Seemingly every motorist in San Francisco has a tale of being unfairly ticketed by an overzealous parking control officer.
Fewer drivers though have as much exonerating evidence available as Beth Chen, a Forest Hill resident who was recently hit with a $62 ticket that accuses her of overstaying a two-hour time limit near the Stonestown YMCA.
Chen was nailed with the citation April 22, a day she started off by getting her Toyota cleaned at Westlake Touchless Car Wash on 87th Street in Daly City. She grabbed a receipt that is time stamped for 9:24 a.m. before driving into The City and parking her vehicle on 21st Avenue in San Francisco, about a two-minute walk from the Stonestown YMCA on Eucalyptus Drive.
But when she returned to her vehicle, she noticed a citation, alerting her that she had been fined $62 for overstaying the time limit posted on the street.
Convinced she had been unjustly targeted, Chen reviewed the details of the ticket. The parking control officer asserted that Chen had been parked since 9:36 a.m., and the citation was issued at noon.
But Chen had the receipt at Touchless indicated when she paid for the 20-minute car wash, and the drive from Daly City to the Stonestown YMCA accounted for another 12to 15 minutes. Chen said she arrived at her spot at 10:25 a.m., and her entrance at the Y was recorded by her membership card as 10:29 a.m. That would make a two-hour violation at noon pretty much impossible.
“I’ve heard of over-aggressive parking control officers, but this ticket is proof that someone just flat-out lied,” said Chen. “I don’t know if it was because it was the end of the month and they needed to meet some quota, but this is just flat out wrong.”
Chen, who has formally protested the ticket, said another woman complained of getting ticketed for the same offense on that day.
Paul Rose, spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said there is a chance that Chen’s car picked up marking chalk from a vehicle that had parked earlier in the spot. He said that the parking control officer who issued the ticket has no history of prior complaints.
Rose added that any motorist who wants to contest a ticket should mail in their protest to the agency center on 11 S. Van Ness Ave., or they can drop off the written appeal in person. Any documents, such as receipts, will be taken into consideration by the agency, he said.