon, 3430 20th Street, agreed. Her customers frequently interrupt haircuts to run out to their meter.
Heather, who works at Currents, 911 Valencia Street, and declined to give her full name, said, “I’ve heard customers say that they’re ‘running out of time’ or they ‘don’t want gift wrap’ or ‘I’m double-parked,’ just to make sure they’re making it back in time to their car.”
Heather doubted that a friendlier policy would make much difference. “It’s kind of hard for both the parking enforcement officer and you to be at your car at the same time,” she said. “It doesn’t quite get you off the hook.”
Jenny Liu, who runs Tokyo Futon + Tea, 924 Valencia Street, said she tries to find all-day parking when she’s working, but that doesn’t always happen. She’s had her run-ins with parking enforcement. “I tried to tell them, I’m a couple of minutes late.”
A friendly parking policy that would help drivers avoid the $60 ticket for an expired meter would be great, she said.
Some Mission District workers did have friendly parking enforcement stories.
Carol Hamlin, who works at Dog Eared Books, 900 Valencia Street, recalled one recent close call. “On New Year’s Eve I came out and police were behind my car, writing a ticket,” she said.
The officer stopped and asked if it was her car. Yes, she said, and he stopped writing the ticket. “It could have been because it was New Year’s Eve,” she said.
Tomisi, an employee at Javalencia Café, 920 Valencia Street, has also witnessed the kindness of parking officers. “There is a parking enforcement lady who, whenever she sees the driver arriving, won’t issue the ticket.”
Paxton Gate’s Giuliani suggested that employees of shops in congested areas should be able to get parking permits like those available to qualified residents of some neighborhoods. “We need to park just as bad as those residents.”
One parking enforcement officer with a freshly printed citation rushed off when approached by a reporter on Sunday. “This is not the East Bay,” he said before walking away. “Talk to Mr. Rose,” he said repeatedly, referring to Paul Rose, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s media relations manager.