January 15, 2010

List DPT calls for parking offenses

EveryBlock is a handy way of keeping track of activity in your neighborhood. I noticed that you can list the calls placed with DPT about parking, and the case's resolution, here. According to this link, yesterday (Jan 14), no less than 156 calls were made about parking. Keep them coming!

January 13, 2010

Didn't quite fit in the garage

John Holtzclaw sends in this gem, a frequent occurrence at the garage at 751 Ellis.

January 12, 2010

More about sidewalks and front yards

Another motorist who thinks he/she owns the sidewalk.

A reader comments on SFDSP:
You are awesome!

Hey, I read your interview on Streetsblog and I wanted to comment on the part about your neighbors paving over grass to make a parking space.

I'm not sure about the planning code in your area of the city, but my (possibly WRONG) understanding is that removing a lawn and replacing it with concrete is illegal in most parts of the city unless you get a permit first. And nobody does. Not sure if you can do anything about it when it's done rather than in-progress, but you might want to look into that.

And if you do find out the deal-i-o on that, I would love to know what it is.

Thanks, Martin! (And, since I haven't mentioned it here yet, mega thanks to Streetsblog for the interview!)

I actually do know some things about this. It is true, concreting over front yards in front of houses without a permit is illegal. In fact, District 11 ex-Supervisor (now Judge) Gerardo Sandoval has introduced legislation in 2008 targeted at illegal concreters.

The City could start issuing citations to property owners who pave over their front yards or violate any other planning code.
A citation for a violation would carry a fine of $100 if it was not fixed after 30 days, and $500 if not fixed after 90 days.
Supervisor Jake McGoldrick said that “giving the department some tools to do some of this enforcement is extremely important and hopefully [the Planning Department] will use it.”

Sounds good! The problem? To my knowledge, this law has never ever been enforced. I did report the concreting of the front yard which I witnessed, to the Planning Department. They told me they would assign an inspector to investigate, but the concrete is still in place and frankly I am not expecting it to be removed. (I just can't wait until the cars show up over the newly created sidewalk "parking spots"!)

It gets better, though. There is actually another, older and little-known entry in the planning code (Section 132(g)) in San Francisco which stipulates that "at least 20 percent of the front yard to be devoted to landscaping or plant material". Of course, that requirement is also routinely violated or "forgotten".

In general, I think a few words about the sidewalk and front yard in front of properties are in order. While property owners are generally required to keep "their" sidewalk section clean, accessible, and also pay for any repairs, they do not own the sidewalk. They (or their renters) cannot park there, they cannot put anything there without a permit. The city encourages (in fact, as we have seen, requires) the installation of front yards - which benefit the community and the environment in a variety of ways -, and may also issue permits for "permanent encroachments" (benches, planters etc - I have no experience with these permits but maybe some of you can chime in), but that is about it.

See it this way: with property ownership and renting come rights and responsibilities. Caring for the sidewalk in front of your house and keeping it in good order is one of your responsibilities. Yet so often, people somehow turn this into their (supposed) right to do as they please and park their vehicles on the sidewalk. They clearly are on the wrong side of the law - and of human decency.

What to do when street parking is verboten? Easy...

Just park on the sidewalk.

Used car lot

January 9, 2010

Here's the sad thing:

According to the sign on the gate, this is the entrance to a daycare. That's right! It's never too early to start teaching 'em about the virtues of sidewalk parking!

Hey... I left some room there in the front!

Just beautiful!

Does the sidewalk parking law apply to... boats?

Seriously, how would you even ticket this thing? Also, the recurring theme of sidewalk parking in front of "No Parking, Tow Away" signs is a in full display here.

Very neighborly

The three musketeers

I wonder about the significance of the cone

Two more sleeping beauties

Oh the irony

Of sidewalk parking under a NO PARKING sign. Okay, it's a street cleaning sign, but still.

More driveway parkers

How much nicer would this street look without these cars parked on the sidewalk? How much more inviting would it be for people to take a walk, if the sidewalk would have some nice gardens in the front, a row of trees and maybe a bench or two? But no dice with these motorists.

The driveway myth

Some people believe, or claim to believe, that this car is parked legally. It's in the house's driveway, right? Wrong! San Francisco houses typically have zero setback, meaning that the property line ends with the street facing wall. The space the owner of this car would describe as "my driveway" is in fact not "his" or "hers". It's public right of way, and thus the car is parked illegally. The only time this car should be on the sidewalk is during entering / exiting the garage.

None shall pass!

Technically, this car is not on the sidewalk...

It hovers over it.

How much is a sidewalk parking ticket?

According to Article 300 of the San Francisco Municipal Code, it currently is at $100, making it one of the more expensive parking tickets you can get in the city.