The City of Parking Horror.

San Francisco is one amazing city… and one of horror, for those of us who have to use street parking. People who lack access to a garage suffer the consequences of a city government’s lack of empathy and understanding. For a city that prides itself on being highly compassionate and advanced, the current street parking situation is none of the above. To the contrary, it is arbitrary and abusive, showing the darker side of beautiful San Francisco, and far away from the municipal transportation authority’s goal to “improve quality of life.”

Towing Signs

Your Car Will Be Towed.

Yes it will! And when it happens, say goodbye to your hard earned money. The big shots at City Hall show no mercy. They do not take into consideration the impact that such extreme measures have in your life. Worst, they are convinced there is no fault with the imposed restrictions. Fuck that!

Lack of street parking is a serious issue. Of course, the wealthy, the influential, and the beautiful do not care –they do not have to deal with it. Well, forget the last phrase, nothing wrong with being fortunate –and I would not want to sound resentful. I want to speak loud enough for people to get it. Get What?

Get It People.

It is horrific to go day after day having to:

  • Spend half-hour or more driving around to find a parking spot.
  • Worry about moving your car early in the morning, or every two hours, or every whatever time the sign says. As if living in the city is not complicated enough these days. Not getting a ticket becomes a priority in one’s life. Fuck that too.
  • Remember all the signs in the streets. Did it say 4pm? Or was it 5? Is it street cleaning on Monday, or Tuesday? One way or another, the parking authority will make you prey to a parking ticket.

City of Parking Horror. 10 Scary Examples.

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  1. Having to create a strategy to park in the right place at the right time, to avoid a costly ticket. Park your car there for the allowed two hours, and move it over there for a few hours. Park six blocks from home where your car can stay long hours. Stressed out? Who cares?
  2. Signs everywhere alerting you not to park in most parts of the city, at many times, over different times, for one or another excuse, or this or that reason, most of the time; otherwise, parking citation for you. Overwhelming.
  3. Parking citation fees are outrageous: $65, $75, $103. You don’t pay on time? Double it! Contest it? Good luck.
  4. Parking agents’ little flashing carts, driving in a hurry to get you!  I swear to God, sometimes they make me think of the Gestapo. Scary.
  5. The towing truck logo in red, threatening that your car will be towed –and it will, if you’ve parked in the wrong place. Mind you if you suffer memory loss, undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder, or if you are stressed out because you are late. You will be towed. Didn’t you see the signs?
  6.  Abundance of construction projects and permit’s numbers on signs over buckets, or over that wood thing –whatever they are called, indicating you can’t park for months or a year in two or five or ten spots of the street you live. 24 hours a day. Horrific.
  7. The Department of Public Works giving “No Stopping” permits to too many, for as long as they want  –the heck with how the restrictions impact people who live in the area and rely on-street parking. Awful.
  8. Neighbors who lie and say they are having construction projects so that they can put a sign on a bucket that reads, “Tow-Away, No Stopping.” How does fixing a bathroom and kitchen gives you 3 months of such signs, and 2 parking spots in front of your building? I actually found this out. Disgusting.
  9.  Getting ready for work in the morning to find out that your car has been booted. The yellow thing they put on one of the tires, preventing the car from moving, is completely abusive. How can you stop someone from using their own car? Authoritarianism…and $385 plus all the tickets that you bad-person, have not paid.
  10. Planning to go out in the evening, and when you are out all pretty and ready to party, your car is not in the spot around the block where you parked earlier. Oh God. You were not supposed to park between 4pm and 6pm. The bus driver probably took a photo of your car, reported you and BAM! You are towed! Tyranny…and $487, but only if you pick it up within 4 hours.

Punish the cars, not the car drivers.

I know that some San Franciscans would prefer a city without cars so that our planet is better –me too. I also know that other transportation options that add to our health and create community. But we are not fully there yet. Meanwhile, thousands of cars continue being sold every year, and that shows the need to have them.

Local governments see parking tickets, booting, and towing as a way to get revenue. Let’s be honest the city makes very good money out of citations. Does anybody cares about the impact parking tickets, booting and towing have on the mental and financial health of the people in San Francisco?

Why aren’t we speaking up about this?

Good question. I know my answers; I have heard conspiracy theories. I leave it up to you, dear reader, to answer this out.


Text and Pictures by Lupita Peimbert.
Lupita is a writer and long-time Bay Area resident. She moved to San Francisco a few weeks ago and parks on the street. Her car was broken into twice, her laptop stolen; her car was towed, A La San Francisco!