Sidewalk Parking Illegal -- But Tolerated by San Francisco Parking Enforcement Officers

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"Off-street parking" is a nebulous term. But it's not supposed to include the sidewalk.

That said, scenes like those above are ubiquitous on street-sweeping days. A pair of parking control officers were in the vicinity of these sidewalk-parked cars. One of them, after shooing away a car that was idling in the street-sweeping zone, confirmed to SF Weekly that parking on the sidewalk is tolerated during street-sweeping hours, so long as the driver moves the car immediately after the sweeper rolls past. The second officer independently offered the same explanation.

This may be the way things work on the street. But it flies in the face of both Muni's stated policy -- and state law.

See also: Disability Advocate: Hire Me and I'll Make the City $600K a Year

Paul Rose, Muni's spokesman, wasn't copacetic with allowing drivers to ditch their cars on the sidewalk. "You shouldn't park on the sidewalk at all," he says. "These rules are in place to ensure everyone has access. Any blockage can be cited."

The California Vehicle Code is unambiguous here. Section 2200(f) notes the following:

No person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle whether attended or unattended, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a peace officer or official traffic control device, in any of the following places: ... On any portion of a sidewalk, or with the body of the vehicle extending over any portion of a sidewalk, except electric carts when authorized by local ordinance, as specified in Section 21114.5. Lights, mirrors, or devices that are required to be mounted upon a vehicle under this code may extend from the body of the vehicle over the sidewalk to a distance of not more than 10 inches.

There's certainly something to be said for a little sensible leeway in application of the law. Not everyone driving 26 mph in the 25 zone should be popped. But depositing your station wagon on the sidewalk is a far cry from an electric vehicle's mirrors extending 11 inches onto the walkway.

It's not like the city could use the money. Right?


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4 comments
tjames
tjames

You're right it is unambiguous."_ except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a peace officer or official traffic control device, in any of the following places: ... On any portion of a sidewalk...". A street cleaner is other traffic.

joe.eskenazi
joe.eskenazi

 @tjames If a street-cleaner is other traffic, so's any car, moped, three-wheeled bicycle, or pogo stick.

 

Also, a parking control officer is not a "peace officer."

 

We can debate whether the PCOs street solution makes more sense than ticketing the parked cars on the sidewalk or asking those reading magazines in the driver's seat to move along. But I don't think you can argue that this complies with state law.

 

Best,

 

JE

prinzrob
prinzrob

 @tjames I think you misread the "except when necessary" part. I can think of a lot of other legal places to put a car besides the sidewalk as the street sweeper rolls past.

 

I'm pretty sure the section you referred to was put in place to allow an emergency vehicle to make its way through gridlock, not to coddle lazy parkers.

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