Are you fed up with parking tickets in San Francisco?

Phil Ting's picture

The City Hall solution to help close the budget gap is to require parking control officers to write more and more tickets. 

We all know we need to generate revenue to support important services like better schools, a reliable MUNI and a safer city. But we’re not going to close the budget gap with regressive plans like writing more tickets. We should be investing in real solutions that reflect our progressive values, like reforming Proposition 13.

Parking Ticket Petition

Do you think San Francisco should be turned into a parking trap? Sign our petition and share your thoughts and ideas below - and publish your comments on Facebook, too.

Ben Shore's picture

There must be a better way

While I don't drive in The City, I know many people who do. They feel like they are being unfairly targeted and punished for the simple fact that their jobs and/or lives prohibit them from riding public transportation as much as they - and The City - would like. Not to mention that this idea to write more tickets is almost a bit of luck of the draw for residents. Some people are going to avoid tickets for the same things others are getting tickets for - just because of where a parking enforcement officer might be at the time.

Beyond that, just the simple idea that San Franciscans are being asked to to supplement an agency that mis-projected it's own revenue (MTA assumed they would receive $99 million from tickets and fell about $7 million below that, I believe) is ridiculous. Thanks for taking this on, Phil, it's an important issue. There must be a better way to find new revenue sources that writing more and more parking tickets.

dmw's picture

Sustainability Over Citations

I understand the rational behind the city's push for revenue, but to rebuild an economy based on illegal behavior is a short-term push answer to an issue needing a sustainable solution.

A surge of parking citations is going to clog the city's bureaucracy and aggravate citizens at a time when things are already moving slower than needed and citizens are predisposed to political frustrations.

Thank you for spearheading this effort, Phil. Now, let's circulate this petition and brainstorm alternatives.


ijc's picture

Put your thinking caps on!


As a resident and a student in San Francisco I’ve heard countless stories from fellow San Franciscans about how awful parking is in this City, nonetheless that parking tickets are already given out like candy to kids on Halloween.

It is relevant that the City desires to close the budget gap, however increasing parking ticket distribution will only result in a negative out-poring from the people it effects. Thus, separating the gap between the people and the City officials when we really need everyone to come together at this time and find a better way to solve issues.

There needs to be a resourceful and sustainable way to redeem our cities revenue, and luckily this is an information-sharing hub so put your thinking caps on SF and lets get some ideas flowing!

You have a voice, make it heard!

MartinZehr's picture

Tow, tow, tow your car; Gently down the street.

It is a disgrace that the city officials choose to antagonize residents to the degree that it does. No one can leave their house without being worried about coming home with a ticket. I go to Tanforan Mall rather than shop in San Francisco. Whoever is making money on this deal, it is not people who live here. I had family come to visit and had to go pick up my car at the impound lot. I look forward to the day that there is a safe mass transit system in the city, but do not think the way to get it is to declare war on residents. Parking fines are the tip of the iceberg to placate a city bureaucracy that continues to be provided with a guaranteed annual income, while the rest of us are trying to keep our heads above water. Forcing cars onto San Francisco streets from the freeways and then collecting tolls and fines once they are channeled into the city is the result of a city government that continues to posture as if it was doing the world a favor. 

adpostal's picture


Issuing more parking tickets seems to be more of a "band-aid" solution to a problem that has deeper roots in poor revenue-raising policies by the city.  Issuing parking tickets just because the police need to reach a certain number leads to a ticket for the most minor things.  Imagine if everyone followed the parking laws, then no tickets would be issued.  Then what would the city do? Closing the Prop 13 loophole for businesses and budgeting our money more effectively will help the city close its budget gap more effectively than issuing more tickets.

CJC's picture

Yeah, everyone seems to be on

Yeah, everyone seems to be on the same page on this one. 

I am not actually opposed to parking tickets. I am not even against expensive parking tickets. People should follow traffic laws so long at they are fair and do not place an unfair and unavoidable burden on residents. We should try and create a city that isn't dominated by the motor vehicle. However, that parking ticket revenue should be framed as a way to balance the city budget is laughable!

If the point of parking tickets is to provide a deterrent to illegal parking, then the measure of success of tickets in the long term is no illegal parking. This would of course result in zero revenue. So the city council, if successful would manage to increase their budget deficit....hmmmm.

Good luck Phil, I think everyone is behind you on this. Lets get some long-term, sensible solutions to budget problems and not, as adpostal says, use band-aids on flesh wounds. 

Eric Jaye's picture

Why the city needs to be so sneaky

Agree it undermines the basic credibility of government to turn an enforcement function into a revenue function.  But we do need to have some sympathy for the government officials who feel forced to do this.

California laws make it so hard to raise revenue and now so hard to raise fees that the government is resorting to these kinds of end arounds. 

Of course, new revenue isn't the only answer. But it is one of the answers. So while we mobilize against things like the "parking trap" we also need to take a hard look at how San Francisco is going to get approval for new funds, when new funds are necessary. 

Juan Carlos Sanchez's picture

Maybe MTA got the message...

So, I must admit, I park my car on my neighborhood street for much more than three days. I mean, who has the time to be moving their car during the week if they are doing the responsible thing and commuting to work?

Well, last night - after not having moved my car for almost three weeks - I received not a ticket...but a warning. Serioulsy - a warning. The note said my car "may" be in violation and "may" be subject to a ticket. So, of course, I moved my car a few blocks down.

I hope this is standard practice. If not, well, maybe MTA got our message that turning San Francisco into a "parking trap" is not the answer to fix budget deficits.

JoshuaJames's picture

San Francisco city government's conflicting values

It just seems like the incentives and disincentives the city creates around transportation are in constant conflict.

On one hand, MUNI is subsidized in an effort to make ridership affordable, to ease congestion and to reduce our carbon foot print as a city...

...but on the other hand it's often cheaper and more efficienct to drive around the city. It's faster, more convenient, and you don't have to worry about leaving your car on the curb and subjecting yourself to a never ending barage of tickets - streetsweeping, curbed wheels, 2 hour parking, construction zones... who wants to bother? I'd rather pay $10 to park in a garage than face multiple parking tickets starting at $55 a pop.

It's easy to argue that people should just not own cars and if they do, they should be subject to every fine imaginable. I find that argument essentially classist. Public transportation in San Francisco is limited at best, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of people who have no other choice than to use a car to commute in or out of the city for work. Some people can honestly afford the fines, and many people (many of them without public transportation readily available) cannot. I thought we as San Franciscans were supposed to be attuned to those less fortunate than ourselves?

I have to ask, does the city government's left hand know who the right hand is slapping across the face?

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137