6 Tips to Avoid Parking Tickets in San Francisco

It does not take rocket science to know that finding parking in San Francisco is never easy. Finding legal parking in San Francisco is even more complicated, and as parking citations in SF can be an expensive affair, we don't want that right. So how can you park legally in San Francisco without having to pay any expensive parking citations? Just follow some of the basic parking rules, and remember some of the tips we mention in this article, and you are good to go. The only other alternative you can consider is pre-booking your parking in San Francisco through websites like Way.com. Having a basic understanding of the San Francisco parking rules is the first thing that will help you stay away from expensive parking tickets. Keeping an eye out for time limits can save even more dollars. Without any further ado, let's dive straight into the essential tips to avoid parking tickets in San Francisco.   

1. Pay attention to the parking signboards.  

Now when it comes to having tickets issued on your parked cars, some things are unavoidable, and there are things that can be avoided. One thing that can help you avoid parking citations is paying attention to the parking signboards in San Francisco before leaving your parking spot. All traffic signboards usually mention restrictions (if any) and the maximum legal duration of parking. If you pay attention to these signboards, you can easily park legally, avoiding parking tickets for a designated time. The parking enforcement in San Francisco is quite vigilant and won't hesitate to put tickets in San Francisco if you fail to move your car when the time limit expires.  

2. Remember the magic number 72  

Yes, you read it right. 72 is your favorite number to remember when it comes to parking in San Francisco. Even if you are parking spot does not have any restrictions mentioned like residential parking permit zones, street sweeping restrictions, or similar time limits, you can only park your car for a maximum of 72 hours. Any parking that crosses the 72-hour limit will be cited for overtime parking violations. Initially, the parking enforcement will issue a warning in the form of a marking notice affixed to the vehicle's windshield for the first time before moving into expensive parking citations. As long as you move your vehicle out before the 72-hour limit expires, you'll be safe from parking tickets.  

3. Track parking permits and street sweeping schedule 

San Francisco is a city that has permits like Residential Parking Permits (RPP) and street sweeping schedules in effect. If you are new to street sweeping schedules and RPP, make sure you do enough research on both before venturing into the city. For starters, Residential Parking Permit or RPP refers to special permits that allow parking, specifically to cars that have valid RPP markings on them throughout the entire block. You can either choose to park one block away or at least one-tenth of a mile away if you don't want parking enforcement officers issuing expensive parking tickets. Street sweeping schedules are usually mentioned in signboards next to the parking spaces. If you don't see a parking sign or have issues reading a signboard, you can call 311 and report the same.    

4. If you have a driveway, park there!  

More than a tip to avoid parking citations in San Francisco, this is more of a parking hack that can save you lots of stress. Unless you are familiar with the rules and regulations of parking in San Francisco, you would not necessarily know that it is okay to park in your own driveway. As long as you make sure that no portion of your vehicle extends over the sidewalk or onto the road, you are safe from all kinds of parking violations. If you are a resident of San Francisco who has his/her car registered to the building's address that you are parking in San Francisco, you are allowed to park parallel to the curb or street and even block their own driveway.   

5. Know your parking curb colors  

The city of San Francisco features a colored curb program that features different colored curbs and meters. Each curb's color designates to the type of parking restrictions for a particular spot and its maximum time limit. If you are unsure about what each curb colors refers to, here is an essential guide to keeping an eye out for with reference to what each color stands for:  

Red – No parking zones – usually located near fire hydrants, bus stops, and the edge of driveways.  

White – Loading zones – 5-minute parking zones for passenger loading and unloading.  

Green - 10-minute parking zones – usually located in front of dry cleaners, florists, and ATMs  

Yellow - No parking zones – reserved for commercial loading and unloading  

Blue – Disabled parking zones – parking reserved for individuals with disabilities  

6. Remember general parking etiquettes  

Following general parking etiquette while parking usually ends in no parking citations for most cases. If you are a driver who generally takes time to ensure good parking practices like parking in designated zones within limits and respect other cars, the chance is pretty low for you to end up with parking citations. When you are parking in San Francisco, a busy city full of cars, always remember to leave at least 18 inches of space between cars when parking parallel. Never park with bumpers touching the car parking next to you. Parked cars might still need access to trunks and doors. If a parking space does not have painted lines, it does not necessarily mean that you should park as you please. In a city like San Francisco, where there are more cars than parking spaces, always park close to other parking vehicles so that more cars can utilize the parking in San Francisco.   

If you still have trouble finding parking in San Francisco, it is high time you start considering pre-booking your San Francisco parking before heading out. Most of the parking lots listed on websites like Way.com offer affordable rates and secure parking features like contactless parking for rates as low as $2 per hour.
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