April 27, 2010

Passive Aggressive in Noe Valley: Parking Entitlement

Could this be a sign of the times - and the growing tension around parking, parklets and traffic in Noe? We got this recent note via email from a reader:
I thought you would be amused by the sense of entitlement that oozes from this note. The writer, a driver of large silver Mercedes, parked illegally in front of my driveway of my Noe Valley residence. The driveway has a well marked red zone, yet his front tire extended beyond that and the hood of his car was a good two feet into my rather narrow driveway. Apparently he believes it is my responsibility to maneuver around him (if possible) rather than his responsibility to find a parking place where his car fits even close to legally. And apparently he cares so deeply about our “community” that he is reaching out to me with this wonderful little note. The reference to Nazi Germany is priceless – I mean I knew that the Nazis were bad, but who knew that the essence of their evil was the enforcement of parking regulations!
Text from the "NastyGram":
Find something else to do with your time -- if you can't back out of your house, you shouldn't have a license. This is a community, not Nazi Germany. Get a clue.
No idea if that curb is legally painted.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay, so it's over the top. However, I also agree with the sentiment. If you are fortunate enough to have a driveway that leads to a garage, you are one of the lucky few that has parking in our city. If someone is completely blocking your driveway, by all means call DPT. If not, be neighborly and just let it go! Also, if you have an issue with someone parking in "your" red zone, be decent and leave a note on their windshield, don't call DPT. That's plain mean.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the driver/violater had spare DPT ticket envelopes in the car to use as writing paper is a nice touch...

Oddknock said...

Anonymous 1: Wow. Just wow.
Anonymous 2: Must have a lot of unpaid tickets. Mercedes-Benz cars come with a supply of indulgences. To be fair, Nazis drove Mercedes-Benz cars, too. Ironically, the late Harry Aleo was right: Welcome to looney valley.

Anonymous said...

The parking situation around here is getting exasperating, that's for sure. People all around us (in upper Noe) are beginning to lobby the SFMTA to put up 2 hour signs, requiring permits. The thing is that the SFMTA only assigns this block by block--and waits for residents to petition rather than doing it in an orderly fashion, creating fewer and fewer spots for a growing number of cars. I fear we can expect this to get worse before it gets better.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, the homeowner did the parker a HUGE SERVICE by not having his car towed! I always just have them towed. I'm sorry, but people need to be more considerate and no, I cannot maneuver around with my 2 small children and angled driveway.

Anonymous said...

Parking in Noe is not that bad, as compared with other parts of the city. I betcha this Mercedes person could have found a spot a whole 1 block further away. C'mon folks, don't block driveways.
That being said, if you're a homeowner and you have an illegal / fake 'red zone' on your curbs, shame on you and I hope folks do put their cars just a bit into your red zone.

Anonymous said...

"I cannot maneuver around with my 2 small children and angled driveway."

What do children have to do with anything? You should be reversing at about 1 mile per hour at most. If your children are blocking your view they have the wrong car seats. Your "angled driveway" sounds impossible, unless you have a long stretch with curves. Do you mean a sloped driveway? My advice.....slow down. Back out cautiously. Give people that are struggling to find street parking a break. BTW, I have a garage and driveway to!

BLG said...

The poster of this is definitely in the wrong. You had someone ticketed illegally and should learn how to drive. Don't be a jerk, you will find that it is easier to live and let live than try to punish everybody that minutely steps in your way.

Anonymous said...

http://www.sfmta.com/cms/uploadedfiles/dpt/DrivewayFlyer%20Revised-06-06.pdf
>> use as much as possible...

towing. when you need to get out, you tow. unfortunately less expensive for the homeowner than taking a cab and asking (suing?) the parker for reimbursement (which I would rather do .. but what are the chances rude parkers would prefer to pay for a $30 ride instead of a $450 tow??? if they would, they would be considerate in the first place).

Anonymous said...

Original post hilarious — how awesome is the obliviousness of a Mercedes driver complaining about Nazi parking enforcement?!?

Anon 1 at 9:01 pm - Dude, it's not *luck* that gives ppl parking and a driveway; it's paying more for a place with a garage, whether you rent or buy. (Yes, some long-term residents (not me, alas) pay less than you - but whenever they signed their lease/bought the property, odds are that places with parking cost more than places without.) The guy hung 2 ft over the driveway; not a close call. He's lucky he didn't get towed, not least because he might have to pay off his apparently ample ticket bill to ransom his car. (And we should all be glad that the resident is using his driveway and actually putting his car in his garage; otherwise, that would be one fewer street space available for everyone.)

BLG at 10:22 - what makes this ticket illegal? The Mercedes was 2 ft into the driveway, not 2 ft into the red zone. It's irrelevant whether the red zone is legit or not bc parking in the driveway is clearly not legit.

Anon at 10:22 - you are a voice of reason. ITA: use the flyer as much as possible, tow only if you have to.

Happy parking, everyone!

Dolores Guerrero said...

To those who think the ticketer is in the wrong, perhaps you don't have a narrow driveway. I do, and I pay DPT to repaint my red zone every year. If people who parked were a little more considerate, they'd see that anyone parking even a couple inches into a narrow driveway are blocking that person from exiting. I know, I've been there and couldn't get out. So now I tow. If you're so inconsiderate that you don't notice that the only way I can get out is to drive over the cars parked on either side of my driveway (or along the sidewalk, I suppose, until I find another opening to pass through) then you deserve to be towed.

Anonymous said...

The homeowner deserves some slack here. First of all, it seems that we don't know for sure if the red curb was legal or not. Second of all, the homeowner had the right to have the car towed but didn't (if the curb was legal). Not only did the homeowner do the parker a favor by NOT towing, the homeowner hopefully got the message across to the parker that it's not okay to ignore a red curb and it's not okay to park overhanging a driveway. The same thing happens at my driveway which is very narrow on a narrow street. When there is a car parked directly across the street from my driveway AND the cars on either side of my driveway park on the red or overhanging the curb cut it is very difficult to safely exit my driveway (and my red curb is legal because DPT agreed that it is needed, yet it still allows enough room for even large cars or trucks to park legally behind it). Yet people ignore it. I have left notes on cars and I have ticketed the worst offenders, because if they are so inconsiderate as to ignore the red AND to hang a foot or more over the curb cut then a note won't matter to them. They have proven that THEY are the ones without a clue, or just don't care. Yet they have the audacity to get mad at me when they are the ones creating the problem. Yes, I am lucky to have a driveway but I also paid tens of thousands of dollars more for my house than it would have cost without it. I try to be considerate of the parkers by giving them some slack, but they need to be considerate of the driveways too. There are reasons for the red curbs.

Anonymous said...

From Anon 11:06 pm: "Second of all, the homeowner had the right to have the car towed but didn't (if the curb was legal). Not only did the homeowner do the parker a favor by NOT towing, the homeowner hopefully got the message across to the parker that it's not okay to ignore a red curb and it's not okay to park overhanging a driveway."

????? Leaving a written note might have gotten the point across, and on a long stretch could have been called a kindness. Calling DPT to provide a ticket isn't exactly neighborly, let alone a "favor".

Anonymous said...

DPW won't tow or leave a ticket if the parker isn't in the wrong.
It's just that simple. Obey the rules and you won't get a ticket.
All the whining and accusations in the world won't make an illegal parking job right.

Anonymous said...

My driveway and access to my garage cost me several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This money did not come from a trust fund. It was all hard work.
You better believe if you block my drive you'll get a ticket. I'm defending my right to one parking space in the city.
Everywhere else I have to search for a space and carefully observe the rules.

Ross said...

Who else here would lobby for those who live within two blocks of a lettered zone to be allowed to get a permit for zones? I'm living on the block from Elizabeth to 24th on Noe and we're just getting surrounded with zones we can't park in. So the only recourse now is to lobby for our block to be lettered but that further exacerbates the problem.

I think everyone here has seen people blocked in badly where towing / ticketing is the only option when they actually need access, but also have seen people getting ticketed or towed on the edge of double garages for example, where access shouldn't be an issue, or towing just because they're being blocked, even if they're not necessarily using the access. 2 feet sounds like a bunch but it's clear both sides get bitten.

Anonymous said...

Jesus. One would think you people with driveways or garages might feel fortunate, and even maybe sympathetic, to those residents without such luxuries. Instead you want to read everyone the riot act that isn't 100% in compliance with "the rules". Can you just chill out? Feel lucky to have a garage and back out more slowly. That's all it takes! If you TRULY can't get out of your driveway because it is totally blocked, then call the DPT by all means.

Dixter said...

Anonymous 11:28

If you ever do buy your own house in the City it will be interesting to see how lenient you are with your own driveway!

Anonymous said...

@anon 11:27- you are so fortunate that your hard work got you a driveway. Many people that work very, very hard every day, including your house cleaner, physician's assistant, dog walker, nanny, landscape designer, favorite restaurant chef and others still can't afford your driveway.

Ross- I am in favor of trying to figure this out. I agree with you that the situation that is being caused by certain blocks being privatized is putting everyone at odds with one another.

Anonymous said...

@Dixter- I do own a home, with a driveway and a garage. I'm also a former renter, that once went without such privileges.

cr said...

Wow, congratulations to the BMW driver for being able to generate more passionate commentary than Plazapalooza!

I'm interested in this idea that blocks that opt into the permit zoning are being "privatized" (Anon@11:37). Is that the right way to think about it? Street space is a valuable public commodity that "we" (the city public via our elected government) have to decide how to share. In neighborhoods where cars outnumber parking spaces, we have to allocate that scarce resource somehow. Residential permit zones encourage some kinds of parking over others, but I don't really see it as "privatization." It's public space that we agree to share in a different way.

Neighborhoods like the Castro, with similar population density to Noe Valley, are almost entirely covered with permit zones -- far from the commercial center -- while Noe Valley has big holes. (The map is here: http://www.sfmta.com/cms/pperm/17073.html)

If you live adjacent to a permit zone, you can get together with your neighbors and expand the zone through a petition. Ross, you suggest that's "exacerbating the problem," but couldn't it also be part of the solution? It's a dense, urban neighborhood with parking capacity above 95% on many blocks. Is it time for all of central Noe Valley to be a permit zone?

I don't have a fixed opinion on this. I'm genuinely interested to hear more. Up where I'm at (23rd & Sanchez) we're sandwiched between the Castro and Noe Valley permit zones while being part of neither, and parking is much more scarce than it was when I lived in a residential zone in the Castro. So it's a salient issue for me...

Noe Valley, SF said...

Regarding residential parking permits, please see this post.

Anonymous said...

How has this discussion turned into some kind of class warfare squabble? You guys truly are insane.

Anonymous said...

It's so funny -- we just went through this over the weekend as well. We came out of our house on Saturday afternoon to find a car hanging over our driveway by about 1 foot. Possible to maneuver around, but annoying. Hubby wanted to tow, but I convinced him that it might have been a sort of desperate situation for the driver, and we left the car be. When the car was still there Monday morning, I was the one who was more annoyed; I understand needing a space "for the night" or "just for a little while" that might inconvenience others, but leaving the car there for so long seemed rude.
We didn't tow, didn't ticket, and left a polite but tsk-tsky note and hopefully they'll think twice before doing it again.

Anonymous said...

The one time I had to get a car towed out of my driveway it was a large silver Mercedes. The sound of its car alarm going off as it was hoisted onto the truck was delicious music. I was an hour late having to wait for DPT, but it warms my heart to think maybe it was this guy.

It's pretty amazing that commenters here think the inconsiderate person is the one whose driveway is blocked.

Anonymous said...

The people here who are "annoyed" by having a car park 1 foot over their driveway are the same people who are "annoyed" about crossing Noe St. at 24th when cars are also trying to get through. They just hate being annoyed in life!

And of course, many of us have to put up with their annoying strollers and off leash dogs on 24th St when out for a walk.

They simply come off entitled, arrogant, snobbish and very very annoying.

murphstahoe said...

"Many people that work very, very hard every day, including your house cleaner, physician's assistant, dog walker, nanny, landscape designer, favorite restaurant chef and others still can't afford your driveway."

These people are commonly known to drive a large Silver Mercedes and invoke the Nazis.

Interesting question - if I am trying to back out of my driveway which is partially blocked by an illegally parked Mercedes, and I take the bumper off said Mercedes - who is liable?

Anonymous said...

I'd say if you're that stupid to not maneuver around the car, then you are liable.

BTW: how do you feel about actually owning a car? I mean, you could bike everywhere, dude, you know that don't you?

:)

murphstahoe said...

If the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems look like nails.

Dixter said...

I own a driveway. I do not have a maid, landscaper, nanny, dog walker, cook, etc. but I do have a driveway.
If you don't want to get ticketed or towed don't block it.
And quit your whining about the "upper classes" when you do.

TK said...

I pay extra money for my garage & driveway for me to use daily. If someone would like to sublet 2 feet of my driveway to offset the cost of the space & to use the space I currently pay for, I'm all ears.

Seems like when it's free to use someone else's investment, it's really easy for the beneficiaries to get mad at the investor.

rocky's dad said...

It's happened to us several times. First time someone blocks my driveway, I put a polite but firm note on the car, saying "don't do it again, next time a ticket.". if same car does it again, I tow. simple as that.

It's my driveway. Like others have said, I paid a lot of money for it. Don't block it and we're all happy.

Anonymous said...

Ever walk down Dolores Street in the evening and experience the parkers on the sidewalk? It amazes me that some have to drive down the sidewalk a pretty good ways to get to the front of their house. It's insane that anyone would even think of driving down the sidewalk. But I guess when you own a multi-million dollar home and drive a huge exotic SUV, you really don't care about others.

Anonymous said...

Well, depending upon the driveway, 2 feet is enough to make it almost impossible to get out. I know it sounds overly dramatic but I once could not get out of my driveway to take my daughter to a doctor's appt. I even went out and measured and between the two cars on each side of the driveway, both extending into the narrow space, there was no way my car--not suv, but compact car, could have fit.
And yes, I rent and pay more for my garage. No trust fund here.

Jym said...

=v= This shows a big problem with the policy that requires PCOs to respond only to complaints rather than proactively ticketing wrongdoers: the wrongdoers will direct aggression towards whomever they think called the PCO. This time it may be a note making idiotic references to Nazis; next time it could be worse.

Aggro motorists hide behind their relative anonymity. Anyone calling the DPT should record the car make, model, plate, and date and time. Digital photos are also not a bad idea, maybe even a surreptitious photo of the perp.

But seriously, the right approach is consistent and proactive enforcement. Anything short of that just encourages these jerks to have an even more bloated sense of entitlement.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it was only a matter of time before somebody broke out the "bike" card. This comment says it all about the "park anywhere" proponents:

"BTW: how do you feel about actually owning a car? I mean, you could bike everywhere, dude, you know that don't you?"

This guy defending "Mercedes guy" is classic. The irony is beautiful.

Godot said...

The Nazi comment is so offensive on so many levels it amazes me.

Please provide the plate # of the car to all here so next time we see it we can be vigilant about towing it - or abusing the brainless owner - for whatever minor reason is in evidence.

I personally will always ticket or tow cars parked by morons who can't understand that blocking my garage is a ticketable/towable offense. It doesn't matter whether I can or cannot get my car out of my garage (sometimes yes, sometimes no). There's no better way to teach them. I've gotten plenty of parking tickets for one stupid offense or another...never twice for the same one, though!

No mercy for idiots; that just begets more entitlement, which some of the posters here seem to think they deserve. Let me tell you this: you don't; neither do I.

Anonymous said...

You misread the comment. That guy was razzing on murphstahoe who commented directly above. (murphstahoe is a prominent bike advocate and, apparently, a driver as well.) So knock it off with the anti-bike hostility, because no one played the bike card.

Anonymous said...

No, you have that slightly wrong. the poster was referring to the idiocy of someone maybe "taking the bumper off a car" cause they couldn't back their own car slightly around it.

and let's be clear: murphstahoe is more than a bike advocate. He is a bike anarchist, constantly preaching, harping and ranting that we ALL should be living just like him and riding only a bike anywhere. I just had to clear that up.

murphstahoe said...

Calling me a "prominent" bike advocate is an insult to actual prominent bike advocates.

Calling me a bike anarchist?? An insult to Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten.

whir said...

Yeah, well that's an insult to Emma Goldman!

Anonymous said...

Our family has two cars and a narrow driveway that only one car can park in. People often hang way into the driveway. I used to just put a note on a car but that often get stuffed back through our mail slot. So now I ticket when the person is well into my driveway -- I really don't see why I should be expected to go around them and risk scraping my car.
On the other hand in the seven years I have been parking on the streets I have never been ticketed for blocking someone else's driveway. Maybe it is because I show a modicum of consideration.
Really, it is not that difficult to avoid blocking driveways and people who can't figure out how to park considerately and legally need to grow up.

Anonymous said...

I am the one who had the Mercedes ticketed. The spot is legally painted red by DPT. The spot is quite small and normally only very small cars attempt to park there -- and even those are technically illegally parked because they extend into the red. However, we only ticket if someone stays for awhile and is well into the flat part of the driveway.
I am surprised by the people who think it is wrong to ticket in this situation. I don't think I should have to back up with just an inch or two of margin in order to get out of my driveway. The curb is clearly marked and the laws on the matter are explicit.
If you want me to me "neighborly" then maybe you should not block my driveway.
If you think I am a "jerk", maybe you should consider that you are a jerk for blocking my driveway.
Living in a City is a lot more pleasant if people follow the rules and show consideration for others. If you flagrantly violate the rules, because you think your need to park right now is more important than my need to be able to back up safely, then you should not be surprised if you get ticketed.
It seems to me that there are a lot of selfish people making a lot of very self-serving assumptions about me, the neighborhood etc. in these posts.
Please chill out and respect your neighbors.
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Can you people please stop wasting your time on worrying about who's parked in front of a driveway and start worrying about bigger issues w/ our neighborhood like people being stabbed to death, car break ins, armed robbery on the J Church at 27th St, etc? My friend was robbed at gun point awhile back at Church and 27th in the evening. If we focused all our energy on the real problems w/in our community and learn to work together we might actually end up being more considerate of one another. This should be one of the safer neighborhoods in the city. We spend too much time bickering with each other instead of fighting those from outside the neighborhood who wish to do us harm.

Just some food for thought.

Hands of Fire said...

My family and I have had this problem for YEARS, there is a tiny space between our driveway and next door's driveway and SUV's insist on parking there. We've left notes to be nice at first, but the same cars were left...sometimes all week. Of course, somehow they always block our side (the side sprayed red from the DPT). Tickets are given out often (even though we could legally have people towed for blocking) and we've had people angrily knock on our door and argue about why they got a ticket. What if there's an emergency and I'm blocked in? What if I had plans to go out later? It's horrible. If you know you're blocking, at least leave a note that you're up the street at Eric's having dinner and a cell phone number so can tell you if you need to move. But no, you block us in, and then get pissed off that people can't go around YOU! what has Noe Valley come to?

rocky's dad said...

@anon 9:32am: good point. much appreciated.

There's also been way too much time devoted to that Noe plaza issue. For many of us, it's basically a complete waste of time and money. We don't need a place to sit in the MIDDLE of a street.

And the money for this temp plaza will NOT be lost down the drain if it is not used specifically here. Tax payer supported grants like this do not just disappear if not used. The money can go to such things are fighting crime in Noe, orother safety issues, or spend the money on a neighborhood much less fortunate than ours. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The only waste of time is all of the energy wasted on blocking a temporary trial. The plaza itself can be installed basically overnight. And if "many of us" don't like it, then it will disappear overnight.

As for the money, you don't really seem to understand how city budgets work. Thank you.

murphstahoe said...

Serenity now.

Anonymous said...

Ok, then explain to us all, in very clear terms...how city budgets work. I don't pretend to be an expert on city budgets, so please clarify.

Say, if the actual dollars allocated to this particular P2P project are not used, don't tell me the money literally disappears off the books. It doesn't. It is re-positioned somewhere.

murphstahoe said...

If the money is not used for this project, it goes back to Pavement to Parks, and will be used for - and only for - another P2P project somewhere else. In theory, it could be used to put a plaza/parklet somewhere else in Noe Valley - but we'd have to get back in line and we would then have a history of turning down money (for better or for worse).

There is no way that the P2P money will somehow end up being redirected to another budget within the city to fight crime or homelessness or fix MUNI or plant trees. This program is bringing the city international exposure (that is a quote from Andres Power - I didn't make that up). You may or may not think that is important, but the only person whose opinion counts on that matter is Gavin Newsom.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's a good line: " we would have a history of turning down money..."

Now the sky really is falling.

Anonymous said...

Wow,
I can't believe all the comments I just read "supporting" the Mercedes inconsiderate, arrogant and bottom line, illegal parking. I mean isn't that what you are doing when you make it the responsibility of the person whose driveway is blocked to work around the Mercedes? Where are you calling the Mercedes to be responsible to his fellow neighbors by parking legally and appropriately?
I have waited in a rainstorm for an hour and a half for a car completely blocking my drive to be towed so I could get into my garage. The owner got there before DPT arrived having just had a lovely dinner at Erics. No apology, just got in their car and drove away. I have no sympathy for other people choices or whining when those choices have consequences!

Anonymous said...

Hey people...rules are rules. Do you want to be blocked in by cars parked too close to yours, so you have to manuever on the sidewalk to get out. Driveways are there to allow cars to get out of the driveway. Do not park in front of them. So pretentious to assume the owner of the driveway can't drive because the BMW is parked illegally. Drive around, like I do and find a parking space. The walk will do you good.