Parking Ticket U – the process of learning parking through parking ticket lessons

If you have a car, parking is vital.

But if you move to a big city like San Francisco or New York, especially coming in from a rural or suburban area, you simply are not prepared for the complex and tricky parking situation in the big city.

The process of learning how and when to park in a big city is what I call Parking Ticket University.

The professors are the parking enforcement officers.

The curriculum consists of all the different ways you can get a parking ticket, with extra credit being learning secret places to park.

Being in the business of helping people avoid parking tickets, I know that most people really don’t care about parking itself – but they do care about getting parking tickets.

I know from asking around that the typical person runs up $1000 or more in the first year of moving into a city like San Francisco or New York, and this number can be greatly larger if the learning process includes tows or boots.

How many ways can you get a parking ticket?

See here: can help you avoid this “learning experience” – look in the Android Market or Apple App store for TKT STPR.

What’s your Parking Ticket U experience?

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TKT STPR live in iOS and Android app stores

TKT STPR is officially released!

Please see these demos to see how TKT STPR can help you avoid parking tickets, see where open spaces are, and in general reduce the hassle of parking in San Francisco

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Parking Radar about to be released

The beta period for TKT STPR/ is about to end.

From user feedback, we’ve added the following features:

1) Parking Radar: given a user specified period of time, the app will process the parking rules to show only those areas which are safe to park for that period of time.

No more wondering if that open spot is open…for a reason.

2) SFPark sensor data incorporated. If a given area has parking sensors, TKT STPR will show the number of open spots as detailed by

3) Alerts now are a combination of in-phone and either SMS or email. For iOS, these are iCal entries while for Android there will be a background alerter process.

As before there is full support for street sweeping, tow away zones, meters, residential zones, inclines, and the 72 hour rule.

Some screen shots:

Oh yes, iPad is supported.

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Fastest Parking Ticketer in the West?

The San Francisco Chronicle had this blurb:

Sergeant Greenfield notes he’s given 500 parking tickets in a day. Assuming 8 hours in a day, that’s more than 1 a minute.

Pretty efficient.

But I’m pretty sure this is nowhere near the norm. Looking at the overall number of parking tickets and the number of parking enforcement officers, the average seems more like 80 parking tickets a day: 1.5+ million parking tickets given out in 2008, 80 enforcement officers working 250 days each in a year.

If the average were only pulled up to 200 parking tickets per day, that would mean either half as many parking enforcement officers or twice as many parking tickets, or more likely some combination of both.

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Booting Call

Ever been booted?

That’s where you have been issued 5 or more outstanding unpaid tickets, and then Boot Patrol finds you.

This is what it looks like

The Ankle Tracker of Cars

And while getting booted is usually because you forgot how many tickets you still had unpaid, sometimes it is because you got more then one.

In this case, our unlucky boot-ee actually was issued 2 different tickets, one at 12:41 am and 12:42 am.

Some situations where you can get more than 1 parking ticket at a given time (10 minutes or less):

Expired meter, plus street sweeping, plus incline parking (that’s 3 out of your limit of 5 already).

Commercial meter, plus incline parking.

Street sweeping, plus 72 hour rule.

I’ve never seen the latter, but it is theoretically possible to get both booted and towed because being booted does not mean you are immune from further tickets.

In this case, this person is still exposed to getting more street sweeping and residential zone overtime.

Getting booted sucks. And it costs quite a bit of money:

$280 as of July 1, 2011

Note boots cannot be removed on weekends and holidays.

The good news is you can pay for your boot removal 24 hours: either from 8 am to 5 pm during normal working hours at the SFMTA office at Van Ness and Market, or on 7th street between Bryant and Harrison (the AutoReturn towing facility).

Avoid getting the Boot!


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A Handicapped Sticker is not a Get Out of Jail Free card for parking

If you’ve walked past a row of meters, sometimes it seems that every other car has a handicapped sticker on it.

Handicapped stickers are quite beneficial in the city: they allow the handicapped person to park without regard to residential time limits, nor have to pay for tolls.

However, they are not ‘Get Out of Parking Tickets’ cards.

For example:

Notice this car I walked by the other day.

He has an actual handicapped license plate as opposed to the normal placard, so this individual isn’t even a ‘broke leg while skiing’ or some such of temporary handicap stick eligibility.

But do you notice what else there is?

Here it is:

That white number on the upper left windshield – that’s from being towed. Once you’re towed, the San Francisco Tow operator puts a number like so using some type of rubberized marker.

This number can’t be washed off. Even using fingernails is extremely difficult. You have to pretty much break out a scraper or some type of solvent to remove this mark.

So the handicapped owner of this car was towed, likely recently.

Despite having a handicapped license plate, you can still get towed for parking in a tow-away zone.

You can still get ticketed for street sweeping violations. I haven’t seen it myself, but I would not be surprised if you can get an incline (curb wheels) violation as well, and likely parking at commercial meters also.

The only thing the handicapped sticker does for you is skipping paying into normal parking meters and ignoring residential parking time limits – but these are only 2 of the more than 8 categories of parking tickets you can receive.

Oh, and you can of course park in the handicapped parking spaces that are occasionally available.

Work is getting wrapped up on the new TKT STPR app – keep an eye on this space for details.

Among other things: the app will allow you to see actual numbers of open spots at SFPark meters…

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This is going to be very cool (I think)

I can’t talk about it too much, but we’re implementing a new feature for TKT STPR which I think will really make a difference.

While we already can help you avoid parking tickets via reminders, we’re now putting together a system which will allow you to know which spots are ‘safe’.

Correct by Construction.

It isn’t going to replace the reminder system – for one thing, we can’t remind you to curb your wheels or check for commercial meters with this new feature – but it is going to make the app much friendlier and intuitive.

Check back here for more details, hopefully soon.

As noted before, we’ve incorporated the SFPark Skynet sensor data live – and this feature will make use of that along with our proprietary database to offer even more value.

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