January 9, 2010

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.

31 comments:

  1. and if it's there driveway, I expect that if I go jackhammer the hell out of it, they won't expect the city to fix it!

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  2. In my experience DPW does not always ticket these. A big step to getting somewhere with this problem is the lack of consciousness by drivers. The City has never had an information campaign stating the laws and why they exist.

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  3. But if you were a homeowner in SF, you would know that when it comes time to maintain the driveway in front of your home, the homeowner is solely responsible for the cost. I had to pay $1,000s to have my driveway repaved. The cost to the city, $0. But yet when I have people over and they park in the manner in which you show in this picture (still space to get around the car), they get a parking ticket. I think if you would focus more on actually becoming a productive member of society (and paying property taxes), you would form the opposite opinion. Finny how that works. Good luck!

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  4. I think there needs to be a sensible middle ground. Nealry everyone has an occasion where they need to park in "their" driveway.

    It is the abuse of driveway parking to be concerned about, not occasional use.

    One time I parked in our driveway to help my wife get in the car when she went into labor. The car was there about 15 minutes while I went into the house and helped her out.

    Lots of times we have school carpoolers park for 5-10 minutes in our driveway during kid pickups and dropoffs. Real actual people and families live in these houses.

    I usually try and park parallel in front of "my" driveway, but in the rare cases where I do park in the driveway, if someone called on me and I got a $100 ticket - some bad karma would lay heavy on the caller.

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  5. If what you say is true, then this site is not targeted at you. I have no issue with someone picking up kids etc. in the driveway for a couple of minutes every once in a while. All this is very different from treating the public sidewalk in front of your house as your own personal parking lot. Very bad "karma" indeed!

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  6. I have to agree with both sides on this. I just received a ticket for this type of parking, not knowing that this was a problem, expecially since a pedestrian or wheelchair person could get around the vehicle and on the sidewalk, but I suppose with a city and state economy close to collapse, it is time to adjust, to their collection efforts.

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  7. We have received a ticket like this just a couple of hours ago while I went upstairs to pick up my daughter from my PIL. My husband stayed in the car and I have calle him because of a couple of havy bags that I needed help with... It took the guy 2 minutes to issue a ticket. We saw him puting it behind the wipers when we exited the house.

    I have tried to ask him 'why' and he turned around and literally ran away... obviously feeling embarrassed... In addition to it, the address showed the house number next to the one where we parked the car.

    There was more than 10 feet between the car and the curb and even 2 wheelchairs would pass side by side easily...

    The ticket is $103.00 and does not feel right...

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  8. California Vehicle Code Section 22500:
    "On any portion of a sidewalk"
    Define sidewalk. Because "zero setback" or not, driveway is not sidewalk.

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  9. Ok, the Zero Setback is a myth. Read the zoning part of San Francisco Municipal code. For most residential properties, it says "Based upon average of adjacent buildings; up to 15 ft. or 15% of lot depth". In this photo, it's about 15 feet.

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  10. I don't mind this car at all. It's not even close to blocking the entire sidewalk, people and wheelchairs can get by easily. The white one in the background is more of an actual problem.

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  11. I agree that where the PT Cruiser is parked should not be a problem. If it is against the law, that is bad law. There is plenty of space for people to get around this car. If the city wants to lay down and enforce draconian laws that prevent a homeowner from using the "driveway" for parking, then they should pay for all maintenance of that space.

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  12. @murphstahoe - It'd be the property owners responsibility to repair the sidewalk in front of his/her property, so no, the City won't pay anything to fix it. They'll fine you and force you to pay for permits to fix it yourself.

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  13. It's the sidewalk, for heaven's sake. You'll get ticketed for parking there in any city in America.

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  14. I have a question. What if there was grass on either side of the car? This woud make it a driveway in the typical sense, and I have seen this kind of sidewalk/driveway in the sunset. One house will have grass on either side of the driveway and the next house won't have any grass.

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  15. Instead of ticketing folks right off the bat, they really should notify people to avoid such fines, but SF needs to the money more than ever. How much is "enough" room for pedestrians and those using a stroller or a wheelchair need to get thru? Someone have an answer as the measurements?

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  16. I live on a corner house, I had a dinner party, guests park in front of my drive way like in the picture, I already make sure nobody blocks the walkway, all three car got a ticket at 9.45pm. I went to the neighbor police station, they said they never give ticket like that unless neighbor called. I check with the neighbor nobody called, I believe them,I now know must be those dog walkers. why can't they ring the bell and warn us, people park in front of my house, if I can get out I never call if it park too long I will write a note to warn them, the ticket is so expensive nowadays, it's just such a bad feeling to get a ticket I wished people has more compassion. whoever call the police for the ticket also call the city I have to repair the pavement and my pavement is 90% better than any neighbor's not a crack at all, just may be a little not even by the trees. Another thing I don't understand is why the City does not write me but place a notice on my front wall of my house which I never notice until some one else told me. I always go into my house by the garage.

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  17. I agree with the person who wrote, "Based upon average of adjacent buildings; up to 15 ft. or 15% of lot depth". In this photo, it's about 15 feet.
    And another thing, where you wrote this is a public sidewalk....If it is a public sidewalk why is it the homeowner's responsibility if someone falls or there is a crack in the sidewalk that the city cites that it should be fix? The City does not take responsibility but they sure do what to ticket/fine the owner of the car and collect the money. SO YES the sidewalk do belongs to the owner of the home and they should be able to park in their garage space if they choose. Just as long as the public/wheelchair access can go thru safely.

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  18. Just got hit with this one. Wooo. $103 dollars to the 3-wheeled parking Nazi's.

    I keep dreaming about bike-locking their garage door shut c. shift-change o'clock. I hope someone makes that dream happen. . .

    *sigh* fck it.

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  19. just got one too, i parked like the one in the photo but back 8 feet leaving ample room for any wheelchair or group of persons. damn neighbors, get a life.

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  20. Garden edging
    Brisbane Kerbing - Add beauty and value to your landscape by having continuous concrete garden edging. Numerous Kerbing Designs avaliable.

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  21. According to the SFMTA you can park in your driveway if the bldging has fewer than 2 units and the car is registered to that building.

    http://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/parking/how-park-legally

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    1. Thank you for this information. I got a ticket for parking in our own driveway. We've parking in our driveway for decades and I saw cars are parking exactly the same way that I parked in their own driveway everywhere. We've never got a ticket before. But I guess that meter maid was new or he got no idea where the driveway is. Because my brother-in-law told me that that meter maid saw him in the garage and came back to tell him "you'd better have someone to move the car to the driveway". My brother-in-law told that the car was parking in the driveway and he said nothing and just left.
      I protested the ticket but it got denial. The reason is "no parking on any portion of the sidewalk at all times". If this is the case, I think no one can actually park in their own driveway at all. Most of the cars parked in their own driveways all came out a little to the sidewalk.

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  22. Interesting how it appears that most of the complainers in the comments section are car owners.

    As for the most recent commenter, the section you cite states the following: "Park In Your Own Driveway
    You may park in your own driveway as long as no portion of your vehicle extends over the sidewalk. Residents may park in front of their own driveway parallel to the curb or street, only if the vehicle’s license plate is registered to the building’s address, and if the building has two or fewer units.

    You can help neighbors and visitors avoid citations and being towed. Feel free to print and share this flyer: Thanks for keeping our sidewalks safe (PDF)"

    So thus the issue at hand is the definition of sidewalk. I'm taking this to imply that any separation from the terrain of the sidewalk is where the driveway begins, and any non-separation qualifies as sidewalk. (although I'm sure it's clarified in the actual statutes.) If you want to park on the sidewalk, I'm guessing Pleasanton might be a Pleasant place to do so.

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  23. I'm wondering if the same type of people who claim that only by "paying property taxes" are you a productive member of society equally believe that they own the city street in front of their driveway. Guess what, you don't. You do have a right to report a driveway blocker and have them ticketed, but you don't have a right to be a self-entitled idiot and claim that as your own private parking spot (unless your building is 2 or more units, that is.)

    Vehicle Code section 22500E specifies that no car can be parked blocking a driveway. But there's an exception (#57) that says if the car is registered to that address, and the building the driveway serves has two or one units, parking is legal.

    So it's time to start reporting your self-entitled neighbor!

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    1. hey if I'm paying my property taxes and I'm responsible for all the upkeep for all the side walk that is in front of my house I should be able to park my car in my drive way! I MEAN IF SOME ONE WALKS IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE AND FALLS THE DAMN CITYS NOT GOING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILTY FOR THE CRACK IN THE SIDEWALK.iT ALL FALLS ON THE HOME OWNER. And if people can plant tress in front of their house and they can take out as much as a 6 foot by 9 foot section of the side walk for said tree .What the hells the diffrents from the tree blocking the side walk if it's a car? the side walk is still blocked. I think if you can put a tree ther you should be able to park your car there as well.

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  24. Correction, two or MORE units.

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  25. there's a sidewalk and there's my driveway - im responsible for both. Ill park where my responsibility begins and think considerately when thinking about the passage of people trying to get from A to B. SF, dont be too much.

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  26. one more thing... i just found this and it basically underlines the point that if you are considerate, you wont be swimming up creek or shouldn t be
    http://www.sfbetterstreets.org/design-guidelines/driveways/

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  27. This "blocking the driveway" is BS....
    The majority of homes in San Francisco has very short driveways that runs onto the sidewalk.
    It is the City who approved the builders to shorten the driveway onto the side walk so these builders can squeeze more homes to make more money... So where do the homeowners get? they get ticketed for parking in their driveway/sidewalk.
    So once again another loophole for the city to make money..
    Some driveways are much shorter than the picture above.
    About half of a car space is on the driveway and half is on the sidewalk.
    The city does not pay for the maintenance of the driveway/sidewalk but yet we have to pay for parking there.
    This is irritating.... And DPT can't just ticket the nicer area of the city but leave the not so great areas of the city alone!!!

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  28. If you have a "short" driveway get a FIAT or Smart Car. Some posters seem to be confusing blocking the driveway (while parked IN the STREET) with parking IN your driveway and blocking part of the sidewalk - this will get you a ticket. Commissioner Concrete is wrong about Driveway parking - this is from the MTA website:
    Park In Your Own Driveway
    You may park in your own driveway as long as no portion of your vehicle extends over the sidewalk. Residents may park in front of their own driveway parallel to the curb or street, only if the vehicle’s license plate is registered to the building’s address, and if the building has two or fewer units.

    You can help neighbors and visitors avoid citations and being towed. Feel free to print and share this flyer: Thanks for keeping our sidewalks safe (PDF)
    http://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/parking/how-park-legally

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  29. You have way too much time on your hands and need to get a life. There are much bigger problems in S.F. & the world than sidewalk parking.

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