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[Comments] (7) Everything Permitted Is Compulsory: I'm sure everyone who reads this weblog and lives in San Francisco is too cool to have a car, but maybe somebody can help me out. I moved from a street that has free parking to a street that requires a permit. It's going to take at least a month for me to get a permit, since you have to send them a copy of a utility bill to you at your new address, and then it takes 2-3 weeks for them to get back to you. Don't even get me started on how they want a copy of your vehicle registration at your new address when the DMV doesn't send you any acknowledgement of a change of address; you're supposed to write down your new address on a piece of paper and keep it near your driver's license. I don't know how that's going to go.

The point is I'm not going to have a permit anytime soon. Now, the purpose of the permits is to prevent people who don't live in a neighborhood from using the streets of that neighborhood as long-term parking. Since I live in my neighborhood, I'd be within the spirit of the law to park there.

My question is, how vigorously are the permit laws enforced? What is, realistically, my chance per unit time of getting ticketed if I just park in front of my house before I have my permit? Do the people who ticket you if you park on the wrong side of the street on street-cleaning day spend all the other days cruising the streets looking for permit violations? Or is the purpose of the law just so if someone parks their beat-up hippy van in front of your house and leaves it there for a month, you can call and complain and get it towed?

I'm leaning towards the latter explanation, due to the logistics of enforcement and the way the permit website seems to be written half for people who want to get a permit and half for people who want their street to require a permit so they can get rid of some specific non-native car-parker. I realize that you get ticketed for violating the letter of the law, not the spirit, but if I'm unlikely to face the consequences I might do it anyway. Yes, the moral decay of the kids these days, it's horrible.

The other thing I can do is just drive to work every day, taking my car out of the danger zone, since unpermitted parking is permitted on weekends. I don't really want to do that, though. Right now I've got my car parked on a nearby permit-free street. I've seen unpermitted cars parked on my street, so I don't know how big a deal this is.


Posted by Frances at Mon Jun 21 2004 22:14

I wish I had a greenback for every parking ticket I've gotten in San Francisco. And in Los Angeles.

Posted by Leonard at Mon Jun 21 2004 22:37

Well, if you hadn't gotten those parking tickets, you *would* have a greenback for each one!

Posted by Nick Moffitt at Mon Jun 21 2004 23:53

It's not that we're too cool to own a car.

It's just that you're not cool enough to do without one.

Posted by Rachel at Tue Jun 22 2004 02:02

It's the same deal in my neighborhood, and its risky. I'm lucky enough to have a tiny space behind the building.

Posted by Jim at Tue Jun 22 2004 11:42

It depends on what neighborhood you are in. When I was living in pac heights they were ticket-generating animals regarding the 2 hr limit for cars withuot resident stickers. When in noe valley they were less strict about enforcing this (or at least came around less frequently.) A simple metric for how much this is going to cost you is to count the number of blocks from your house to a street with lots of stores and parking problems...

BTW, it is not that others are too cool to own a car, it is that they are too short-sighted to see all of the cool things to do that are within a two or three hour drive from you :) If I had a dollar for every carless SF friend who had spent years in SF and never gone to Point Reyes, Monterrey, or the redwood forests in Humboldt state park I would almost have been able to pay for my parking tickets.

Posted by John at Wed Jun 23 2004 16:38

If SF is anything like Utah, you'll have a ticket before you finish reading this comment.

Posted by jrobbins at Thu Jun 24 2004 15:48

I feel extra cool because I've lived in socal and had no car since 1997 or so. Speaking of quick tickets, check out this problem that I gave my students: http://www.ics.uci.edu/~jrobbins/ics121s04/parking-meter-example.html

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