Monday, January 19, 2009

Sidewalks Are For Everyone

News from Streetsblog SF about the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired's current campaign against sidewalk parking, Sidewalks are for Everyone (SAFE).

The aim of SAFE is to discourage sidewalk parking not punishing them through enforcement measures, but by gently but pointedly reminding drivers of the consequences of their actions. I hope it works, and I commend them for making the effort.

As I type this, however, my freaking jaw is on the floor:
SFPD Sergeant Steve Quon of the Taraval Station said he's not inclined to enforce sidewalk parking, except in instances where there are significant complaints. "There are so many cars on the sidewalk on 19th Avenue, if we cited one, we'd have to cite all of them. That's a lot of citations. There's not a lot of pedestrian traffic on 19th. As you can see, there's nobody on it right now."

When it was suggested he's missing out on a lot of fine revenue, he replied: "We don't look at it that way. We can't look at it from a money factor, because it doesn't really go into our pockets. We don't get a percentage or anything." (Streetsblog SF)

My first thought is that nobody walks on 19th Avenue because there's no enforcement of parking and traffic violations. I'd have to be insane to walk on a sidewalk dotted with parked cars, along a street with one of the highest pedestrian injury and death rates in the city! Any talk of improving the situation along 19th Ave is useless if we won't even make the most bare minimum effort to enforce violations.

And the inference that PCOs have no interest in enforcing the law because they don't get a cut of the fines... what?! I'm speechless.
SFMTA spokesman Judson True assured Streetsblog San Francisco managers at the Department of Parking and Traffic (DPT) have told their employees to enforce any instance of sidewalk parking they encounter. (Streetsblog SF)
This runs counter to both Sgt Quon's statement above and to my own experience. More that once I have called the DPT hotline and reported a sidewalk parker, only to have nobody show up to cite the offender. I can go onto to see the resolution of my report, and read with my own eyes that no action was taken. If you like, you can stand on the sidewalk in front of your house on street sweeping day and watch the PCOs ticket cars parked on the street and ignore those on the sidewalk. They are clearlty not enforcing "any instance of sidewalk parking they encounter." Not even the low-hanging ones.

1 comment:

Carleigh said...

Ouch. Let's hope for some PR damage control over this. How shameful of the Sargeant! And "ouch" for all the heavy metal my blind lovers and friends have to bump into. More to come on this, I am sure!