Betty Bangs: "I've been up since 6:50 a.m., and I see parking enforcement driving down 36th Street."
On February 25, Jordan Taylor took to Facebook and warned her Normal Heights neighbors.
"TOWING NOW: Heads up if you're parked on Monroe between 39th and 40th, the asphalt company is trying to start working - so I think they'll be calling the tow truck soon! Parking enforcement is here now! There are about five cars still parked on the street."
Since February 8, a week or so after California lifted stay-at-home orders, an increase of parking-related posts was evident on the Facebook and NextDoor threads, with good reason.
"Starting February 8, 2021, citations with corresponding fines will be issued to vehicles parked in violation of any State or local regulation," forewarned the City of San Diego website. "This includes previously suspended regulations such as violating street sweeping parking restrictions, metered parking, time limits, and yellow commercial zones.”
"I've been up since 6:50 a.m., and I see parking enforcement driving down 36th Street," Betty Bangs said. "It's almost as if they are planning their hits."
I spoke to Bangs and her Normal Heights neighbors on March 1.
Before the pandemic, the lack of parking in Bangs' area, which is a couple of blocks south of Adams Avenue, was already an obstacle for her work. She’s a DJ and an “advocate for victims of crime.”
"PSA!!!! PARKING ENFORCEMENT IS IN FULL FORCE. THEY ARE 3 DEEP OFF OF 37TH and MONROE!" she posted on Facebook.
Anybody who has helped a DJ still playing vinyl records can empathize with Bangs' vigilance of parking enforcement. For many, deadlifting vinyl-filled milk crates and walking them blocks away is cumbersome.
"We gained a roundabout... We lost so many spaces."
"Big business [employees] that work off Adams park their trucks and trailers on our streets, and that takes up residents' parking."
Normal Heights is a popular go-to spot because of its bustling eateries, bars, and cafes on Adams Avenue, between the 805 and 15 freeways. Because of the lack of paid parking options along the main thoroughfare, visitors park on the perpendicular neighborhood streets.
"..... and there's nowhere to park around here in our neighborhood because everyone's at home either working from home or laid off because of Covid-19,” said Bangs’ neighbor. “Our streets in Normal Heights are [occupied] throughout the day and night. Now we have road construction on top of all of this!”
"That day, February 25, four cars got tickets, and three of them were towed," Jordan Taylor continued. "[Then] they just towed two cars from McClintock Street," added Taylor's neighbor. "The police were trying to locate the owners before towing."
Taylor, 26, works in the escrow field. She lives off Monroe Avenue and 39th, closer to Kensington, which is on the other side of I-15.
"Parking is horrible,” she said. “I usually park about one block away. Sometimes it's two blocks."
"I had a neighbor threaten me because they thought I was saving parking spots. My trash cans were out for pick up, and because we have no driveway, they have to go in front of our house, but we always try to put them as close to our neighbor's driveway as possible."
Over the weekend, across the I-15 overpass, Mark T. posted a photo online of a vehicle parked by his Kensington house. "[I] wish people realized that on-street parking is valuable and would park not like this!" read the photo’s caption.
"Clearly, you can fit two cars here easily," responded Mark's neighbor. "The only way this is OK is if he parked there on trash day and hasn't moved since."
At times, this “parking in the middle” method is purposely done to save parking spots for an expected friend. The parking hack goes like this: The driver parks in the middle section of a curb to hold the spot for another driver. When the other driver pulls up, the spot saver moves forward or reverse to make space for the second vehicle, and they park in tandem.
Since February 8, "Karens" posting photos of neighbors constantly parking their "beaters" in front of their homes were popular subjects on the local NextDoor threads. Another almost-viral post was about a vehicle's bumper line surpassing the slope of the driveway entrance. The homeowner called the non-emergency line to have the vehicle towed. Then there was a Normal Heights resident who posted photos of cardboard gravestones that read “‘RIP PARKING SPACE 11 of 12 / Born 1919 Died 2020 / ‘lost to the great circular plague of 2020.’” The accompanying caption read: "We gained a roundabout... We lost so many spaces. Idk who did this on the corner of 34th and Meade, but I love you."
Because of the shortage of parking in the mid-city neighborhoods, residents have also taken to social media apps to sell their designated parking spaces, garages, and driveways. The prices range from $80 to $300 per month.