Green Zones and Parking

The origins of this post actually took place in Nob Hill, where a retired police officer pulled his badge on me and attempted to bully me out of a green zone parking spot. I’m not going to mention that business in this post, because I’m still doing some research, but I am going to mention some other businesses.

Located throughout the city of San Francisco are Green Zone parking spots.

Below are a few pictures of green zones, and the accompanying sign that has been put out by the business which is located most closely to that green zone parking spot. Click any image for a larger version:

Do businesses “own” the green zone in front of their shop? Are they legally allowed to tell people searching for parking that they can’t park there?

Are green zone parking spots only for patrons of a specific business?

From the SFMTA website, this is what they have to say about parking along curbs painted green:

Green curbs are for short-term parking, generally less than 10 minutes. Standard effective hours are 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Saturday.

In metered areas, green meters will have either a 15 or 30 minute time limit.

Vehicles bearing disabled placards or plates are exempt from the time limits for green curbs/meters.

Green curbs/meters are typically used for:

  • Small neighborhood grocery/deli convenience stores
  • Dry cleaners
  • Florists
  • Audio-visual repair shops
  • Shoe repair shops
  • Postal shipping centers
  • Hardware stores
  • Video rental stores
  • ATM machines

In addition to trying to track down the individual that bullied me with his police badge (although he was retired, so this seems illegal in of itself), I’m hoping you can help me get to the bottom of the green zone mystery. If you have a contact at the SFMTA, or a definitive written source that answers this question, please email, give me a call, or leave a comment below!


Hello Golden Gate Fog

Last Saturday morning I found myself in The Presidio. Not in a kidnapped and wake-up-in-a-strange-place-kind-of-way but more along the lines of the pretty domestic and boring. As in: I need some clean clothes tonight so I’m picking up my clean clothes from the most awesome dry cleaner in all of San Francisco.

While I was looking for the dry cleaners (nothing is quite as much fun as navigating construction detours in The Presidio), I happened upon this awesome shot of the fog melting away beneath the Golden Gate bridge.

The fog sneaks out underneath the Golden Gate bridge
The fog sneaks out underneath the Golden Gate bridge (click to enlarge)

If you’ve ever wondered why people will pay millions of dollars for a home in Pacific Heights, the above photo will hopefully answer the question for you. And if it doesn’t, I’ll offer you a hint: The homes in Pacific Heights that have Golden Gate Bridge views have everything awesome in this photo, and none of the construction fencing or other heavy equipment.

San Francisco is an incredibly gorgeous city to live, work, and play in. When talking about how expensive it is to live in San Francisco, I often find myself joking about the “culture tax.” I define it as the premium we pay to live and work in San Francisco, one of the world’s most awesome cities. It’s awesome because 1) it is filled with sharp and interesting people and 2) it is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and 3) because I said so! Although I guess I could also rename it to the “beauty tax” given what a gorgeous city San Francisco is to live in.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the picture of the fog slowly creeping back to the Pacific Ocean underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. I also hope you enjoyed your Saturday, mine was excellent!


Board of Supervisors Ready to Hasten End of SF’s Middle Class

According to a blog post over at the city insider blog, tenant’s rights activists have teamed up with the Board of Supervisors to hasten the demise of San Francisco’s struggling middle class. In specific, amendments have been introduced to the condo bypass legislation that would essentially kill TICs as a viable form of ownership for all but the most well-off SF residents with aspirations to own property in the city.


In particular, Supervisors David Chiu and Norman Yee introduced an amendment that essentially guts the condo conversion lottery going forward, eliminates the ability of five and six unit buildings to condo convert (ever), and increases the occupancy requirements for conversion in 3 and 4 unit buildings.

While I haven’t seen the amendment myself, based on what I’ve read it is a horrible idea that will hasten the end of the middle class in San Francisco. Here’s why:

  • The legislation, as written, already extorts $20,000 per unit (not building) from each owner as a bribe to allow them to bypass the condo lottery. 
  • The amendment proposed will essentially forward-load the lottery, with every building being allowed to convert now taking away the ability of a future building to convert. For example, if 3,200 units took advantage of the legislation (if adopted with the proposed amendment), then for the next 16 years there would be ZERO SPOTS in the lottery for any other units to convert. Why? Because the lottery is currently limited to 200 units/year (not buildings), and for every unit that pays the $20,000 extortion fee, a spot is eliminated in a future lottery. How many spots will be eliminated from future lotteries? Exactly the same number as units that are able to take advantage of the condo bypass.

The Board of Supervisors, and David Chiu and Norman Yee in particular, should be ashamed of this legislation. Home ownership for middle class families and rental properties for middle class families should never be an “either/or” proposition. The Board of Supervisors have pitted property owners against tenants, as though both communities can’t exist together.

If San Francisco has sensible growth and land-use policies, then the Board of Supervisors would never be in this position, and one group wouldn’t have to lose for the other to “win.”

The legislation, if adopted with the proposed amendments, is just one more loud and clear signal that the Board of Supervisors wants middle class families to leave the city for cities and neighborhoods where home ownership isn’t vilified and parents will actually know with some certainty what school their child will attend.


Bay Bridge Light Show

As you’ve probably heard by now, the SF Bay Bridge has an awesome light show happening every evening for the next two years.

I had the chance to get out on the water yesterday evening with some friends, and I took the above video. I’m sorry in advance if the video is a little choppy. I did the best I could between the (pretty calm) waves on the water and my shivering hands.

It was absolutely beautiful, and between the cheering fans in Giants Park (a game between Puerto Rico and Japan), the downtown lights, and the bay bridge lights, it was a pretty excellent San Francisco evening.

Have you seen the bay bridge light show yet? Plans to?

Have a great Monday!

San Francisco, I Love You

Oh, San Francisco, you wacky goof ball of a town. I found myself eating dinner last night at the Ferry Building, and while we were eating dinner we saw all of these people coming in to order dinner that were carrying pillows and had feathers and fluff in their hair.

Pillow Fight!!!

Pillow Fight at Justin Herman Plaza
Pillow Fight at Justin Herman Plaza

I think the crowd had peaked and we were down to the hardcore pillow fighters by the time I finished dinner and crossed the street to share this awesome San Francisco tradition with my family. But as you can see from the pictures above and below, the pillow fight was a huge success, and while plenty of people whapped other people with pillows, I’m not aware of any injuries or other destructive behavior taking place last night.

2013-02-14 19.33.30
While Fight Club has its own rules, Pillow Fight Club has a different set, and they are:

  1. Tell everyone you know about the pillow fight
  2. Tell everyone you know about the pillow fight
  3. Arrive with pillow hidden in a bag
  4. When the Ferry Building clock strikes 6:00, begin
  5. Do not hit anyone without a pillow unless they ask.

Given all of the smiles I saw last night, I think the rules are working quite well and keeping people safe while having a great time.

Have you been to a pillow fight at Justin Herman Plaza? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it! How did you find out about it? Did you take your regular pillow or did you go out and buy a special pillow for Pillow Fight Club? Did you take a date, or did you go solo? And if you have any scoop on who or how this event got started, I’d love to hear the back story. Leave a comment below and have a great day!


Your 2013 Party Schedule

Party Time! One of the great things about living in San Francisco is being able to so easily take advantage of all that our fair city has to offer, including street fairs, festivals, and tons of other interesting and fun cultural events, parties, and celebrations!

To help you most efficiently plan your party schedule, below are some dates for the bigger festivals and events that take place in San Francisco.

Coming up starting this Saturday February 16 is Tulipmania @ Pier 39. April 21 is the Cherry Blossom Parade, but given how warm it is today (and how bad my allergies are), I think the organizers for this festival might want to think about bumping the date up a little bit.

Those of you that live in South Beach will want to prepare yourselves for the opening day of Giants season, which is on Friday, April 15.

This year, Bay to Breakers falls on May 19, while SF Pride is – as always – the last weekend in June, which this year is the 29th and 30th.

July 4 sees the start of America’s Cup racing, and the Outside Lands music festival is scheduled for August 9 – 11 in Golden Gate Park. Dress warm and don’t forget fleece layers!

September 29 is Folsom Street Fair, followed by Castro Street Fair the following weekend (October 6), while Bernal’s festival on the hill is October 20.

November 8 – 10 is the “official” Star Trek convention, and since trekkies are known across the world for their athletic prowess and enjoyment of sports, they should be thrilled that the ice skating rink in Union Square opens two days before their convention. Trekkies on ice skates in Union Square. Thats a reality show for you, right there!


2013 festival calendar Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 1.02.55 PM

What San Francisco street fairs and festivals are you looking forward to this year? And what are your favorite SF festival memories? Keep it clean in the comments!