A San Francisco man under the username u/laserdiscmagic has been updating the r/sanfrancisco subreddit with a harrowing tale that’s frankly more frightening than most local ghost stories. Fed up with how often wayward drivers block his driveway, he launched a valiant crusade to “tow like a madman” and began keeping a record for his (and Reddit’s) amusement.
He’s now logged a total of 81 tows since June, for anywhere between 10 and 23 tows per month. It’s not clear where the original poster (OP)’s driveway is located, as the post has been tagged with different locations including “Great Highway” and “Alamo Square.” As of the most recent post on Oct. 19, 2023, here are the stats:
|Month||Cars Towed||Most tows in a single day|
|October||10 (so far)||2|
The saga began with a post to r/sanfrancisco in June 2023 asking, “Anything realistic I can do [to] prevent my driveway from being blocked?” He went on to explain that the problem has happened mostly on the weekends despite “bright red SFMTA curb cut paint” and a sign on his garage. The post generated nearly 300 comments, mostly in favor of towing the hell out of the driveway blockers.
As for potential deterrents, he reported that putting up a sign and cones has had little effect on the most tenacious offenders. “There is a subset of the population who will just yeet my cones into the bushes,” he wrote in the October update. In a poignant show of solidarity, OP’s neighbors have taken to shouting out their windows something along the lines of “Don’t park there, that guy is a psycho,” which has in fact been more effective. In fact, the frequency has been declining as OP’s reputation for towing becomes more common knowledge.
OP told us that he receives too many threats from people, both in-person and online, to feel comfortable sharing his location or other identifying info. He moved into the place in 2023 and has a young son. He also stopped actively warning people about parking there after a guy threatened to “come up my steps and cave [his] head in.”
“I’m well known by the local SFMTA officer and they’ve advised me to do things that technically aren’t legal to further deter people,” OP wrote to us in a DM. “For example painting additional lines on the street to mark the actual size of the mirage parking spots on either side of my driveway. I intend to do this.”
Driveway blocking in San Francisco is so common that SFMTA has a resource dedicated to enforcement requests. If your driveway is blocked, you can call 311 or fill out a form online detailing the location, your name and phone number, license plate of the offending car, and the nature of the request. Although SF.gov lists the response time as “within 60 minutes,” the Redditor asserts that it often takes up to 2 hours for the SFMTA officer to show up, which speaks to the doggedness of his towing efforts. “I’m not blaming my local SFMTA officers for how long it takes,” he writes. “Not enough of them.”
Anyone who’s driven in SF knows how difficult it can be to find a parking spot, especially when there’s a big game or citywide event. Even the most diligent drivers inevitably forget about street cleaning times or overstay a meter. Parking tickets generally range between $75-110 depending on the offense.
The SF Chronicle recently analyzed over 3 million parking citations in order to determine which streets are hot spots for parking tickets. They found that the most-ticketed street is the 500 block of Terry Francois Boulevard, which is right next to Chase Center. It’s collected 6,500+ tickets since January 2021, 80 of which were issued on a single day in August 2023 when Cirque du Soleil came to perform. The following two most-ticketed blocks in SF were 2700 and 1100 Mission Street.
Nearly half of all tickets were for cars parked in a street cleaning zone, especially in Downtown SF near the Tenderloin. The next most-common violations were for residential parking, parking meters, and nonexistent or expired tabs. The city issued nearly $289 million in fines since 2021, of which nearly three-quarters were paid.
You can read more about the Redditor’s experience in the latest post. In the meantime, drive safely… and for God’s sake, don’t block people’s driveways.