Parking spot blues in Golden Hill

22nd Street...bizarrely popular

22nd Street...bizarrely popular

The block I live on in Golden Hill is popular in the most bizarre way. Though it only has 6 residential buildings, all single-family homes except for one duplex, it has 32 public parking spaces, which are always filled, day and night. Even more bizarre, my side of the street has 20 of those spaces–and only 2 residences.

It gets better.

– My next-door neighbor doesn’t drive and doesn’t own a car. Even if he did, his property has a small parking lot on it. He doesn’t use or need public parking.

– Of the other 4 residences, 3 of them have driveways. They don’t need public parking.

– The one business on our block, a Victorian home converted to office use, has its own parking lot. Oh, and it’s vacant right now.

So who owns all these cars and why are they parking here?

In case you think I’m just a whiner, please know that I would normally never stop to notice how many parking spaces are on a given street and whose cars are in them. It only came up when I started having a hard time finding a spot in front of my house. Or even anywhere near my house. I sometimes had to drive two and three blocks away to park. We have some serious hills in my ‘hood and I was not enjoying huffing up them in the dark over chunky broken sidewalk. And how could it be that there wasn’t enough parking? The numbers didn’t add up.

At first, I though the culprit was the apartment building just around the corner on Broadway. It didn’t seem to have a lot or garage for residents, so I assumed they were just parking on our street. But even that seemed like it wouldn’t fill our block.

Next, I noted the weekly car auction that is held down Broadway from us at the Salvation Army, and wondered if people weren’t parking their latest deal in our block semi-permanently. That only seemed to account for the occasional car, though. (Believe me, many a busted-up sports car sat in front of my house in the same spot for 2 weeks. I always called Parking Enforcement and got it towed pronto.)

Finally, my husband cracked the case for me: “Babe, it’s the bus.” At my puzzled look, he explained that he sees people park on our street, walk to the corner bus stop on Broadway, and take the bus downtown. Our parking spots are free when nothing downtown is.

Okay, I encourage the use of public transit, and believe in finding a bargain where one can. I don’t fault those who are using free public parking within the bounds of the law–in other words, not parking in a spot for more than 48 hours at a time. But if our street is going to be used as a transit parking lot, it’s damn well going to be cleaned like one.

So my neighbor and I petitioned the city to institute street sweeping on our side of the street every Thursday from 10 AM to 1 PM. All they needed was our signatures, because we’re the only property owners affected. So if you want to park there during that time, sorry…guess you’ll have to huff it up the hill.

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