San Francisco man gets red zone parking ticket after curb was repainted while his car was parked

Tuesday, July 26, 2022
SAN FRANCISCO -- A San Francisco man is fighting a ticket for parking in a red zone after the curb was repainted red, while his car was parked in the spot.

Desiree and Jeff Jolly have lived in the city for decades and know the challenges of finding a parking space in their Russian Hill neighborhood.

But there's a space at the corner of Larkin and Union streets that has always been their go-to.

"Well yeah, anytime it's open I've been parking here for 25 years," Jeff said.

But what happened to the pair one week ago was a first.

"We came out and we were walking up from the store, and I noticed the ticket on my car," Desiree said. Upon closer inspection, on the windshield of her Honda sedan was a $180 fine for parking in a red zone - one that Desiree and Jeff say wasn't there when she parked a couple of days earlier...or years past.

"If it was warranted I don't have a problem with it, but this seems unfair to me," she said.

"The red stripe is there, where it wasn't before, and they had the nerve to just to go around my tire," she described, pointing out a small patch the city's paint shop missed when they avoided painting the Honda's tire.

It's an amusing detail for Jeff who is a painter by trade.

"I saw that and I even have painter friends who say what a bad job that was. They missed a spot," he said, laughing.

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ABC7 News, our sister station in San Francisco, spoke to Erica Kato, a spokesperson for SFMTA, who confirms the ticket is for a red zone violation. But in an interesting twist, it's not for the newly painted red stripe. The violation is for parking in an old faded one.

SFMTA provided a photo of the faded red zone parking spot to illustrate that the red zone did previously exist. While the curb in the image does show some red spots, they are very faint.

This image provided by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) shows a faded red zone parking space at the corner of Union & Larkin Streets.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA)

SFMTA also provided ABC7 News with the service request to repaint the stripe and an image showing how worn the red paint was.

ABC7 News examined that same spot using Google Maps street view images, and in several clear photos from 2016 and 2021, the red paint on the curb appears to have completely faded away so the curb looks completely gray.

These images provided by Google Maps shows a faded red zone parking space at the corner of Union & Larkin Streets in 2016 and 2021.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA)

Because the couple contested the ticket, SFMTA tells ABC7 News it's up to the citations clerk to determine what happens next. It could be enforced or dismissed. It's a process that could take up to 60 days.

"I'm going through chemotherapy right now, so it's like I'm worried about other things and now I have to worry about this," Desiree said.

Jeff and Desiree said after all the challenges of living in the city lately, including another vehicle-related drama where Jeff had a catalytic converter stolen, this could be their final straw.

"We do want to leave because of all of this stuff that goes on in the city," Jeff said.

They plan to say "bonjour" to moving to France sometime in the future.

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