This March 6th story by Eliyahu Kamisher in the Mercury News digs into the data on parking enforcement practices in the Bay Area’s largest cities. The picture that emerges is one of significant disparities in the number and likelihood of citations from city to city, with citation and enforcement often inseparable from municipal revenue considerations and impacts dramatically inequitable for lower-income drivers. This inequity comes into sharp focus in comments by BayLegal’s Theresa Cheng and her client Luritha Deckard, whose van was impounded in Oakland with most of her possessions inside for parking tickets issued while she was unhoused and living in the vehicle.
This extreme variability between the nuisance of a parking ticket for higher-income drivers, and the often catastrophic impact of losing access to possessions, employment, and even primary shelter for low-income and unhoused drivers, is a primary reason for BayLegal’s ongoing advocacy and litigation around parking fees, fines, and impound practices. We hope the Mercury News story will help to draw increased attention to these practices that exacerbate poverty and the racial inequities of enforcement, and help to galvanize support for more equitable approaches.