Parking in San Francisco is of course a tricky beast. Sometimes it feels like the rules change around you — what was once a 72-hour zone now needs a neighborhood sticker, for example. Checking for temporary street closures or new restrictions every time one parks is a standard precaution in a city with so many races, fairs, and tourist attractions. But what if the game changes while you're parked? That's what one woman claims, saying that she parked her car in a legal spot only to have SFMTA paint a red zone around it. And you can bet a meter maid then ticketed her.
"I parked there because it was not red," Rebecca Derenthal told ABC 7 of her July 11 decision to leave her car on Franklin Street near Lombard Street. With her neighborhood sticker, and, as she told the Examiner, an eye toward street sweeping, she thought nothing of leaving her car while she went out of town on a five-day business trip.
Of course, leaving one's car in the same on-street space for over 72 hours is a ticketable offense, however it's one pretty much every driver in the city has committed. And so off Derenthal went — but while she was away with business, SFMTA was getting down to business right at home.
As the above and below photos show, and as confirmed by SFMTA officials to ABC 7, city workers then painted a red zone on the curb next to Derenthal's vehicle. (Note: they were kind enough to avoid getting any paint on her tire.) Parking enforcement officers soon gave her a $110 red-zone ticket — not, as she is quick to point out, a ticket for parking in one spot for more than 72 hours.
Like a normal person, Derenthal appealed the ticket and was outraged when her appeal was rejected. "They basically just said the protest was denied and I still had to pay the fine," she explained.
Upon learning of the situation, SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose suggests the specifics of the tickets aren't that relevant. "According to the California vehicle code, you can't park in the same location for more than 72 hours," he told the channel. "She did protest the citation. She was told her protest was denied for these reasons."
Derenthal, for her part, plans to appeal again. And as to those arguing on Reddit that she should be grateful she didn't get even more tickets for parking her car in one spot for so long? She has a thoughtful response:
"[Today I learned] that I missed the point of my own [Reddit] post, and that it wasn't about being ticketed for a previously non existent red zone but that I was should be grateful I wasn't towed for parking there for over 72 hours when in fact parking over 72 hours happens all over this city and it was not in fact what I was ticketed for," she writes. "Fucking idiots."