You'd think that a near doubling of the city's unemployment rate wouldn't spur folks to pay their parking tickets on time. You'd think the current economic climate would not put people in the mood to write out checks to the Department of Parking and Traffic. You'd think the proliferation of neon yellow "Denver Boots" immobilizing cars on your humble narrator's walk to and from the office each day would be indicative of more and more San Franciscans falling behind on their accumulating parking violations and getting the clamp.
Well, you'd think wrong. Statistics obtained from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reveal that the number of immobilizing boots being fitted on San Francisco cars has fallen off precipitously.
In January and February of this year, DPT officers clamped 359 and 365 cars with five or more outstanding parking tickets. And yet, in 2008 those numbers were 429 and 465. And the year before they were 486 and 389. The numbers were lower in 2006 -- but that was before the DPT began patrolling the streets with a license plate scanner
looking to bust scofflaws and earn the city extra cash.
So, what the hell happened? Has Muni cut back on its boot patrols? Have
hard times inspired new-found devotion to punctual parking ticket
payments? Are folks finding ways to boot off the boots? Our queries to the DPT haven't yet been answered, so stay tuned.
Incidentally, the boot is variously known as a "Denver Boot" or "French
Boot." One name it appears it won't be getting anytime soon is the
"San Francisco Boot."
Photo | Jeremy Kemp