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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.


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