April 24, 2009

Parking: Noe Valley As Bad As North Beach?

The Examiner has a...um...hard-hitting interview with David LaBua, author of Finding the Sweet Spot — The Insider’s Guide to Parking in San Francisco. While there is some good information on Labua's website, we're not sure that he's the go-to guy for parking in San Francisco. When asked which neighborhood has the most difficult parking he replies: "It depends on the day and the time. North Beach on a Saturday night is difficult and Noe Valley is tricky." Huh.

[SFE: David LaBua takes us inside parking in The City]
[David Labua: Official Site]


David LaBua said...

Hi Neighbor,

I agree that the published excerpts of the SF Examiner interview aren't exactly hard-hitting, but I don't think that is the intent of their "3-minute interview". Most every neighborhood in the City is potentially an enormous pain in the butt to find parking in. However, if one is really smart about it, and at times clever and creative, it isn't really that hard to find a place to park.

There are so many things I have uncovered in the last few years of my research for the book, that just couldn't be conveyed in a friendly nice-to-meet-you 3 minute interview. But I really encourage you to explore the website some more, check out the book, drop me a line, share a tip I haven't thought of, and have some fun in this game of parking. The DPT, is a formidable and persistent opponent.

NBC recently did a segment on the book, and they timed me to see how quickly I could find parking spots in places like North Beach, by the Ball Park, and in the Financial District. It was actually a good test for both me and the usefulness and integrity of the book. The strategies and rules I write about held up to their test.

If employing the strategies in the book simultaneously, along with secret go to golden spots, the stress of finding parking can be greatly reduced. You sound like a seasoned parker and probably don't stress much about parking and probably don't get any parking tickets...but someone is getting them as the numbers show.

How much do you think the City makes on parking tickets per year? Anyone who guesses this number...honestly... I will send a book for free, because when I first heard the number, I was way off. It blew me away.

The City makes over One Hundred Million Dollars a year on parking citations. That's $2 Million per week, $250,000 per day, or $600 dollars per minute during the business day. But wait, there's more. How many cars do you think are towed per year...in San Francisco? Over 100,000 vehicles per year.

So, let me say a bit about avoiding parking tickets really quickly.

Every ticket is avoidable...really. If you get a parking ticket, it should have been because you rolled the dice and took a calculated risk, for some good reason, like being on time for a first date (which by the way is how I got towed for the first and only time in my life, but that's another story to be told perhaps in my next Examiner Interview). You should never come back to your car and have a ticket on it, without knowing that it was a possibility.

Knowing the laws is imperative. All of them. The City needs your cash, and is enforcing everything...including laws which were previously not enforced laws such as: wrong-way parking on narrow streets, the 72-hour law, the 100 foot law, the 1/8 of a mile law, and the 3% law.

Carrying an SFMTA smart meter card with you at all times also reduces your chances of getting a ticket enormously. they are becoming more popular, but many people still don't know about them. I put a link to be able to buy them online on the tips page of the website.

The average enforcement officer covers a 10x5 square block area, so to just duck in for a minute, and come back with your car towed is not a freak occurrence, but quite common. DPT employs strategies that are clever (such as using chalk as a decoy while entering in your license plate and block number into a computer...you remove the chalk, and come back to your car with a 2-hour citation, and also $100 citation for removing the chalk, and possibly a citation for not curbing your wheels "correctly" to boot.

Another great tip is to know your license plate. The best reason for this is because a common trick for creative scofflaws is to take their parking citation and put it on a similar make and model car in the neighborhood, hoping they don't know their own license plate, shake their fist, and just pay the ticket.

I would imagine that as a DPT officer, giving someone three tickets at once must make the day a little more interesting. But, I have to say, that the interviews I have done with them have been very pleasant. They really are one of the nicest groups of people I have met. And to pass on a little info, they really do have feelings, and nobody likes being mistreated, so if you got the ticket legitimately, don't take it out on them....bring it to your therapist.

Another great tip is to know your license plate number. The best reason for this is because a common trick for creative scofflaws is to take their parking citation and put it on a similar make and model car in the neighborhood, hoping that the unsuspecting person doesn't know their own license plate, and just pays the ticket. So, if you don't know your license plate, put it into your cell phone.

Well, I think my 3 minutes are up....ha ha. Thanks for the feedback and compliments on the website. I'm sorry the interview wasn't more in-depth. But come on down to Green Apple Books at 506 Clement St tomorrow the 25th at 4 pm. I'm going to be giving a little talk about the book, and the topic, and I am sure that it will be a lively, intelligent and extremely fun and funny time.

Hope you have a great weekend,

David LaBua

kitchen bitch said...

I have been living in Noe Valley for 5 years. I live right on 24th Street and park my car a few times a day on the street. I very rarely need to go outside a one block radius from 24th Street to park. The only time that has happened is during the recent construction and sometimes on Saturday when Noe is busy.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in North Beach and live in Noe Valley now and there is NO comparison. I've spent 45 minutes on occasion looking for a space in North Beach and never more than 5 in NV. It's like parking heaven.