A parking solution

Parking was blocked at 2615 California Street for years.

Parking was blocked at 2615 California Street for years.


I have walked the streets of Pacific Heights for years with my beloved dog, Bubba, and I have been noticing something getting worse: “No Stopping” signs are sprouting all over the streets, especially on Sacramento, Steiner and Fillmore.

There are two problems with what the two responsible city agencies — the Department of Public Works (DPW) and Parking and Traffic Control (P&TC) — are doing. DPW is charged with putting up these signs for construction work and P&TC is tasked with putting up moving signs.

The problem with DPW signs is that they are too generous with the number and hours posted. Some do not allow parking until 6 p.m., while some forbid it on Saturdays. I have observed that construction work almost always ends by 4 p.m. and almost never occurs on Saturdays.

Signs also stay up too long. An example is the 2200 block of Steiner. The Water Department had about 10 signs put up in December, January and February. They didn’t come to do the work until the end of February. They closed off the block and completed the work in about four hours.

Sometimes they don’t take the signs down when they complete their work.

A few years ago a contractor redoing curb cuts on Fillmore left before finishing the job. After several 311 calls to DPW, the work was still not completed. It took a call from Supervisor Mark Farrell’s office to get the work completed. DPW realized that their supervisors were not supervising the work and depended on the computer to see if the work was completed.

My recommendations:

• DPW should make almost every sign effective 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• Determine how many signs are really needed.

• Ensure that contractors start their work as soon as the signs permit and take them down when work is completed.

Now it seems DPW does whatever the contractor requests. One contractor on Pierce Street had signs up for six years to do a job that should have taken one and a half. A neighbor called 311 and the city told the contractor to return to work.

The signs issued by P&TC have one price, whether the applicant wants one sign or five. The number of hours seems to be up to the requestor. Just recently, a person moving out of a one-bedroom apartment got signs for 160 feet, even though there was space for only 100 feet. They did not need 160 feet, or even 100, but 160 feet cost the same as 20 feet. The signs were in effect until 6 p.m., even though the move was completed well before 4 p.m., as are most moves.

I have recommended the obvious to P&TC: Charge much more for more than two spaces to discourage large, unneeded space restrictions, and charge for the length of time the signs are in effect. The person moving should find out how much space is needed and for how long. The movers know what the job entails and how long it takes. They schedule their arrivals, which are usually at about 10 a.m., know the size of their van and how long the work will take. Then they should be required to take down the signs when they are no longer needed.

But it is not only DPW’s or P&T’s responsibility; it is also ours. We must take signs down when no longer needed, take up only the space necessary — and notice and report abuses to 311. Then perhaps we could have fewer parking problems in our beloved Pacific Heights.